When you’re a one-man shop, it’s hard to make time for everything, especially when you’re busy out on jobs. Sales should be your number one priority because without it, you don’t have a business to run. Customers are very in tune with what they do and don’t want when spending their hard earned money. Take some time to brush up on your sales skills and become the person they do want to hire!
Even sales experts make time for practice and reviewing the fundamentals. Don’t get caught off guard the next time you’re trying to close a deal. Instead, prepare for a win. Continue reading to learn sales techniques and strategies tailored to small business owners that you can implement immediately.
1. Sales Cycle
There are six stages of a typical sales cycle. No matter what you’re selling, every sale follows a similar pattern. It’s rare one of these steps isn’t included in your next sale and it’s important to master each step if you’d like to thrive instead of survive.
- Know your products & prospect for leads: You need to be the expert and know your products inside and out. Also, cold calling is dead. Learn the modern prospecting techniques, such as lead generation services.
- Set an appointment: Set a time and place to meet your leads.
- Qualify the prospect: Get enough information to determine that your prospect is both able and potentially willing to buy your product or use your service.
- Make your presentation: This step is the core piece of the sales cycle and where you should spend your most time preparing. Remember that you’re selling yourself, your company, and your work.
- Address the Prospect’s Objections: Address their concerns openly and honestly.
- Close the Sale: This is the most critical step and also the most neglected step. Don’t be afraid to ask for the sale.
And as a bonus step, ask for referrals: Don’t race out the door. Ask if there is anyone else in their network who may be interested in your services too.
2. Elevator Speech
Do you know exactly what you want to say and how you want to say it when someone asks you about your company? Are you clear, concise, and consistent in your delivery? These are all things to keep in mind as you’re thinking about your pitch.
An elevator speech is a short summary used to quickly and simply define a profession, product, service, organization or event and its value proposition. You’re looking to create a summary that’s between 30 seconds and two minutes in length. Remember to remain confident and get your point across in a timely manner.
3. Unique Selling Proposition Statement (Mission/Vision)
A unique selling proposition (USP) statement is a factor that differentiates a product from its competitors, such as the lowest cost, the highest quality, or the first-ever product of its kind. A USP could be thought of as what you have that competitors don’t.
Even if you have one already, you may have to revisit your USP and make updates as the industry changes. Take the time to write it out and memorize it. Use it when you’re in conversations with prospects, especially those who might be on the fence about using your services. Below are examples from JetBlue Airline and Safelite Autoglass to give you a better idea of the type of USP statements that work.
JetBlue’s unique selling proposition’s success centers on the achievable – the simple things – they knew would make a difference for their guests. This set the stage for Direct TV and XM Radio, the provision of first-class seats to everyone, more legroom, great snacks and high end service at lower end pricing. No other airline offers these items quite like JetBlue. They are different and their brand stands out because it represents those differences.
Simple. Attainable. Targeted. They delivered.
Have you ever heard of Safelite Autoglass and their business model? They have created The Safelite Advantage™ as a bundle of unique selling propositions providing what consumers have identified as their most important vehicle glass service needs. It’s why leading insurance and fleet companies, as well as more than four million drivers, choose Safelite each year.
4. Overcoming Complaints & Rejections
Complaints can be difficult to handle and rejection is never easy. Everybody fears rejection, however, there are ways to overcome refusal. For example, learning to properly deal with objections and rejections can actually lead you to making the sale. Trust and rapport take time to develop but their importance cannot be overstated. We’ve all heard it before; people do business with people they know, trust, and like. You’re going to hear no once in a while and you’re going to have to deal with complaints. Keep in mind that the most successful sales people learn to hear no, pick themselves up, and move onto the next sale. They welcome complaints and concerns and instead of getting upset with the customer, they learn from them.
5. Negotiating Effectively
The final sales technique to know is negotiating effectively. Negotiation is hard. It can get pretty complicated and it’s a skill one must practice over and over in order to master. There are full college and post-college degrees and courses in this area. Some of the biggest business deals in the world only get completed because of someone’s superior negotiation ability.
As a small business owner, what does this mean for you? Negotiating is a discussion that is aimed at reaching a mutual agreement, so that you and the customer are both satisfied with the outcome. You need to give a little and take a little in the process of negotiating. There are five important tips to keep in mind as you approach your next negotiation.
- Seek a Win-Win Outcome
- Look for Commonalities
- Acknowledge Counters or Objections
- Broaden the Pie
It’s human nature to think everything is about ourselves. Sometimes it’s not, sometimes it’s about the customer’s needs and how you can work together to reach a common goal.
Sales is an art and there are strategies and best practices for making it work. The more sales and happy customers you have, the more opportunity you have to showcase your business and expertise. Be ready the next time you’re faced with a new prospect and close the deal.