Tuesday, August 23, 2011

10 Strategies to Boost Sales

by Julie Steelman
Adapted from her new book, "The Effortless Yes"

Dear Readers: Whether we're technically in "Sales" or not, we're always selling. Sometimes it's just selling an idea to a friend which has very low stakes and sometimes it's selling our product or service and the stakes are a bit higher. So for this post, I asked a friend of mine,  a real sales expert, to share some tips about boosting our sales results. Enjoy - Robyn

Want to know the real reason small businesses fail? It's because entrepreneurs--particularly women--are allergic to selling. They hate selling, fear selling, or find it distasteful or disingenuous. As a result, their revenues stay flat or decline over time.

But there's an easy and effective way to cure "selling allergy." There's a way to make selling both enjoyable and profitable. Here are 10 strategies to get you started:

Be enthusiastic and passionate.
If you don't love your products and services enough to tell people about them with enthusiasm, passion, and heart, who will? More sales are made with unbridled enthusiasm than with fancy strategies. If you're deeply in love with what you're selling, your emotions will be contagious.

Be inspirational and heartfelt.
Communicate unwavering faith in the tremendous value you have for your customers. First, recall your own "aha" moment, and then share stories about how you and others were transformed as a result of using your products or services. Believe in your valuable offerings and you'll motivate buyers to do the same.

Be helpful, caring, and service-oriented.
Selling with heart means confidently believing in your immense talent to help others. Start by educating your customers on how you can help them solve a problem, get more of what they want, and feel better about themselves. Think about how you can best take care of their needs.

Understand the buyer.
Understanding how buyers make decisions is essential to becoming comfortable (and confident) with selling. Buyers go through several stages before they know they can trust you and are ready to buy: awareness--noticing what they want; education--gathering information; and interest--asking questions about you (to find out if you're trustworthy). Each time they pass to the next stage, their desire to buy increases.

Claim your sweet spot.
Your sweet spot is the thing you have become known for, and lies at the intersection of your expertise, talent, and knowledge. It's what you love most about yourself and your business. Carefully craft a unique message that communicates your sweet spot--one that appeals to their head, by conveying what they will get by working with you, and to their heart, by showing them the emotional boost they'll get from using your products or services.

Avoid three common sales mistakes.
The three most common mistakes salespeople make are: (1) focusing on the product details rather than on the customer's emotions; (2) delivering the entire sales story in one big run-on monologue; and (3) trying to use charm and charisma to seduce the customer into a sale. Instead, stay in the moment, listen to them, help them enjoy the sales process, and always focus on how you can take care of their needs.

Craft an irresistible pitch.
Give your customer a clear, concise explanation of what you do best and how it will benefit them. Deliver an honest statement about why you care about helping them. Ask a smart, intriguing question that pulls them into conversation. And use language that appeals to your ideal customer, engaging their head and their heart.

Be smart with social media.
Extend your desire to serve others and provide value into the social media world. Blogging, vlogging, and podcasting are fine, but they're communications that only go one way. In addition, host events, chats, and conversations that not only engage, but enrich and serve your audience's needs. Provide priceless guidance and expertise. Project an online personality that's as genuine, caring, enthusiastic, and trustworthy as you are in person.

Nix the cold call.
Don't ever make a "cold" call again. Here's how. Make a list of the top 5 to 10 customers with whom you want to do business. Research them thoroughly, read their website, and find something about them to which you can relate. Put yourself in their shoes, and write down what you think their top challenges are, based on what you know, and how your offerings could help them. Then craft an opening line based on that information. When you call them, everything you say should be about why your companies have great synergy and should explain what you can do for them.

Overcome Objections.
Customers only object when they're considering buying from you. Find out what's holding them up so you can help them resolve their decision-making challenge: e.g., their resistance to change; confusion or misunderstanding about the value; a need for someone else's input or approval (a spouse, a partner); or simply a need to take a bit more time making up their mind. Just as you would with a friend, take a leadership role and show interest in what's bothering them, and then make an honorable attempt to help them get beyond it.

Julie Steelman has generated more than $100 million in sales during her 30-year sales career using her unique "heart-based" selling approach. She is author of a new book, The Effortless Yes: Get the Sales You Want and Make All You'll Ever Need (Franklin-Green Publishing, 2011, , featuring a 7-step approach that helps sales-averse entrepreneurs create profits by learning a new way to sell that's pleasurable and easy.

Julie Steelman

Sales Success & Business Bankability Mentor

Available Now on Amazon: The Effortless Yes! Get The Sales You Want & Make All You'll Ever Need

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