If you’re serious about being a successful entrepreneur, there’s one thing above everything else that you need to be able to do: sell. The person who can sell anything to anyone is at a distinct advantage in the business world. Even if their product isn’t quite as innovative or exciting as the competition’s, their ability to make a sale will compensate for that and they will still succeed in the end.
Okay, but how exactly do you sell anything to anyone?
Focus on the Customer
One of the most important things you can do, whether you want to sell galvanized steel pipes to the construction industry or your freelance graphic design services to the local store, is to put the focus squarely onto the prospective customer.
Just as most people hate that one person at parties who goes on and on and on about himself without ever stopping to ask a question of the people around them, customers are less than enamored with entrepreneurs who spend all of their time talking about their business and what they have to offer.
That means, if you want to make a sale, you need to take the focus off yourself and start thinking about the customer. Ask them how they are, think about how your products and services meet their needs, and only discuss the aspects of your business that you truly think could enhance their lives. There’s no point talking about your SEO service if they don’t have or want a website, for example, but your offline marketing services, well that’s a different matter. Tailor your pitch to the prospect, show an interest in them, and take it from there!
Before you even think about reaching out to a prospective customer, you should take the time to learn about them first. This is easier than ever to do thanks to social media and all of the various market research tools that are so easily accessible.
Why should you do this? Well, if you expect your customers to listen to you and learn what your products and services do, the least you can do is learn about them first, Not only that, but it will help you to nail down exactly what matters to them, how you/your product can solve their problems and any topics that may be a sensitive issue for them and best avoided. Put simply, the more you know about your prospects, the better you can tailor your pitch, and the more it will appear to them that you’re a serious professional with a real interest in them. They’ll be flattered and the sale will be so much easier to seal.
Make Yourself Valuable
Instead of jumping in with both feet and reeling off your sales pitch to your potential customers, think about what you can do to add value to their lives right now. For example, you could offer them a free trial of your product or offer to audit their website to see what they could be doing better in SEO terms if you work in the online marketing industry. If you work in catering, you could send them some free samples or offer to draw up an interesting menu for their next big event. By offering them a taste of what you do for free, you don’t look like the kind of aggressive salesperson who puts most people off, and you get the chance to demonstrate to them exactly why your products and services are worth investing in. Sure, this may take more time and effort up front, but it will help you to build a rapport and show that you’re more than just a salesperson, which is sure to lead to more sales in the long-term.
Ask Their Opinion
One selling strategy that can work really well is asking questions. Whether a prospect is hot or cold, asking them things like:
- How could we improve our products?
- What one feature would you like to see that we haven’t included?
- What one feature do you feel superfluous?
- What aspect of my product/service do you struggle with?
- Is there anything my business can do to make life easier for you?
Will at the very least, show potential customers that you are open to suggestions and you really do care about helping them. Perhaps more importantly, it will give you a lit of food ideas of how you can improve your products and services, which if you implement, could help you to make even more sales in the future. Of course, this will only work if you truly care and your really listen to what your prospects are telling you; if you think your products and services are already perfect as they are, you won’t get much out of this step, and you probably won’t sell as much as you could!
A lot of the advice around selling tells you to put on a charming and confident persona, and although this can work, quite often it is very offputting because, unless you are already those things, it can appear to be quite disingenuous. It’s far better to be natural and talk your products up because you truly believe in them than it is to fake it with bluster and come across as the typical ‘dodgy car salesman.’ So, for sure, mention your business’ biggest selling points and show enthusiasm for what your products and services can do but do it out of a genuine love rather than a need to make money and you won’t go far wrong.
Remember Customers Are People
Last, but certainly not least, you should always bear in mind that your prospect are real people just like you and me. The things that turn you on or put you off buying a product and service are the same things that will work or not for your customers, so before you send that marketing email or write deliver that sales pitch, think about whether you’d like to read/hear it and whether it would work on you. If yes, proceed; if not – back to the drawing board.
Master these rules of sales and you too will be able to sell anything to anyone and make all of your endeavors a success!