Learn how to get more customers to say “yes” during your selling interactions
Sales are what make or break your business – but unless you’re a natural at selling, the process can be intimidating.
Even experienced salespeople trip up at some point between that initial conversation and closing the deal. Often one or two small changes to your approach can make a huge difference in your success rate.
Use these suggestions to improve your close rate.
1. Make a great first impression
It’s easy to make a great first impression – it’s also easy to blow it.
Show up to the sales appointment on time.
Be prepared with any materials and samples.
Research in advance as much as you can about the customer and his or her company.
Identify the customer’s need for your product – why should they buy from you?
Rehearse responses to customer questions.
Your customer forms an impression before they even meet you. The customer will likely visit your website, check out your LinkedIn profile and see what you say and share on social media before meeting or talking with you. Make sure all of your marketing materials make you shine.
2. Slow down
The goal of each sales conversation is getting to a close, but nothing scares a prospect away faster than pressure or desperation.
Keep in mind that most buyers won't commit to a purchase the first time you speak. It can take numerous customer interactions before the customer is ready to proceed, so slow down and focus on being helpful.
3. Focus clearly on benefits relevant to the buyer
If you believe in your product or service you're well on your way to being successful in sales. But if you get too wrapped up in talking about everything your gadget can do then you're missing the mark.
Buyers need to know exactly how your product or service can help solve their particular problem or make life more enjoyable. How does your product satisfy their need or want? Make sure you know exactly what their particular need or what is before you address it.
4. Don’t worry about your price being too high
Buyers want value more than they want low price, so don't get caught up worrying that your pricing is choking sales.
Instead focus on whether you've made it easy for your customers to understand the value of your offering. Talk about things like product quality, satisfied past customers, product or service performance, industry reputation, money-back guarantee, support services and the availability of your own expertise.
5. Make next steps very easy
When you feel a conversation naturally coming to a close, are you ready with the next step toward purchase?
The next step may be to connect by email, call next week, send some more information, share customer references, talk about delivery times or start dates, complete a work order, prepare a contract, or take payment.
The key to successful selling is really about listening to the customer to understand what they want. If you listen more than you talk, you’ll likely close plenty of future sales.
Boost your retweets with engaging content and a solid twitter strategy
If you're already on Twitter you know what a great tool it is for building your brand, networking and connecting with customers.
But for most small business owners, social media poses a time challenge: How can you reliably write and post shareable content?
While there isn't a formula for the perfect tweet, there are some definite no-no's you should avoid. Getting too personal, promotional or pushing the sale are obvious turn-offs. Not being personal enough can make it look like a robot is composing your tweets. Finding a balance is important, and always being positive and helpful is essential.
A great guideline when tweeting is to remember why people use Twitter. Most people are not necessarily being strategic about it. They're using it to pass the time. A funny video, inspiring quote or a comment on a trending story are likely to get shared more often than company news or what you did on the weekend.
Here are a few tips for writing tweets that will make the social media rounds.
Before you tweet, check what's trending on your Home, Connect, Discover and Me tabs in the left hand column of your page. Then answer a question, link to an interesting article, offer a solution, point to a valuable resource or share a quote on the hot topic of the day.
Ask a question
The great thing about Twitter is that your followers may be strangers, but many will be willing to reply when you need information – and spread the word for you with a retweet (RT).
Let your followers know you're looking for a solution to a problem. If you're looking for a virtual assistant, accountant or legal expert, ask for a referral. Request a recommendation for the best Thai restaurant in your area for an upcoming customer meeting. You may be surprised by the number of responses you'll get to a simple question or request for help.
Promote an event
If you plan to attend an upcoming trade show, conference or workshop, why not spread the word? List a clear benefit at the beginning of your tweet. For example:
- “Hoping to generate more leads for my business at this year's XYZ workshop”.
- “Can’t wait to learn how to increase sales. Join me at the XYZ conference before it sells out!”
Promoting someone else's events may attract the attention of the event organizer and earn you a retweet.
Share tweets Retweeting shows that you're not on Twitter just to broadcast your own news. You're there to be social and helpful, and ready to provide great content from a variety of sources. A RT is a show of appreciation for someone else's efforts to make Twitter a great place to hang out.
Don't underestimate the power of a retweet for building relationships. You never know when your kind turn will result in someone else returning the favour.
The best rule of thumb for writing shareable tweets is to think of Twitter as a party. Make your 140 character contribution to the conversation topical, amusing or helpful to someone else in the room and you can't go wrong.
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Use these suggestions to keep more money coming into your business than going out
Cash flow is a serious issue for entrepreneurs and can be a source of significant personal stress.
There is plenty of advice on how to improve your business cash flow but not all of it will be applicable to your situation. In many cases your business may only require a cash-flow tune-up in one of the following areas.
1. Speed up receivables
How quickly your customers pay and how you manage outstanding invoices is one of the biggest factors determining the strength of your cash flow. Have you let this area of cash flow management slip? Try any of these tactics to get your money quickly:
- Ask for payment upfront.
- Accept credit cards. There are plenty of options online, and most accounting software features a payments option.
- Invoice right away, with short payment terms. Ask for payment in 10 days instead of 30.
- Stay on top of receivables. Make it a habit to check the age of your receivables daily so you can take action.
2. Stretch payables
Did you know your cash flow is affected by how you pay your bills, when you pay them and how much you owe your suppliers? Keep more money in your business for longer periods of time by:
- Negotiating a longer payment period with your suppliers.
- Asking for a discount from your suppliers if you pay quickly (if you have excess cash).
- Paying a portion of an invoice and the balance in 30 or 60 days.
- Using a credit card to pay bills. When used wisely, credits cards can provide an effective short-term interest-free loan that can ease a temporary cash flow crunch.
3. Improve inventory management
If you think your problems are inventory-related it may be time to evaluate your current inventory management system.
- How often is your inventory turning over? You may need to adjust prices and/or reduce future orders.
- Are you running out of best-selling items? It deprives your business of cash from sales.
- Get rid of stale inventory. Hold a sale to move old inventory so you can invest in stock that turns over more frequently.
Accounting software can make inventory management easier, so you might want to consider investing in an affordable program.
4. Make a cash flow strategy
Don’t have a plan to manage your cash flow? You may not have any cash flow issues at the moment, but without a cash flow strategy to help keep you on track you could run into problems in the future.
Search online for a free cash flow forecast template and take the time to fill it in. Update it weekly or monthly. A cash flow template will let you see how much money is coming in from all sources and how much money is flowing out to pay various expenses. It will let you see how much cash surplus or shortage your business may encounter in any given week or month. By completing a cash flow forecast you’ll be in a position today to spot future cash flow problems so you can take corrective action.
Insufficient cash flow can kill any small business. Make it your personal responsibility to actively monitor cash flow so you can avoid a money crisis and plan ahead with confidence.