In the past, salesmen often had a suitcase of wares they could take from house to house and make sales to customers who perhaps had never heard of their product before. Salesman in the past were eagerly greeted in homes and businesses and even entertained. Of course, this would have also been the time of few visitors, as well as people who had to rely on horses to get around. In today’s world, however, salespeople, in order to make sales, must move quickly and stay one step ahead of their customers and the competition. How do you go about doing that? With planning, of course–which is the key to all great sales.
Understand Your Mission and Goals
In order to begin to formulate a sales plan, you must first understand what your business is, who your customer base is, how to best sell to them and what your basis or niche for selling to customers is. This may take a bit of time and some research, especially if you are evaluating your sales practices or customer target. If you are part of a larger business, and you are not sure of your business’ mission or vision, ask some probing questions of your managers in order to facilitate your goals.
Once you have a clear understanding of your mission, either within your own company, or within a larger company, begin by . Be as specific as possible. How many sales calls per day do you want to make? What do you want your results to be? How many additional customers do you want to have in six months? Where do you see yourself in one year? Where will you be in five years? Goals help you to develop a measuring stick to measure your progress.
Understand What Your New/Potential Customers Are Looking For
If you want to increase your sales, you also may want to do some market research into what your customers need, or you need to figure out items or services they don’t even know they need yet. All customers want products that will either solve a problem for them, make their business run more smoothly, or reduces costs for the business. In order to make your potential customer want to buy your product or service, you may just need to think about your products or services in a new way.
In addition to rethinking your marketing strategy, you may also want to think about how to sell your products. While this sounds silly, remember that you are refocusing your efforts and purpose. After all, you can’t sell a product or a service if you are not completely familiar with your product. Think about every step of the selling process, and make sure you can successfully negotiate each step in the process. If you do not feel completely comfortable with the product or process, rehearse and get guidance from others until you feel you can sell something flawlessly.
While you are working to perfect your sales technique, you need to remember that one of the first skills you need to have in sales is your ability to ask questions of the client to make sure you understand what the client needs from you. Second, after you have asked the client questions, you must listen to what the customer needs. If you rush ahead with your presentation, and you haven’t listened to the client, your sales pitch is dead in the water. Third, once you have asked questions and listened to what the customer needs, you need to be ready and willing to answer or act on their requests, because this is one of the ways the customer knows you value their problems and you want to help them work on their problems.
When your sales pitch goes well, take a second to silently praise your effort. If your sales pitch doesn’t go the way you expected, look back at your sales proposal, figure out where it went wrong, and work to make it better. If an apology or a statement is needed for the client, take responsibility for the problems, and work to solve them. It never hurts to look back at yourself as a salesperson and reflect on how you could work on a basic sales strategy to make it the best it can be. Finally, check your attitude. Is it all that it should be with regard to sales? Do you walk into a potential sale feeling positive about your chances? If not, your outlook or your attitude might need a little work.
Technology Is Your Friend
There are salespeople in the world who are not excited at all about technology, either because they are worried about learning something new, or because they don’t feel technology has much of a place in sales. However, using technology can make your job easier.
First, automate your tasks as much as possible by using technological advancement to increase your sales. Many tasks, such as the use of technology in your , allow you to manage your customer base, and acquire leads for new customers through technology. Both CRM software and lead generators are crucial to build potential new customers without the legwork previously required. Automating tasks helps you to maximize your time, which you can use for other tasks.
Second, social media can help you market yourself and your business. With millions of people on social media, creating a social media presence can only help you in your sales practices. Be sure that you are active on social media and constantly updating your feeds, as that increases your visibility.
If you take the time to go through , think about your overall goals as well as your individual goals, work on your sales pitch and your attentiveness to what your client needs and helping them solve problems, and maximize your time through technology, you will see your sales rise — and your goals achieved. Who wouldn’t be happy with success and goal achievement?