When you own a business, you’re in charge of either hiring quality sales people, or getting out there and doing it yourself in one way or another. Marketing and online reputation are great places to start. But, what happens when the customer calls you? You should be able to make that sell, if they aren’t already sold on your business. If you have hired other people to take charge of the sales side of things for you, you are likely still going to be training and helping them along the way. Sales can be intimidating because not everyone feels that they have the personality or charisma for it. However, there are lots of habits you can establish now, and tips that will lead you to effective selling:
Don’t wait for a potential customer to call in trying to decide if they’ll go with you or a competitor, before you decide how to approach that conversation. Prepare ahead of time certain things that you’d like to highlight about your product or service. Help yourself out by knowing what image you want them to have of your business after the phone call. Of course, conversations will vary. However, there are many things you can be sure to include in each one you have, that will help you earn the customer. For example, be prepared to mention how many years of experience you have, suggest that they check out your positive reviews online, or let them know of a deal you are currently running. All of those things will help you to make the sale, without sounding pushy.
Be the Expert
Whether you are taking on sales by yourself, or having an employee do so, knowing your product and service like the back of your hand is the first step to a successful sale. When your potential customer has unanswered questions, they are likely going to investigate a competitor to see what they can find out. Have confidence in yourself and your services, knowing you are the best that they will find. Let your confidence show in your conversations, because you know you offer quality work and great prices. Don’t shy away from concerns they might have, and instead be ready to work out a solution together.
Building relationships is a key piece of the sales puzzle. When someone feels like they know you on a personal level, and can trust you, they are likely to give you their business time and time again. This doesn’t just mean building a relationship to land the first initial sale, but instead keep it going so you can create a loyal customer. Let your customer know a bit about yourself during your conversation, and ask them questions about themselves. If someone is calling you because they need their carpets cleaned, ask them what time of day works best so you don’t interrupt anything they’ve got going on. If someone calls you because they need their heater fixed, be aware that they are likely cold and stressed out, and try to be flexible and work with them. Kindness is key to building a relationship!
Ask & Listen
You’ll hear this over and over in sales training. Don’t be the one to do all the talking! Instead, ask your potential customer questions and then listen to what they have to say. Let their response lead you to your next statement, so they know you are paying attention. Find out what their reason for calling is, and what they want done in order to fix it. Don’t take over a conversation by rushing through, or doing all the talking. Let your customer tell you what’s going on, and ask questions to show that you care.
Help them Take Action
“Approach Each Customer With The Idea Of Helping Him Or Her To Solve A Problem Or Achieve A Goal, Not Of Selling A Product Or Service.” – Brian Tracy
This is a big one! Your potential customer is calling you because they have an issue that you can help them with. Instead of looking at it as an opportunity to make more revenue, or to sell something, look at it as someone who needs help. You are there to help them and to make things better for them. Fix their problem as you would want someone to fix yours!
Here’s a personal example: When my baby was 3 months old, our A/C broke. It was the middle of July and our house was 90+ degrees inside! I had fans going and windows open, but it was pretty uncomfortable. I called a local HVAC company, and while on the phone, he heard my baby crying. The man said, “Oh you have a baby! He’s probably so hot. I’m on lunch right now, but I’ll head over and eat when I’m done.” He got to my house about 15 minutes later, and within a half hour, we had a working A/C! It really wasn’t urgent, but it meant a lot that he cared so much about his customers. Since then, we’ve called them to come check out our heater before the winter, and I’ve referred him to at least 10 people online, as well as leaving positive reviews.
That’s just one example, and you don’t always need to drop your lunch and run. However, letting people know you actually care about them really goes a long way for your business.
For more insights on marketing strategy that actually works for small business, subscribe to the FreshLime Newsletter here. Connect with Jay Bean, Founder of FreshLime and Small Business Marketing Expert on LinkedIn and Twitter. And last of all, if any of these tips have helped you or if you have anything to add please comment below. We’d love to hear from you!