by Lewis Robinson
A lot of startups fail within the first few months due to some commonly acknowledged culprits – picking a bad time to scale, running out of operating capital, lack of a steady customer base, high customer acquisition cost, and low to nonexistent repeat business. All of these problems can often be traced back to an ineffective sales approach.
Here are five techniques to nail your ad campaign, streamline your sales process, and achieve sustainable sales growth:
1. Be Value-Oriented.
Once you acknowledge the fact that you’re always selling, it becomes critical to understand what you are actually offering to customers. The product/service you are selling or the cash you’re receiving in exchange for that product/service isn’t as important as its perceived value. When customers buy something, they pay for the value of having it. They don’t buy a widget because they like having a widget; they do it because they need it and it fulfills a particular purpose in their personal or professional life.
2. Refine Your Sales Process.
Start thinking about how you’re going to sell your product. A business is simply a transaction between customer and supplier. A lot of early-stage companies have a hard time identifying their sales, which lead to marketing campaigns that do not align with their target market. Sit down with your team and take a close objective look on your sales process. This includes identifying who your ideal customer is, where you are getting your leads, how long your sales cycle is, and what your user acquisition cost is.
3. Hone Your Communication Skills.
If there’s one skill you’ll need to succeed in sales, it’s communication. The ability to ask, listen, and act on the information you’ve just received is paramount to closing deals. This, however, requires asking the right questions. Your conversation should be creative, intentional, relevant, and straightforward. Your listening skills must be sharp, able to retain information that you can use to follow up with clients.
4. Simplify Checkout.
Even the best sales plans can be thwarted by an inconvenient and unintuitive checkout system. Make it effortless for customers to buy your product/service. Don’t make them jump through hoops and fall in long lines as this can drastically reduce your repeat business. For traditional stores, this may mean opening more checkout points and integrating self-checkout counters. For an eCommerce business, make sure you have a Shopping Cart feature and that you minimize the number of clicks they need to perform to check out. A good example is the game company, Steam. Verified account users can purchase games and in-game items in as few as five mouse clicks, which ultimately attract more purchases and increase sales.
5. Get the Right Salespeople.
Whether you’re selling mattresses or QuickBooks alternative software, you need the right people in the ground to represent your brand. Find people who are experienced and passionate about the market. If you were a customer, would you buy from a prospective salesperson that you’re about to hire? If the answer is “no”, why hire him/her at all? Aside from work experience, another important criteria for judging is their personality. Are they generally likable? Can they hold a conversation without cracking under pressure? Are they the type of person who doesn’t accept “no” for an answer? When filling in sales positions, consider the pros and cons of recruiting or training your own employees. Which one takes longer and which one costs more?
Having a great product or the best team in the industry won’t matter if you don’t know how to market and sell it. A clearly defined sales model will elevate your company to the next level and give you the competitive edge you need to survive and thrive. Use the five tips above as a starting point to boost your sales and growth, regardless of what type or size of company you operate.
Lewis Robinson is a business consultant specializing in social media marketing, CRM, and sales. He’s begun multiple corporations and currently freelances as a writer and business consultant.