Get ahead of competition and be on top of the sales game. Improve your sales skills and techniques to stay effective and relevant, and ensure success.
Tough competition, similar products and services, and an ever-changing playing field: these are just some of the realities in sales. To better equip yourself and ensure your sales techniques and strategies are relevant and effective, consider the following:
- Understand customer mindset
- Research and explore
- Define goals
- Try out new strategies
- Establish customer rapport and have a real conversation
- Learn from your mistakes and aim to grow
- Reward loyal customers and establish lasting relationships
- Personalise sales performance incentives
- Focus on what your customers need and want
- Enjoy the journey but maintain pragmatism
Understand customer mindset
Understanding your customers and how their minds work, including their product/service needs, wants, and particular preferences, is the key to accessing peak of sales performance. When you understand your market base and target audience, it is easy for you to align and cater to their demands, and even create new products and services that they “will need.”
What steps do your customers usually take in their purchase decisions and buying process? Competition is always out there, so you need to think about a purchase from your target market’s viewpoint, to make sure your product/service sells.
Learn to always upgrade and adapt to your customers’ purchasing culture and make sure to stay effective and relevant, ensuring top sales and more opportunities for business success.
Research and explore
Sales is an ever-evolving field; it is never stagnant. Thus, you must keep abreast with the latest—new sales trends, customers’ purchasing habits and tendencies, sales tools and technologies, and best practices, as well as the best selling methods and strategies.
Always make research one of the cornerstones of your sales goals and vision—even of your entire business organisation, really. Through research, you gain more knowledge and become an expert in your industry. What do you need to look into and understand? What’s new in sales, the things that are already passé or about to be, and the practices that you should adopt and be doing to get ahead of the competition—and stay on top.
Set goals by figuring out which sales skills you and your team need to focus and improve on. Do you want to get better at online and phone sales? Identify specific factors and activities regarding your business’ online and phone sales features which you have a control on and/or can change—say referrals in each call, and the number of calls you do per day—to effect the necessary calibrations to improve these features.
Defining your sales goals also involves identifying issues and problems that may hamper your achievement of sales success. These problems may be within your business structures, or issues your customers face that you need to address.
Respond to and resolve problems that exist within your company, especially in your sales team. A problematic sales system will always delay—if not altogether break down—chances for success in sales.
Identifying customer problems will also help you facilitate success in sales and open more opportunities for both financial and business growth. What are your customers’ problems that you can solve?
Remember, once you identify customer problems and right away manufacture a product or formulate a service/solution that answers to these problems, your customers are going to and will pay you. Simply, a great answer/solution to your customers’ problems always means more profitability.
Customer problems and issues can be broadly categorised into three: the clear and very obvious ones, the unclear ones, and the problems you think exist but actually don’t. The first two are opportunities for great sales and profitability. The third one you must avoid falling into—as the product/service you design for this category will not be purchased/availed by your customers, because simply, they don’t need it.
Try out new strategies
Sales strategies abound—there are virtually thousands of them out there. That’s a given. The thing you need to focus on is trying out new strategies you think will benefit your business situation and help realise your specific sales objectives.
Try out prospecting methods, closing strategies, negotiation strategies, presentation methods, and the things in between. If right now your strategies are not helping you attain more sales success, maybe it’s time to try out new ones.
A contained trial and error process will help you identify the worthwhile and beneficial strategies that work for your specific sales needs from the ones that don’t. It’s alright to make mistakes, but make sure you don’t risk too much, too, in trying out these new strategies. Here, a sharp sense of business is key.
Establish customer rapport and have a real conversation
Ditch the pitch and get real. When your customers feel you are being real and when you engage them in a meaningful conversation—one where you consider their feedback on things they need, want, and the changes they desire on your already existing product(s) and service(s), you are actually strengthening your market base and creating more opportunities for your business' greater market reach.
Besides face-to-face conversation, use your social media presence to listen to what your customers have to say. Read the comments section on your website(s) and social media pages. Take note of your customer's inquiries, suggestions, and complaints and respond to them right away. Show and let your customers feel that you genuinely care.
The key here is the effort you place on listening and understanding. Focus this energy towards your customers every time during customer correspondence, meetings, social media communication, and face-to-face interactions.
Learn from your mistakes and aim to grow
If you are employing only one sales method, expect to fail. This is a truism in sales, and those who don’t abide by it place themselves in great business risks. You have to adopt and adapt your business pitch and sales strategies to respond to the ever-changing needs and wants of your customers, as well as to the dynamics of your industry and all the implications it could mean on your sales goals.
Tweaking your sales techniques by aligning it to your business objectives and your customer’s preferences makes each component of your technique reservoir personal but still very business-efficient. Again, doing research will help you achieve this. Allot time to research and really understand your target market, and how they create and maintain a purchase culture.
Reward loyal customers and establish lasting relationships
When you have an effective customer loyalty rewards system, you put in place a structure that allows for more enhanced and long-lasting relationships with your customers.
Potential and new customers are of course important in growing your business and satisfying your sales objectives, but your first and loyal customers have been an invaluable source of profit and/or return of business from the start, so it's only right that you make them feel, and show to them, how grateful you truly are.
Remember, if you take care of your customers and make and keep them satisfied, you are ensuring yourself continuous business growth and more opportunities for business expansion.
Personalise sales performance incentives
Lead conversion, personal (face-to-face) conversations, prospecting, and advancing stages are some of the incentives you need to focus on because they are vital and lead to great sales. But make sure you don’t overwhelm yourself and your sales representatives/team and throw all of these to them at once.
To maximise completion rates, gradually introduce these according to how you see best works for your organisation and sales objectives.
Enjoy the journey but maintain pragmatism
All the above tips and considerations will amount to nothing if you don’t enjoy your sales growth and journey. Expect to make mistakes along the way while you design and customise a sales strategy that fits your business situation and objectives and best answers your sales needs.
Also, enjoy and thrive in the competition. Competitors should motivate you to do better and get ahead, not discourage you from giving it your all.
But while enjoying, always maintain a keen sense of business and pragmatism. Address the most common considerations in sales: need, budget, authority, and time. When you can defend—and defend well—your products/services, you’re one step ahead of the competition and closer to achieving sales success.
Finally, understand that sales is an ever-evolving game, and the players who are most prepared and equipped, who are ready to take risks but still maintain a sharp business pragmatism, almost always win. Make sure you and your business are that kind of player—and go, win!