Sales and marketing

The 10 keys to boosting your sales

Andrew Sadauskas /

Over the past couple of months, Old Taskmaster has been running a series of columns looking at the key steps you need to take to boost your sales.

 

Now it’s time for you to pull the whole sales process together. If you want to know more about any of these steps, make sure you click the links.

 

Whether you work in retail, business-to-business or over the phone sales, here are 10 key tips that can grow the sales at your start-up:

 

1. Don’t be a pushy salesperson or a passive order taker

 

There’s one thing your customers hate more than a pushy, high-pressure salesperson. That’s a pushover who passively takes an order without sparing the time to serve the customer or guide them to a product that truly fulfils their needs.

 

Thankfully, there is another option. Through a mix of asking the right questions and your expert product knowledge, you can guide your consumer to the right purchase for them. This customer service approach is what you should aim for, and your customers will reward you with a lifetime of loyalty in appreciation.

 

2. Opening statements and lead-in questions

 

First impressions matter, which is why you need a strong opening statement and lead-in question (OSLIQ).

 

Your opening statement should be a single sentence introduction to your business and greeting. Like an elevator pitch, basically, but even more pithy.

 

Your lead-in question should be a yes or no question to gain the customer’s approval to continue the sales conversation. If your potential customer says yes to your lead-in question, it’s time to progress to your discovery questions.

 

You will be amazed at how big a difference you can make just by getting your sales conversation off to a good start.

 

3. Ask discovery questions

 

Having gained the customer’s approval in your OSLIQ, it’s time to move on to perhaps the most important stage – your discovery questions.

 

It’s important to remember there are two types of discovery questions you can ask your potential customers. The first is a ‘closed-ended question’ which can be answered with either a choice between a limited number of options, including a simple ‘yes or no’ answer.

 

“Do you want to buy this particular model of widget?” is an example of a closed-ended question. “Do you prefer it in black or purple?” is another example.

 

All other questions – those that can’t be dealt with in just a couple of words – are called open-ended questions. “What industry are you in?”, “What level of growth are you expecting in your industry over the next 12 months?” or “What is your favourite colour?” are all examples of open-ended questions.

 

You need a string of good open-ended ‘discovery’ questions to help you determine exactly what it is your customer is after. The answers you get will inform what product you pitch to them and how.

 

4. Don’t feature bash

 

It’s now time to pitch your product. But whatever you do, don’t bore them by listing off all the features and specifications of your product.

 

Sure, your product might have more gigabytes that the competition’s. But unless there’s a clear benefit to your customer that you can easily explain, they don’t care!

 

Instead, make sure your pitch is tailor-made to the customer needs you found out about in your discovery questions. Point out a key feature of your product, and then explain how they will benefit from it.

 

5. Present your value proposition

 

Don’t try to sell your product on price. Instead, sell the benefit your customer will gain from your product. That means selling the benefit of a cool refreshing portable beverage, not a bottle of tap water. The value your customer gets from a product comes from the benefit they get from it divided by the price, so present your product accordingly.

 

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Andrew Sadauskas

Andrew Sadauskas is a former journalist at SmartCompany and a former editor of TechCompany.

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