4 Tips to Improve Your Sales Scheme in 2014
Mon, 05/19/2014 - 2:28pm | by JaredJ
A new year means a new chance for your business to shore up its weakness, develop some new strengths, and just generally get everything in line with how it should be. And, if you’re like most companies, the number-one spot where you’d like to see some improvement is in sales.
Sales is the foundation on which most any business is built. However, despite the universal necessity of sales, far too many organizations are refusing to adapt their sales approach to the new market. They cling to outmoded tactics and ideas, and their overall revenue suffers for it. So, in the spirit of New Year’s resolution, here are four changes to make to your sales approach in 2014.
1. Give your company a face
There was a time when it was the company, not the people who work inside of it, that mattered. Those times have passed. Today’s customer is generally distrusting of large, faceless organizations. Instead, they prefer to deal one-on-one with individuals. This means that no longer will your employees be able to work behind the shadow of your brand; they’ll need to be willing and able to step forward and demonstrate their own expertise and ability. Publishing articles, contributing to a company blog, speaking at conferences, and any number of other public exposure opportunities will create a bridge between your company and your customers, and give the consumer someone to identify with and trust.
2. Ditch the pitch
When all is said and done, sales is about coming to an agreement. Once upon a time, the best way to forge that agreement was to create an unbeatable sales pitch. By keeping the customer off balance, one could literally fast-talk their way into a sale. However, not only is this approach dishonest, and—over time—damaging to your brand, it also doesn’t really work like it used to. Generations of pushy salespeople have resulted in a public that is instantly distrustful of anyone who is trying to sell something, and most customers will err on the side of caution rather than risk being taken for a patsy. So ditch your pitch, and instead create a conversation. Perhaps most importantly, be sure that you understand and value your product or service, so that while you are conversing with your customer, you can help them understand the importance of what you are offering. Above all, don’t be too pushy. Getting a sale isn’t worth losing a customer.
3. Invest in customer relationship management
To stay competitive in today’s market, you need to be able to handle massive amounts of customer data. From past sales to personal notes about conversations, every little bit of information that you have relating to your customers is valuable, and should be properly organized and analyzed. It will also need to be accessible by anyone who needs it, and the old file cabinet stuffed with handwritten papers just isn’t going to cut it anymore. Instead, invest in a customer relationship management system. There are many and you should check out the reviews but a customer relationship management system will allow you to keep track of everything you need, and get the most out of what you have.
4. Perfect your followup
Every now and again you’ll find a customer who is ready to purchase after only one encounter, but that’s become more of an exception than a rule. Generally, it takes several contacts before a sale becomes finalized. Those who give up after only one or two tries are finding that their success rates are taking a hit. On the other hand, even those who are great at touching base with prospective customers are generally still stuck in the 20th century mindset—they pick up a phone and make a call. And although a well timed phone-call can do wonders, today’s customer has come to expect more digital interaction in the form of useful content provided over social networking sites. The added bonus here is that it will allow you to follow-up on multiple clients at once, focusing in on those with greater potential while not completely letting go of the others.
And there you have it. Yes, 2014 is a new year with new rules for sales, but those who adapt and thrive will see that there’s nothing wrong with a little change.