Most small business owners realize that sales are fundamental to the success of their business. Formal sales training is usually not an option though, because they just don’t have the funds. However, there are several things you can easily teach your sales people (and yourself) to do – and if you master these principles, sales will increase.
Here are the six sales fundamentals for you and your salespeople to understand well and practice continually:
1. Be a Boy Scout and be prepared!
In today’s world nobody has time to waste. So if a prospective buyer sees that you are unprepared, they’ll be turned off at once and start pushing you to the door. I see this violated every day by salespeople, by senior-level sales managers and by owners of companies of all sizes. The usual excuse is “Didn’t have time to prepare.” Well, I’ll grant that the time factor is more of a problem today because of emails, instant messaging and cell phones. It is very difficult to disengage from these modern miracles, but they’re supposed to be helping, not distracting and getting in the way – so don’t become their slave. Time spent in good preparation is priceless.
2. Listen and ask before you leap!
All too often a salesperson will get in front of a buyer, say hello and then jump right into the pitch. Wrong! If you are prepared, you will have some questions you may need answered or clarified to determine what direction you need to pursue.
3. Ask and you shall receive!
Many times I’ll meet with a salesperson who just runs through a presentation and that’s it – they don’t ask for my order! Maybe they expect (or hope) that I’ll take the initiative and give them an order without having to be asked. Always ask for the order with clear, clean frankness. You’ll be surprised how many times you will get one.
4. You talk too much!
Many, many salespeople seem to feel that they must talk all the time in order to sell. Unfortunately, that’s probably the single worst thing you can do. I tell people to think of selling like eating a sandwich: Take a bite (make a sales point), chew (let the point sink in, and allow for a comment or question), take another bite (make another point), chew some more, and so forth. If you’re talking all the time, you can all too easily miss noticing that the buyer wants to say or ask something – and that can lead to a quick, unhappy and unproductive end to the encounter.
5. Never Give Up!
Your competition is not made up of all the people selling a similar product to similar customers or clients. At the beginning of my sales career it was pointed out that 48% of salespeople give up after the first rejection. 95% give up after the fifth rejection. So all you actually have to compete against is the remaining 5%.
6. Silence is Golden!
After you have given your presentation, answered any objections and asked for the order, shut up! The first person to speak after asking for the order will lose. Either you will get an order or you will not, depending on who speaks first.
These six points are simple but very effective. Master them, teach them to your salespeople and watch your sales grow.