It doesn’t matter if you sell a product, a service or both. There are some laws of sales that exist that will surely help you sell more…of anything! Sometimes, small business owners spend so much time working on what they are offering that they forget WHO they are offering it to. Customers are needed to drive sales, market sales and ultimately, grow a business. Here are 5 essential things you can do TODAY to get your customers buying more.
1. GET TO KNOW WHAT YOUR CUSTOMERS NEED
The biggest mistake I see as a consultant is a basic misinterpretation of the customer. It can happen quickly and easily. Excitement, ideas and time can distract any small business owner from focusing on what is driving the sales: THE CUSTOMER’S NEEDS.
It’s important to come back to this, and often. Make it a priority to take the time today to rediscover what exactly it is your customer is looking for. Speak to them directly, create a survey, spend some time browsing comments in emails and social media sites. Start a list of what your customer feels is important (also include complaints). You can then compare this to what you are offering. Decide what changes you need to make in order to fit the needs of your customers more effectively. Simply put, an increase in sales can be accomplished with even the smallest change.
2. BE THE SOLUTION
The best part of identifying your customer’s needs is the sheer ability to then focus on providing the solution. This is the definition of “solution-based selling”. Not just a trending industry term, this progressive theory answers the needs of a collective. Although each customer is unique, there is usually a common need from your market. Being able to provide the solution to this need is the simplest way to generate sales. Be careful! Convincing your market of features and benefits is redundant once you provide the solution they are looking for. Ask yourself, what are the top three things your customers ask for? Assess whether you are addressing these needs. Here’s an example of how things go wrong: The weather turns cold so a skin specialist starts offering more nourishing moisturizers to combat dry skin that often occurs during winter months. The thing is, most of the customers are coming in with a concern of fine lines around the eye area. Without asking the market what it actually needs, you are providing the wrong answer. Most clients, in this example, want to be sold an eye cream but are being offered a winter moisturizer. Sell the eye cream! It’s what they want; therefore, it’s the easy sale. Paying attention to the small details can help you be the solution more often and make your sales come naturally.
3. GO THE EXTRA MILE
Word of mouth holds a lot of power. Here’s the data to back that up. The internet has changed the way people buy things; whether it be online or in real life. Reviews, opinions and referrals are all very important when it comes to buying power. I often see small businesses focus on the impact negative reviews can have but the overall effects of positive reviews need to be just as important. Giving over-the-top customer service can bring loyalty, referrals, positive reviews and, most importantly, sales! Offering special treatment to customers is your chance to create an opportunity for endorsement and more sales. These small and often low-cost acts cannot be underestimated, even if it means “breaking company policy”!
Here’s an example from my own life. I subscribe to a diaper service. Each month I choose the prints and sizes I need. In a couple days, they are delivered to my door. It’s an easy and convenient service that readily serves my needs. A few months ago, I accidentally ordered the wrong size. My daughter had grown and I needed the next size up but given my busy life as a working mom of 3, I forgot to change the size when I ordered. The worst part was, I didn’t realize my mistake until I received the shipping confirmation email. To my dismay, the wrong sized diapers were on their way and my credit card had just been charged $129.99. Brutal. Left frustrated, I decided it was worth writing customer service letting them know what happened and within an hour, I received a message back. Linda expressed her appreciation for my business over the past few years (3 kids remember) and that she wanted to help me out. I held my breath waiting for the disappointment of being told, “there was nothing she could do once the diapers had been sent”, “it was company policy”, “I could send back (to California) at my own expense”... To my surprise, Linda didn’t say any of these things. In fact, she told me not to worry and that “the correct sized diapers have been shipped and are on the way". So, what about the giant box of diapers that were too small still in my possession? She said to just keep them.
Needless to say, I was a happy customer… And do you know what I did as a happy customer? I told people about my amazing experience with this company. And who were those people? Other moms with small kids looking for an easy way to get diapers from a company with AMAZING customer service. AND THEN, because I was so pleased, I went online and gave the company a 5-star rating. In my life, I have probably given a review for less than 10 companies and, truth be told, not always because I was happy.
There is no way to know how many people who have been influenced by that single 5-star rating nor how many new customers I solicited for the company because of my positive testimonials to mom friends. What I do know is that the impact was most certainly positive for the company and for it’s sales. This is the perfect example of what results in going the extra mile for a single customer.
4. ASK FOR THE BUSINESS
This is sales training 101! Never spend the time uncovering needs and creating solutions for your customer then leave the sale on the table. Often people think their team is great at this aspect of selling. “Of course we ask for the business!” But the sad reality is that this part of the sale is forgotten over 50% of the time . If the customer is clearly compelled by your sales pitch but then not actually asked if they want to purchase what you are selling, you are sending a clear message to not buy it from you - or worse, they may leave and buy it somewhere else. Consider this when the hesitation arises to ask your customer if they will be buying today…If you don’t ask, someone else will.
5. FORGET ABOUT THE COMPETITION
That’s it. Just forget about them. Read the title of the article - it says “TODAY”. For just one day, stop focusing on what the other company is doing and refocus on what your company is doing. What are you doing well? What can you do better? What changes are you going to make today to make things better? Go, do this now!
This is the start. Things you can start immediately that will help grow your sales and your business. If you’re feeling stuck or a bit overwhelmed let us help. We look at small business sales comprehensively and find the changes that need to be made to make the biggest impact. Check out some of OUR SERVICES and let us know how we can help!