Listening is key to sales success
Copyright Roger Pierce, reprinted with permission.
Many new entrepreneurs dread the idea of selling, but it's a fact of small business life. Since the majority of your time will be spent marketing and selling, follow these tips to help develop effective sales skills to build your enterprise:
1. Become a great listener. When meeting with a prospect, try listening 80 per cent of the time and talking only 20 per cent. Most people wait for their turn to speak, hoping to dazzle a potential customer with their sales pitch. When you truly listen, you'll identify ways to help that person through your product or service.
2. Perfect your "30-second commercial". Create and rehearse a succinct summary of your company, focusing on the benefits of doing business with you.
3. Follow the 'FAB' formula. A feature is an attribute of your product or service ("we offer a money-back guarantee"), its advantage to the customer ("we'll refund your money if you're not happy") and the benefit ("there's no risk to buying from us.") While prospects want to know features and advantages, they usually buy benefits.
4. Under promise and over deliver. Some sellers will say anything to secure the deal. Win a customer for life by establishing realistic expectations and exceeding them.
5. Be prepared. Just like a job interview, a salesperson must do their homework before walking into a presentation. Find out as much as you can about your prospect, their business, their competition and their challenges.
6. Shadow a seller. Arrange to join an experienced salesperson on the job for a day. Be sure to choose someone whose selling style reflects your own.
Truly effective sales people aren't "pushy." Consider subscribing to the belief "people hate to be sold, but love to buy" and simply help customers to get what they want from your small business.
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