Identify your customers' individual needs and prove your value.
Regardless of what line of business you are in, your company is unlikely to flourish if youcan't drive strong sales. But where do you turn when your best tried-and-true sales methodsare leaving you cold? How do you convince potential customers that your product is the one they've been looking for?
Below, six entrepreneurs share their best out-of-the-box techniques to close the deal and keep clients coming back time and again.
Pick up the phone.
"People are flooded with emails; they don't need another one. Yet so many sales people start with -- and stick with -- email as a preferred method of contact," says Matthew Bernard, president and CEO of commercial and consumer sharpening product maker Darex LLC. Email may be convenient, but are you really giving your customers a personal touch? Sometimes it's worth the extra time it takes to dial back the technology and reach out with a direct call.
"In our business, a large majority of business comes from companies we have worked with before. It never ceases to amaze me how much further we get with sales when we stop emailing, pick up the phone and have a conversation," Bernard says.
Personalization is everything.
Potential clients are unlikely to be impressed if they feel like they're just a number -- one of thousands you are spamming with promotional materials. That's why Arian Radmand, CEO and president of photo printing and delivery service TurnGram, prioritizes personalization when trying to land a deal.
"Without a human element and personalization, your outreach is guaranteed to fail," he says. "Our business helps other companies accelerate sales and revenue by increasing the effectiveness of their team's outreach. We do this by delivering personalized physical outreach on a regular basis to set them apart from other providers competing for their customers' attention."
Sell by teaching.
Do your customers trust that you know your own offerings and understand how your solution could work for them? Justin Faerman, co-founder and editor-in-chief of Conscious Lifestyle Magazine, says, "It is well known that people buy from those whom they know, like and trust, and there is no better way to establish these things than by teaching and demonstrating deep knowledge and expertise in your field."
"If you can help someone have a breakthrough or experience benefit from what you teach before asking for any kind of sale, it exponentially increases the likelihood that they will purchase from you," adds Faerman.
Set realistic expectations.
When it comes to building trust with clients, don't wait until after the sale is closed. Kristopher Jones, founder and CEO of digital marketing agency LSEO.com, recommends being straight with prospects about how your product is likely to work for them.
"It's important to be upfront with clients and set the right expectations," says Jones. "We tell clients flat out that SEO is a long-term strategy without immediate results. We will not get them to number one for that broad-tail term -- and no one ever will. Rather, we provide higher level strategies that work for their sites and business objectives."
Turn your users into salespeople.
"The overwhelming majority of our sales come indirectly. We have been able to increase word-of-mouth sales by placing an emphasis on our customers," says Zohar Steinberg, founder and CEO of payments security company token payments. After all, who can better express the value of your offerings than those who are already happy customers?
"Things like personalized customer service can go a long way toward improving the user experience, in turn making them more likely to promote you to friends and family," adds Steinberg.
Get a product in their hands.
If a potential client is still dragging their feet, a great option is to put your product directly in front of them to let them experience the perks first hand. "Not only do they get to see how it works, sales psychology backs it up as a strong tactic that creates a feeling of ownership," says Andy Karuza, founder of smart wireless parking sensor maker FenSens.
He adds, "It acts as a form of commitment from them, which is another very strong psychological trigger that makes people feel committed to at least giving you a solid reason not to buy."
By Young Entrepreneur Council