My dad was an entrepreneur to his core and one of the hardest working people I’ve known. He was always quick to say, ‘It doesn’t matter how hard you work or how good your product is if people don’t buy it.’ Sales are the heartbeat of your business. Without sales, you will fail no matter how hard you work. Whether your business is just beginning or you’re a more seasoned sales pro, understanding the fundamentals of how to get more sales will keep your business on the road to success. Consider the below guidelines as the beginner’s guide to increasing sales.
This guideline is first because it’s the most important. If you don’t know what your customer wants, needs and values it’s going to be difficult to attract them to your product and satisfy them once they arrive. Take time to understand your customer priorities. What problems will your product solve for them? How can your product add value and, in short, make their lives better?
People won’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.
*--Theodore Roosevelt *
Take the time to foster relationships with customers. Understanding customer needs is just the first step. Build one-to-one rapport, listen and respond to customer input. Invest in creating an ongoing customer experience that begins with follow-up after an initial purchase and continues with offering additional support, upgraded services and problem solving.
Leverage technology to make meaningful connections with more customers. Technology tools like client management software and automation make it possible for you to do more for more people using fewer resources. When you automate the myriad of administrative details, you will release more capacity (time, energy, resources) to invest in enriching the customer experience. Use the power of the internet and social media platforms to broadcast your unique company brand to a broader audience. Make the most of ecommerce to provide convenient buying alternatives.
Most customers don’t buy on their initial look at your product or visit to your website. This first connection is the top of your sales funnel. Create a path for a visitor that begins with developing awareness through information about your product. Draw them along toward engagement by offering education or a useful resource. Convert engagement into sales by providing consistent and persistent follow-up with clear next steps. A clear and dynamic ‘call-to-action’ (CTA) will move interested leads to take action on a decision about your product.
A lead is like gold. Or maybe it’s more like the goose that laid golden eggs (it’s a fairy tale—Google it). Point being, if you actually had a goose that laid eggs made of gold, you would want to take very good care of that goose, right? The same applies to every lead you receive. Every contact is a potential customer who should be cared for to protect your future relationship—even though you don’t know what that relationship will be. In fact, that’s precisely why you must nurture that lead.
Make people happy. In fact, deliver such value that you surprise them. Isn’t it nice that this is a prerequisite to your own success? When you exceed expectation, you create an environment that potential customers will crave. Not only will they become buying customers, they will want to come back over and again to experience that ‘wow-factor.’ It’s just that rare.
Use data to monitor how well your marketing and sales strategies are performing. Data can tell you if your potential customers are spending time on your website and where and how much time they’re spending. Use data for lead scoring to make sure you’re investing your time in the people who have the highest potential for becoming customers. Data can tell you what’s working and what’s not working long before your financial results will bring that performance to light.
William Faulkner said, ‘In writing, you must kill your darlings,’ – meaning that no matter how brilliant you think an idea is, you must be willing to get rid of it if it’s not working. This is especially true in marketing and sales strategies. Stay focused and attuned to what your customers want. The ability to adapt to customer demand and market trends is key to being able to meet demand--and make sales.
Adapting to the fast pace of technology wouldn’t have been easy for my dad, but one thing is certain. He would certainly say, ‘Get out there and use the tools you have to sell stuff.’ Indeed.