How you sell your product or service needs to be thought out strategically. It’s not enough to simply take your idea out to market and expect people to buy into it. Set realistic sales targets then plan strategic ways to exceed them. The psychology behind this is that you want to stay motivated by reaching your sales targets each month, but by using a pre-planned strategy that could help you to smash through those targets and potentially double your earnings.
However, there are also other factors that influence the purchasing decision that you’ll need to take into account.
Step One – Customer Service
Customer service can make or break a business and it is a huge part of the selling process. How many times have you walked into a shop and had poor customer service and never gone back? Poor customer relations is a recipe for failure.
Use social media to not only sell your brand but as a customer service tool. Listen, engage and converse with people. If customers have something bad to say about your product/service or customer service they will more than likely go onto social media to voice their opinion. Answer any negative comments swiftly, openly and honestly and do go beyond the call of duty to put the situation right and make up for any mistakes. Remember this is a public forum, so no matter what the comment you need to deal with it politely, professionally and promptly. Even the most unhappiest of customers can be turned around if their concerns are dealt with in the right way. People want to be listened to and their issues resolved.
Step Two – Sales Technique
It’s important that you learn how to sell your product or service effectively. Think about what you like and don’t like when shopping around.
What three things about your business do you want people to take away with them? Focus on your benefits and what your business can do for others rather than focusing on what your business does.
Don’t talk at people or do the hard sell. Be friendly and approachable and listen. Chasing people or pushing them into a sale is the biggest turn off. Start a conversation rather than doing the hard sell i.e. this fabric print is big this season; showing them images of models wearing it. If they say your product is too expensive, point them in the direction of a lower priced product but highlight the difference in benefits and features. Treat all customers with respect and give them your undivided attention. Show them that you care about their needs and wants rather than making a sale. Don’t place profit over people and be generous so that your customers leave feeling happy that they have got value for money.
Know your USP’s and why people should choose you over your competitors, but never ever talk badly about your competitors as it reflects badly on you.
Try to be impartial and helpful to the customer as this will position you as an expert and give you credibility, and is more likely to lead to a sale.
Look at how Apple staff sell their products in store for example. They sell their innovation and design and focus on what the product can do for you. The sales assistants are so knowledgeable, passionate and helpful that they transfer that feeling to you. They don’t bombard you with technical information but speak in a language that the average person will understand.
Step Three – Selling to existing customers
It takes more time and costs five times more to target and sell to new customers than it does to sell to existing customers. Yet people tend to focus all of their attention on winning new customers. Manage your database of existing customers, contacting them regularly and building that relationship. Give them exclusives offers and discounts and up sell new products and services with the aim of building a loyal fan base and maintaining that connection.
Step Four – Collaborate
Collaborate with other organisations and experts in your field to give added value to your customers. Teaming up with experts or organisations that complement your offering is a great way to raise your profile and position yourself as an expert in your industry. This will in turn lead to customers having greater trust in you and your offering which ultimately leads to more sales. Have them contribute to blog posts, webinars, seminars or guides that you are producing. Or have them review your product or service for a more impactful testimonial.
Step Five – Offer value for money
Up selling and packaging up your products and services will allow you to sell more whilst offering more value for money. You could also find new ways to extend your offering for example, if you run your own personal training business or have launched your own sports wear brand you could start free local running clubs and keep fit events. This puts you in contact with your target market and allows you to build a relationship with them.
A fantastic way to get people interested in your business and to grow your email database, is to offer your potential customers something for free which they have to sign up for. This could be an app, game, insider guide, eBook or a series of ‘How To’ videos. Figure out what would be the most attractive to your audience, then promote the hell out of it using social media, your blog and website.
Step Six – Creating a happy work environment
The people that work on the shop floor at Apple all seem happy, passionate, informed and appear to love their job and seem happy to be there. It’s a conscious effort on the part of Apple to ensure their staff radiate a happy and positive attitude. It’s this kind of environment that sets them apart from their competitors and ensures customers return. It’s a huge part of their brand identity and something more businesses should emulate whether they sell online or face to face. It’s important to create a positive working environment with happy, well trained staff. This will lead to more sales and a good reputation.
If something isn’t working change it!
Don’t be afraid of changing the things that don’t work. Nobody get’s everything right immediately. It’s a process of discovery. If you find a sales technique isn’t working, it’s up to you to change it and try something new until you find something that does work. You have to keep evolving and trying new things.