Sell on Benefits, not Features
Position your marketing and sales activity around what your product and/or service 'does' rather than what it 'is'. Think about what personal advantages the customer receives as a result of purchasing your product or service, how will they 'feel' after they have purchased?
Always concentrate on how your product or service will benefit your customer, what personal advantage will they gain from this purchase? This is key selling tip, understand this and you will convert more sales when the customer knows they will gain an advantage over their competitors, even if this is only short term. A selective customer approach is of course required here for the customer advantage to be possible.
For example, a health-food product contains nutrients that are good for the body. That's what it is (features). What the product does is help make the customer thinner, more energetic or able to accomplish more with less sleep, (these are the benefits).
Sell to your Target Market
Your target market is defined as 'those people that are most likely to purchase your products or services'. Understanding the characteristics of your existing customers and looking for potential customers with the same characteristics will improve the effectiveness of your marketing strategies and ultimately your ability to sell more products and services.
Differentiate your Products and Services
Why should a customer purchase from you and not from your competitor? A good sales tip is to try to come up with the likely objections that a potential customer will throw up at you as a result of attempting to move them away from your competitors, for example ...
1) Happy with current supplier.
2) Price is too expensive.
3) I have enough stock right now.
4) I am happy with the quality of what I am receiving right now.
5) I am happy with the service I am currently getting.
For each of these objections you should come up with an 'off pat' response, which effectively and clearly differentiates your product and service from the competition (especially the one the customer is referring to!).
Do this carefully as this is the point when you demonstrate the benefits of using your product or service against what they purchasing now. Here we are changing the perception of the customer from what they thought was a good deal to what a great deal they are now getting from you!
In short you are taking their 'blinkers' off so they can now see more benefits as a result of purchasing from you. This is where you would utilize your competitive (and hopefully sustainable) advantage.
Get Face to Face
Of the 6 areas of promotion:
2) Sales Promotion.
3) Personal Selling.
5) Public Relations.
6) Direct Mail (email and snail mail)
Spending precious money on print media advertising or direct mail will not work in isolation. There is no shortcut to the personal selling approach. You must get one-on-one with your customer, if not in person then at least by phone.
It is personal selling which has the greatest impact and is by far the most effective (and cost effective) method of promotion for small business, and can be enhanced when combined with the other areas of promotion.
Personal selling leads to referrals which is the lifeblood of business and reduces dramatically the need to advertise!
Wow what a concept!
Don't Ignore What's Under your Nose
The cost of acquiring new customers are higher than returning existing customers. 'Wow' your customers and make them feel valued with excellent customer service, innovative products and services, increased value added and augmented value.
Send them newsletters and links to new areas of your website, have a reason to contact them with updates on your products and services and keep them interested, introduce a customer loyalty program to keep them away from your competition, do things that no one else does.
This will clearly differentiate you from the pack and provide your business with a clear competitive advantage!
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Focus on the Second Sale
Nearly 85% of all sales are produced by word of mouth. They are the result of someone telling a friend or associate to purchase a product or service because they themselves were satisfied. Therefore concentrate on developing future and referral business with each customer.
Everything you do must be aimed at the second sale. Ask yourself: Will this be such a satisfactory experience that my customer will buy from me again or tell his/her friends?
Demonstrate to customers that you are an asset to them. Prove that you can improve their business. Develop business relationships, become an ally to your customers, in larger type businesses it is called a strategic alliance. You have worked hard to search and target these customers, now you have to develop strategies to keep them away from the competitors!
Customers who refer your business to others are the one's that you look after, these are called 'Raving Fans'. You should always let these people know what your current product/service offering is, along with other relevant information so they can continue their good work on your behalf!
Make sure your 'Raving Fans' have an ample supply of your current business cards and brochures etc, send them Christmas Hampers, birthday cards, wine and dine them occasionally (where appropriate), and look after them carefully!
Create a Unique Selling Proposition
Your logo, professional image and tag line must be unique and strongly recognizable. Promote the benefits of using your products and services in all of your marketing materials. What makes your business stand out from the rest? What is the unique and most beneficial thing that you offer to your customers.
Your marketing material should support and enhance your selling efforts, and in most cases make it a little more easier. Your marketing material should be theme based reflecting what your business is all about. Do your brochures have the same 'look and feel' as your website? Do your business cards have the same 'look and feel' as your brochures?
See Your Business Through Your Customer's Eyes
Keep a strong focus on the customer base. Pay close attention to their needs and concerns. Study the diversity of different genders and generations. A one size fits all sales and service approach no longer works in the market place. You also need to be flexible to change your product or service offering to react to any trends that you identify.
First Impressions Count
Customers will notice you and judge you and your business at first glance, we do not get a second chance to make a first impression!
They may decide to do business with you or move on to your competition quickly from this first impression.
1) How you look?
2) Your posture and body language (non-verbal communication)
3) Your opening statements
4) How you plan to conduct this sales call/meeting
5) What is your most favourable outcome from this call/meeting?
6) Your follow up strategy (and when)
Ask for Testimonials
Third party testimonials are powerful. Prospective clients want to know that they can trust you and have made the right decision to do business with you. If customers are unwilling to provide a testimonial simply ask if they will be a verbal referral for you. Don't forget to always ask also if they know of any other people that would benefit from using your products and services.
Become a Valuable Resource
Look for ways you can be a resource for your customers. Supply them occasionally with valuable market information (e.g. emerging trends, new products etc). Help them do things faster, less expensively and be more competitive themselves. Remember that you will get another opportunity to sell something every time they come back to you for information or advice.
Enhance your Credibility
A good way to earn credibility is by establishing yourself as an expert with intimate knowledge of your products, services and your industry.
Demonstrating that you have far superior knowledge than your competition will position you way ahead of them because you are recognized for knowing a lot more.
Offering some market information (or intelligence) to demonstrate this in the initial meeting with the prospect will position your business nicely straight off, and will see you as different from the competition.
Track your Sales with Run Rates!
Run rates are a great way to understand whether your sales and margins are on track with budget and to indicate the variances by week, month or whatever period you choose. Also this is a great tool to keep on top of these critical areas of your business, providing a snapshot view this method is a quick and easy method of analyzing your business.