If you are involved in selling, you will know it can be an art form in its own right. However, it can sometimes be enlightening to return to the basics of sales. The following article is based on subjective real-life experience. It is, of course, subjective and not based on research by people in white coats.
What you will learn in this article
- The different sales types
- Who your target audience should be
- The difference between hot and cold leads
- How to win over your customer
- How to get started with CRM
Sales types: what are the options?
Essentially, there are two types: direct and non-direct. With direct sales, you are actively going out to win customers. Sales won indirectly is, for example, business you acquire from partners through a franchise arrangement or a local retailing network.
Here you are actively pursuing customers. CRM lets you target customers individually with personalized offers. You track your every move.
An excellent tip for personalization is to attach it to changes in the market, say, an impending new law, for instance. Or maybe there’s a compelling reason leads need your product or service. But, again, being topical with your messaging helps increase conversion rates. With Customer Relationship Management software, keeping tabs on your marketing efforts has never been easier.
In this instance, the customer finds you. It’s not about approaching them one by one. Instead, it’s about focusing on customer problems and offering solutions. You can apply this offline via trade fairs, etc., or on the web through online ads or a company blog. Essentially, you are seeking to establish yourself as an authority and problem solver. Both are great ways to pull in customers and gain word-of-mouth referrals.
Who is your target audience
Knowing your customers and what they want are the two keystones of sales. So create thumbnail sketches of each target group. For example, ‘people over 40 who like outdoor life and care about fashion.’ The next step is identifying the concerns for each group by asking:
- What do they need?
- What is their most significant pain point?
- How could you solve it?
Address the issue from the customer’s perspective, not your own. Unfortunately, too many vendors are besotted with their product or service. This fixation can be at the expense of losing sight of the customer’s concerns.
Check out websites and forums where customers gather and ask them about their needs. It’s that simple. But remember, it’s up to you to arrive at the solutions. It’s not the customer’s job. Other common mistakes to avoid are:
- Making your target groups too big
- Or too general
- Not offering tailor-made messaging addressing each target group’s needs.
Your product or service can then be positioned in the marketplace using your Unique Selling Point. The other crucial factor is to be authentic and consistent in your marketing communications.
Blowing hot and cold
What is the big difference between hot and cold in sales acquisition?
Cold is approaching someone out of the blue with your sales pitch. Hot is the easier sell. This refers to people you may have met at a trade show, have done business with before, or inquired. These contacts are more valuable as the person already knows you and your company. You already have a foot-in-the-door. So there’s no need to explain who you are, what your company does, and why.
Regardless of your prospect/lead’s temperature, they need to be nurtured and converted into paying customers. This helps explain why more and more small businesses are turning to CRM to optimize their customer relations. CRM allows you to track leads and obtain the business intelligence you need to deploy your resources to the maximum effect. You can then concentrate on those leads that are the warmest.
How to win over your customer
With the bulk of attention these days being on web interaction, it’s easy to forget about offline, face-to-face meetings. While old-school for some, offline meetings in person are still a thing, especially for B2B companies. If you can arrange a meeting with a lead, you know they are interested enough to spare you their precious time. So what are the secrets of winning over a customer? Regardless of whether your meeting is in person, a video conference, or a phone call, first impressions are crucial.
- Do your homework – Be well prepared before the meeting. If you try to wing it, you will come unstuck very fast. Check the contact history in your CRM.
- Anticipate questions – Doing your prep means you can field any potential questions. And deal with the odd curveball as well.
- Focus on solutions – The person you are meeting is well aware of their problem. You are selling the solution, not the problem. But don’t overpromise.
- References – If you can, produce relevant testimonials about having resolved a similar problem for another customer.
Getting started with CRM
These tips above will help you improve your selling techniques, for sure. But to really kick your selling game up a notch, you need to think about CRM.
The best advice is to try out a system for yourself. Most CRM providers will offer a free trial. With a demo account, you have a no-risk means of checking out the system to see how it could help your business grow. You are under zero obligation to continue at the end of your free trial.
Sales are the beating heart of any business. Naturally, you want sales to be as productive and efficient as possible. Slick processes help you and your business operate at an optimal level. And, unquestionably, the best way to do this is via Customer Relationship Management system. But today, there are probably around 400 different providers. So how do you choose?
For small businesses, the best option is cloud-based CRM, as it’s affordable and grows with your business. For the inside line, contact us. We are the cloud CRM specialists for small businesses!