Successful Sales Strategies
Neil Bromage has run his own small business and is a freelance business writer working on a range of newspapers including The Times, Sunday Times, Telegraph and Financial Mail on Sunday. This book is based on a wide range of columns and Q&As written and answered by Neil for Business Link over a number of years. He is based near Preston, Lancs.
So, you think you’ve got a great product, but how do you persuade people to buy it? The more work you put into planning and developing your sales strategy, the easier it will be to close a deal and develop a loyal customer base.
Identify features and benefits. What makes your product/service unique and how can it improve the life or work of your customer? Differentiate between a feature and a benefit and look at the product from your customer’s perspective.
Check out the competition. What are others in your market doing? Evaluate their strengths and weaknesses and analyse what methods they use to sell.
Define your market. The more research you put into identifying your potential customers the more effective your sales strategy will be.
Sales methods. Once you’ve identified your target market and assessed the benefits your products can offer you can plan what sales method to use – personal contact (direct selling, retail), telesales, direct mail (special offers, catalogues), the Internet.
Presenting. Creating, for instance, a PowerPoint presentation including key information that can be tailored to each customer’s needs can help to develop a strong, professional and consistent image.
Negotiating. Be prepared to negotiate, but know your bottom line there’s no point selling something if you lose money, even if you think it’s worth it to capture a customer for the long term.
Closing the deal. You’ve persuaded the customer that they need or want what you have to offer. Now you have to get a firm commitment to the sale. Keep focused on your customer and capitalise on what you have learned about them during the negotiations.
Follow up. The sale is just the beginning. Following up the deal will strengthen the relationship with your new customer, and could provide opportunities for additional sales.
And finally don’t forget that continually evaluating your sales process is vital if you’re hoping to refine and improve it – few things are ever perfect.