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Business Oracle

Key Points for Better Sales

The Print Coach, Nick Devine, picks out some of the key points to achieving better sales results and increased revenue, without having to invest too much time or money into your business

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It is critical to understand the business goal of your customer or client if you are to provide them with the right product or service

Seven proven sales hacks

The most common question I get asked by business owners and sales directors is, “How do I increase revenue and find more long-term accounts that value what we do and are willing to pay for it?”

Over the last 33 years, I have built a series of sales and business growth systems that provide proven answers to that question. In this article, I want to give you seven sales ‘hacks’ from those systems.
 
At the end of the article, you will see how to get a free resource to help you.  I will also give you a recommendation to help you implement what you are about to read into your business.

1:  Hunt for elephants

If you are going to invest time and money in sales and marketing campaigns, you may as well get the highest possible leverage from your efforts. Define the characteristics of your ideal prospect by looking at the common traits of your current ten best customers.

If you are going to invest time and money in sales and marketing campaigns, you may as well get the highest possible leverage from your efforts


Then create a list of 100 prospects that fit your ideal client profile. Why spend time with someone who will spend £500 on a pop-up banner when, for a similar investment of resources, you can find someone who will spend £5,000 or £50,000 on various projects over the next twelve months?

2: Use sequential marketing

Learn from the big boys. They understand that life is a moving parade and while I may not need your offering today, I may well need it in six months’ time. Stay at the top of the prospect’s mind during this period. 
Have a sales/marketing process that ensures you are keeping in contact with your best prospects. You could periodically send them useful information, magazine articles, invites to corporate days, or even a sales lead for their business.
 
3: Leverage education-based selling systems

The latest research from the Corporate Executive Board reveals that the salesperson is 59 percent of the value proposition. Great salespeople find ways to add value to the lives of the clients/prospects they serve. They find ways to tell them things of value that they did not know, they share research statistics with them, and they give them ideas on how to get the best from their type of product and service.
 
In other words, you can position yourself as a supplier who adds value and who is not just focused on transactions. When you do that consistently, you will become a trusted adviser to your customers and prospects. They will turn to you for advice when they are grappling with thorny problems and you will be the person they think of when they are making purchasing decisions in your category.

4: Use success stories to build crediblity

Salespeople and politicians are universally distrusted by the public. Buyers believe salespeople will say anything to secure an order. Any claims that the salesperson makes are immediately discounted by your buyer. In order to circumvent this selling challenge, you need to consistently substantiate any claims you make with third-party proof.
 
The two most effective forms of proof are independent research and customer success stories, or testimonials. The purpose of a good success story is twofold; it should help you handle typical client objections and it should unequivocally prove that you deliver on the promises you make.
 
5: Eat elephants one bite at a time

Lower the barrier to entry by making the first sale as easy as possible. When you are selling in the business-to-business space, your primary goal is to get the client, not get the transaction—far too many salespeople focus on getting transactions/orders.

The best salespeople focus on getting the client, because when they have won the client they understand they will get a constant flow of transactions. When you are trying to convert a large prospect, look for ways to do a small test pilot project. Make it as easy as possible for the customer to start the relationship with you.

6: Use sales prompters

When you make your living in the world of professional selling, your primary business tools are the words you use. Your daily objective is to persuade and influence people to do business with you versus your competition.
 
If you are using powerful and effective language, then you are more likely to be successful in your selling efforts. You cannot afford to ‘wing it’ when you are competing against aggressive, price cutting competition. As a professional salesperson, you need to make a study of persuasive language and learn to use it consistently and effectively.

When you make your living in the world of professional selling, your primary business tools are the words you use


You need to know exactly what to say if you are prospecting by phone, what questions to ask when you are sitting in front of the decision-maker at the first meeting, how to respond when you get typical objections such as pricing pressure and how to secure the next meeting in the sales process.

7: Connect the dots for your prospect

One of the primary jobs as a sales professional is to understand the business outcome your prospect is trying to achieve with your product or service. For example, a customer may ask you for quotes for an exhibition stand; their business goal is not to have a great exhibition stand, but it is probable that their goal is to generate leads for their salespeople by using the exhibition as part of their lead generation system.

Have a sales/marketing process that ensures you are keeping in contact with your best prospects, sending them useful information or invites to corporate days

 
Once you understand the goal of their purchase inquiry, you can then connect the dots and show them how your specific recommendations will result in more leads for their salespeople. If you fail to connect the dots for your prospect, they will end up making a commodity purchasing decision based on price. 

One small, simple step

Many people who read articles like this have a tendency to get excited about new ideas. Unfortunately, excitement does not produce results in the world of selling.  Speed of implementation does however produce results, and with that in mind, here is my simple recommendation for you.

Take one small simple step today. Do not try to do everything, just do one thing. Quickly review the list of seven sales hacks, choose the one that you think would be easiest to implement, and convert that idea into a specific action step with a date by when it will be completed.

For example, collect a success story from ABC client, which proves we have the ability to deliver on larger/more complex projects. Complete by X date. Then, create a list of ten ideal prospects and connect with each one on LinkedIn by X date. Also, write five or ten sales questions you can use in your next customer or prospect meeting, and complete by a certain date.

I have invested 33 years of my professional career studying what works in the world of B2B selling. During that time, I have tested an extensive range of sales prompters and selling systems.

One of the most important steps in your sales system is the initial prospect meeting. In order to make that meeting effective and secure a subsequent follow-up meeting, you need great questions to ask.

I would like to offer you a one-page cheat sheet with the seven best questions my clients and I use consistently. To get your personal copy, send an email to Nick@theprintcoach.com, and put the words ‘Seven sales questions’ in the subject line.



Nick Devine is the founder of www.theprintcoach.com, helping print, packaging, and wide-format companies create predictable sales and profit growth.



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