Every sale counts to a small business owner. You train your team, you fine tune your product and marketing, and you are doing okay – but not great. One day a friend mentions that he called your business but was stuck on hold forever. Or worse—he called and your sales representative was not interested in doing business. What gives?
Offer solutions—not a stand off
Earlier in my career, I needed some marketing help. I worked with a company, set up an account, and got things moving. I realized that I did not have my content lined up, so I called the company to let them know I was holding off on my campaign for a few weeks.
In two or three weeks, I was set, and called to trigger the services I set up. The sales rep said my account was cancelled because I had postponed. When I asked if I could reactivate, maybe pay a small fee, the answer was no, my account was cancelled.
Anyone reading this is shaking their head. That blew my mind. Not only did this company not want my business—they argued with me about it. Even after the discourtesy of cancelling my account, I would have paid a fee to get going again. In effect, I was turned down twice.
Never do this. Obviously, I took my business elsewhere. And, needless to say, that company never got a good referral from me.
While the attitude of this sales rep—or maybe the entire company—was way off, there are times when a business does not recognize the signals that a customer, or a client, is ready to buy.
Sales signals—and what they mean to your success
Some entrepreneurs still try to get ahead with hard sales tactics. They employ tricks and tips that push and prod a customer into buying. While you can make a sale this way, it isn’t likely this customer will feel any loyalty to your company. And customer loyalty is one of the keys to ongoing business success.
My job is helping small business owners create and enjoy success. Whether talking about marketing, organizational planning, or business automation, I help business owners recognize and build relationships that work—through effective sales, business structure, and technology.
A big part of my job is helping entrepreneurs cultivate a clientele willing to pay premium prices, for high value, and good service. Success depends on repeat customers who enjoy how they are treated by your business.
Building a sales relationship with a prospective lead takes work and recognition of what signals an interested customer. Consider these points:
• Customer interest: I said it before, and I will say it again. No one is calling your business unless they have a need. On a sales floor, or on the phone, you need to find out about their need. You may—or may not—be able to offer the solution they want, but first understand that anyone who contacts your firm, or your shop, has a need that led them to take the effort to contact you.
• Reward customer interest: When someone calls or contacts you, reward them by listening carefully to what they are saying, and how they are saying it. Your goal is to build a relationship. This means active listening. Be intent on learning their need, parameters for their solution, budget, and timeline. With occasional additional questions—learn everything you need about their problem, so that you can offer a good solution. This means you never interrupt them to insert a sales pitch.
• Watch for signals: The best sales people are those who understand tone and body language. With enough experience, you, and your sales team, can recognize when a customer is signaling they want more information, want to buy—or that that they are not interested. When a potential customer is avoiding eye contact with you, browsing, and generally looking—express interest in them, but do not crowd or rush them. If a client calls about a product, or a customer starts looking carefully at an item—that means interest.
• Offer solutions: On the telephone, in person, or online—respond to the need identified by your potential customer. Once you know their concerns, put together solutions, let them know how that might work—and what that could cost. Work with their response and remember reciprocity is essential to a successful sales environment. Ensure your sales team understands anyone who contacts them is a potential customer. Even leads who do not buy from you today could return next week because they remembered your helpful attitude, information, and interest in their problem.
Sales are critical to small business success. Train your sales team, and fine tune your sales behavior to ensure you are building customer relationships that pay off today—and down the road.
When you need help with marketing, sales strategies, or using marketing automation to nurture client relationships—call me at 585-633-7563.
To your success.
Bob Britton is an accomplished entrepreneur with 25 year’s experience starting, building and growing both brick-and-mortar companies as well as online businesses. He's personally built 3 companies from one man shows to the million dollar mark. Marketing Automation Group and the Automated Entrepreneur Method® are his latest brainchild. After working with hundreds of business owners in every walk of business, he realized there was a HUGE gap in the support and training that was available, and set out to fill that void with his no-nonsense, hype free approach to business growth.