An entrepreneur needs to have a well-rounded understanding and knowledge of all components involved in running a business, and being comfortable with sales is especially essential for small business growth. Sales are, quite literally, the thing that make or break your company, so it’s in your best interest to learn how to get more of them. These tips will help you do just that.
Know your customers’ pain points
Realize: Potential customers don’t care how great you think your company is, or about the awesome features of your products. What they care about is solving their own problems, and if your products do the job, they’ll buy.
Knowing what those problems are requires knowing your customers well. Who are they? Why do they buy your products? How do they use them? Having the answers to these questions can help you demonstrate to potential customers how your product can soothe the pains they have. Highlight these benefits in your marketing material and sales pitch, and specifically address those problems. When a potential customer feels like you understand her pain, she feels you can relate to her. That builds trust, and trust builds sales.
Don’t try to close more sales based on price
If you’re trying to sell the lowest-priced product in your niche, you won’t win. Even if you do make sales, your profit margins will be so narrow, you may not be able to afford to continue to do business. But in general, people make certain assumptions about “cheap” products: they’re inferior quality. They won’t stand up over time. Is that what you want people to think of what you sell?
Instead, focus on value. You may charge more than the competition, but if you offer more for their money, customers will see that they’re better off paying a bit higher price for better value.
Know common objections
Why do people not buy from you? It’s important to know this so you can counter any objections a potential customer might have. For example:
- It’s more expensive than other products. Possibly, but our products have been proven to last three times longer than the competition, so in the long run, they’re more affordable.
- I can’t afford it right now. What you need to consider is: can you afford NOT to buy this right now? How might this investment make your life/business/situation better?
- I’m not sure what I need. Let’s walk through what you’re looking for and come up with the best solution for YOUR needs.
Don’t think in terms of money; think in terms of how you can help
Being too money-focused makes you a bad salesperson. Yes, you need to make sales so you can pay your expenses (and yourself). But obsessing about sales in terms of mo’ money, mo’ money may not actually help you earn more.
Instead, frame it as you’re there to help people. You have a solution. They have a problem. Be useful, and realize that sometimes when you share information or give advice, you may not end up closing a sale, and that’s OK. You never know when that person that you helped will come back and buy later or tell someone they know to buy from you. Plus, it’s just good karma to be helpful.
Make sure your sales funnel has ample calls to action
On your website, a call to action might be to sign up to download a free report or get a coupon. Then the subscriber gets put into your email funnel. Each email can have another call to action:
- Sign up for this free webinar.
- Follow us on Twitter.
- Click to take a survey.
- Click to save 20 percent.
Each action should be progressively more assertive. Consider it like dating. You wouldn’t try for a home run on the first date, but you would try to go a base further over time. Don’t push your leads too early, and you’ll actually build trust with them so that they are comfortable saying yes to you down the road.
In conclusion: Successful sales require paying attention and really, truly knowing your customers. Once you know what they care about and what they need, it will be much easier to deliver it with your marketing and sales pitches. And pay attention to what works. You may find that one particular sales strategy is actually turning contacts off. In that case, ditch it and try something else. Sales (and marketing) often involves a lot of trial and error, so don’t be afraid to test out new strategies. Just give each one time to work before moving on to the next one.
Originally published July 12, 2016. Updated 2022.