10 sales tips your competitors wish you didn’t know

Sale (Photo credit: Gerard Stolk (vers les 66))

Your sales are down for the month or quarter. In this economy they could be at the lowest levels you’ve experienced for years, as some small business owners have recently told me.

You need to make a plan to increase your sales but you may not know where to start. The quickest and easiest way to focus on your sales is to come up with a list of what you can do. Continue reading “10 sales tips your competitors wish you didn’t know”

Closing the sale: emotional connection, building relationships and gaining trust is critical

How many sales will this fruit seller close today? (Photo credit: Aneesh KS, Creative Commons
How many sales will this fruit seller close today? (Photo credit: Aneesh KS, Creative Commons

When you come up with an idea for a new product or service and develop it for market, you will need to sell it to prospective customers. Selling involves a process of qualifying the prospective customer, presenting an appeal to buyer needs and finally closing the sale.

If you are going to be successful in your start-up or existing business, it stands to reason that the more sales you make, the more successful your business will be. It also means that the better you are at closing sales, the more revenue you will produce for your business. Knowing how to close sales is therefore critical to the success of your new product or service. Continue reading “Closing the sale: emotional connection, building relationships and gaining trust is critical”

How to handle objections when selling your new product or service

Credit: Wikimedia Commons
Credit: Wikimedia Commons

You’ve come up with a new product or service that you’ve spent months developing and testing and you approach your first customers. Don’t be surprised when you encounter your first objections. You can’t expect a prospective customer to just say yes to your product and hand over their money. It may happen with low value items but the higher the purchase price, the more hard work you need to put into the sale. Continue reading “How to handle objections when selling your new product or service”

5 questions to help you qualify your prospect

 Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike
Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike

Have you ever walked onto a car showroom floor and immediately the salesperson starts showing you the latest models that are way above your budget and are not what you were looking for in the first place?

This high-pressure selling makes you instantly lose confidence in the salesperson. Emotion is a big part of buying and selling. One of the biggest emotions is fear. Fear that you will be ripped off. Fear that you will buy the wrong product or a product that is of inferior quality. Fear that you could have got a better deal elsewhere. Fear that once the salesperson has got your money, they won’t care a fig about you should something go wrong with your product. Continue reading “5 questions to help you qualify your prospect”

Are you capable of “motivating” prospects to buy?

Scotland_fish_and_chip_shopFor a young man who had spent his first seven years working as a reporter and magazine writer and the next seven years in public relations, selling cooking oil to a fish shop owner in the industrial area of Roodepoort was world’s apart.

The managing director of the food group

I was working for at the time tasked a colleague and me to start a distribution business to serve the general trade.

One Friday afternoon after calling on the fish shop owner – this had been about the third or fourth call – he ordered eight 20 l drums of cooking oil from me. My heart lept. At last I had made a sizeable order and a regular customer.

I went back to our distribution warehouse, loaded the van and delivered the drums of cooking oil that same afternoon. Continue reading “Are you capable of “motivating” prospects to buy?”

What’s the best way to learn to sell?

Selling lobsters. Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons
Selling lobsters. Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Today people will make wake up, get dressed and travel to their shop, a showroom floor or prospective customer’s premises to sell. They will be selling cars, homes, furniture, confectionery, insurance, clothes, meat, vegetables, smart phones, tablet computers and large industrial equipment – to name only a few products and services.

Selling is pervasive in our economy. With so many thousands of people making their daily living from the products and services that they sell one wonders how all these people were trained to sell.

Some are trained through company sales programmes, others tag along with experienced sales people on calls and learn the ropes in the field while yet others just bare-knuckle it and learn through trial and error. Continue reading “What’s the best way to learn to sell?”

Secret sauce for small business start-ups

Now with the economy as it is, formulas, systems and processes to start up a business of your own are flooding email in-boxes and splashing on the cover of small business magazines.

Nothing wrong with that except for the glaring omissions in the advice, making it sound like a small business is so easy to start it’s like child’s play. We’ve covered the importance of transforming personal resources into business resources, market research, testing and implementation plans. But there’s still one secret sauce that doesn’t appear in these offers, books and articles written by gurus (gooroos), academics and instant authors, publishing hundreds of thousands of instant e-book’s each year.

That ingredient is so obvious that it’s left out or left alone because the authors seem to have no idea of how important it is. Continue reading “Secret sauce for small business start-ups”

The secrets of how a mom turned an old smoker into a cash machine

Omul fish, endemic to Lake Baikal (Russia). Sm...
Smoked fish for sale. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I was talking to a Chinese restaurateur the other evening about foods in South Africa. He’s newly arrived from mainland China and wants to know the different kinds of foods that South Africans eat and is fascinated by the different cultural influences. He makes a delicious tuna seaweed wrap by the way but that’s another story.

