“Making the sale” is a common challenge for many small business owners who probably started their business because of a love for their product or service–not a love of sales. If you struggle with sales in your business, it can be helpful to get a better understanding of the sales process, which will naturally improve your ability to sell. With practice, you’ll become more comfortable with the sales process and more effective as well. Here are five parts of the sales process that you can focus on to start.
Get to Know the Sales Cycle
The sales cycle can be less overwhelming when you look at it as a standard process with recurring steps. Become more familiar with the seven stages of the sales cycle, going from prospecting to asking for referrals, and then systemize the process. Once you have an understanding of it, you can make it more brief and more targeted by becoming efficient at each step and adjusting the time it takes you to do each. With practice, you can reduce the length of your cycle and close a sale faster.
Create Your “Elevator Pitch”
Your elevator pitch is a quick, one-minute summary of who you are and what you do. Basically, it’s the amount of information you could give to your ideal investor or ideal customer if you ever ended up in an elevator with them, which is why this is called an “elevator pitch.” In order to get this person’s attention so they want to hear more once they’re free to leave the elevator (once they’re not “stuck” being a captive audience), you need to make sure you explain your business in a way that shares what’s “in it for them.” You also need to make sure you explain your product/service clearly in a way they can understand, and you only have a minute to do it. Think about those things when writing your pitch, then practice it! The more comfortable you are with delivering your elevator pitch, the more effective you’ll be.
Write a USP—Unique Selling Proposition
Your unique selling proposition is a statement that shares how you or your product are different from your competition. What makes you unique? What makes you stand out? In other words, why should someone buy from you instead of someone else? This statement should definitely be included in your elevator pitch since it will help people understand why you’re the best choice.
Learn to Overcome Sales Objections
Once you’ve shared your pitch, people will give you reasons why they may not want to purchase your product. Each time you make your pitch, you’ll notice certain objections will come up over and over. Jot down those common objections, and then build an argument to overcome them. Again, use what you write to practice what you’ll say when someone brings up each objection.
When you’re a good negotiator, you’ll naturally avoid sales objections, make your prospects feel like they’ve been heard, and close the sale with terms that work for everyone involved. If you haven’t been in a position to negotiate very often, you’ll have to build this skill. Start with knowing what you want to get out of the sale, tackle the easiest issues first, and always have compromise in mind. Remember these key factors when you negotiate:
- People often ask for more than they expect to get.
- The person with the most information usually comes out on top.
- Learn as much as you can about your customer by asking questions.
- Learn as much as you can about your competitors as well.
- Practice at every opportunity.
- Maintain your “walk away” power.
- It’s better to walk away from a sale rather than make a deal that’s not good for you.
At Sales Arbiter, we can work with you to refine your pitch and USP, figure out what objections you may encounter, and improve your negotiation skills. We not only train sales teams, but work with salespeople one-on-one to perfect their technique through every step of the sales cycle. Contact us to get some insight on next steps for improving your sales skills.