We got talking about the many ways chicken is prepared in the country from rotisserie grilled and deep fried to flame grilled. I mentioned that I had recently bought a smoked chicken from an organic farmer who had discovered a 300-year-old family recipe using hickory wood. The newly-arrived Chinese restaurant owner said he had seen a smoker in America and would love to give smoking a try.

I couldn’t help thinking of the old smoker that my father bought when I was growing up in Kalk Bay. He bought it from a man who had gone into smoking fish commercially out along the old Kommetjie Main Road above the Noordhoek Valley which was only farming land and small holdings in those days. A pioneer, he had been unsuccessful in making a go of it. Continue reading “The secrets of how a mom turned an old smoker into a cash machine”

Something small like this can give your sales an instant rush

English: Picture of an authentic Neapolitan Pi...
Photo: Wikipedia

Walking past an Italian restaurant in a shopping centre, the owner came up to me with a round wooden board with piping hot Marguerite pizza.

“Please try a piece,” he said. I did. It was delicious. I had no intention of eating pizza, perhaps stopping for a coffee, but 20 minutes later I had a pizza in front of me and bit into my first slice. Continue reading “Something small like this can give your sales an instant rush”

Use these creative selling ideas to pump sales even in this economy

Use creative techniques to generate ideas to increase your sales whether selling face to face, in print or on-line

Dear Friend,

We were in the market for a house and looked at several properties. Gail (not her real name), one of the real estate agents, showed us an attractive home but it had some disadvantages. She asked us to view the house a second time. While inside the kitchen we admired the spacious feeling and the view onto the garden. Then we became aware of another couple talking in the lounge. Suddenly we wanted the house more than ever. We put in an offer to purchase right away.

The real estate salesperson created urgency in her prospective buyers by creatively closing us. She increased buying pressure by bringing in another couple to view the house at the same time. She moved us rapidly from merely interested prospects to committed buyers desperate not to lose the sale.

Using your creativity as a sales person can help increase your sales in this economy. Knowing how to use creativity in selling can stop you leaving money on the table. Creativity in selling works not only for face to face selling but also in other forms such as in print or online.

How creative is your selling? We don’t mean creativity in the unsavoury sense of being devious or manipulative. Short-changing or deceiving a customer is not selling, it is dishonesty. Selling to be successful requires an exchange of value at an agreed price.

You can use your creativity to generate ideas for all phases of the sales process: understanding your customer, knowing your product or service, prospecting, qualifying, approaching the customer, presenting, closing the sale and after-sales follow-up and service.

Understanding your customer’s needs involves use of your creativity whether you are a kitchen table business owner or web entrepreneur. Who are your customers? Where are your largest prospects? What are their needs? Where will you find new customers for your product or service? Who will be your future customers? What motivates them to buy? You need to find out more about your customers and their needs. This requires creativity because you must come up with ideas to constantly stay in touch with your customer needs to grow your market.

Creativity is also required when you look at finding new uses for your products and services. In what ways are your customers using your product or service right now? What other ways could your product or service be used? What benefits of your products are most in demand and by whom? Needs change over time so you must keep current. How will you find out? What methods can you use to survey your customers?

Prospecting requires much creativity. How are you going to find out where your prospective customers are? What ideas can you come up with for generating leads? How much will leads cost you? What lead generation methods work best for your product or service?

Qualifying becomes very important in a tough economy – to increase sales and minimise your risk. If you don’t quickly qualify a prospect, you waste time and money. You need to know up front whether your customer needs your product and can afford it. What ideas can you use to quickly and effectively qualify prospects? Generate a list of questions you could ask prospects.

Presentations require creativity in providing proof of performance of your product or service. How can you sharpen your product or service presentation? Have you mastered the sequence of presenting benefits in your presentation? Do you have too many selling points, overwhelming your customer with detail? Are you able to switch from your presentation to a trial close immediately you sense a buying signal?

Handling objections benefits from creativity. Generate a list of your major objections for your products or service. Write down how you will handle each one. Make sure you have at least three answers for price in this economy.

Closing is arguably the most creative part of selling. How many closes do you have? Some top sales people have more than 25 closing techniques. How many do you have? You need at least 10 closes you can use at any time. You need to sharpen your closing because every sale you lose goes to your competition.

In this post we have mainly covered personal selling but remember that selling in print or on-line requires that you go through the selling process and determine how you can sharpen your sales process and offer (presentation). Instead of breaking your prospect’s preoccupation with a question such as in personal selling, you need to grab their attention with a headline that draws them into your sales letter, direct response ad or website copy. Closing is similar to conversion online so you need to be just as creative with various approaches to induce customers to buy from your website.

Whatever ideas you generate to increase your sales, make sure you test them. Some sales approaches work for years regardless of economic conditions or buyer behaviour. But make sure that your selling methods are up to date and effective.

Stay focused on creating value.



Chesney Bradshaw

Founder of ideaaccelerator.co.za

PS To maximise your business work on increasing customers, total purchase value and frequency of purchase. Just imagine if you could come up with 25 ideas for all three areas – you would increase your sales and profits exponentially.