By Jeremiah Buabeng
The importance of sales to a business cannot be overemphasized. If your business is a human body, sales is your blood. If it is a car, sales is your engine. You need consistent sales to ensure the survival and prosperity of your business. I made this abundantly clear in my recent article on The Most Important Job of a Business. You really should read it.
I emphasize this to every business I consult for; a business is nothing without sales and you must be intentional about ensuring that you obtain repeated sales. A good sales strategy must be in place. The word strategy can sometimes create an image of sophistication or even complication. But getting your sales right can be quite simple. There are simple yet effective tactics that a business can implement to ensure that it is maximizing its sales opportunities as much as possible. Here are a few of them:
Effective Management of Inbound Calls
When a potential customer calls your business, don’t assume she has already made up her mind to do business with you. Very often, she is testing the waters, trying to find out who to do business with based on the value proposition she is offered. Sometimes, she is comparing prices to see which business offers the best deal. How can your business take advantage of this?
∆ Be A Salesperson When You Receive Calls: Pitch your product or service to the caller and persuade her to buy. Sell the value you have to offer to her. Share the features and benefits of your product or service. Don’t get complacent and take the call lightly and assume that since she is calling you then she already knows your business and the quality and variety of products you have on offer. Even if they do, they must hear the pitch from the horse’s own mouth. “Good beads don’t talk” is not a business principle. How you handle your inbound calls will influence caller’s decision to buy from you or not.
∆ Prepare A Pitch Ahead of Time: In order to do the above effectively, prepare a pitch ahead of time on how you will persuade people who call you to buy. Create a very solid pitch and offer a unique selling proposition. Give them a reason why they should buy from you. I have found that consultative selling where you serve as a resource person for the buyer and share with them ideas to improve what they are doing, the various options they can consider and guide them to achieve their goals is very effective for selling. It shows the prospective customer that you are an expert at what you do and can help them with an effective solution. Your posture as an entrepreneur or salesperson should be as a consultant who enables your customers to accomplish their vision. It works.
∆ Develop Creative and Attractive Marketing Collaterals: Marketing collaterals are the collection of media that you use to support your sales effort. They could be brochures, briefs, web site, promotional images, product information etc. These tools are powerful. They present the brand of your business to the customer and must be taken seriously. Design a beautiful and creative brochure or brief of your products and services that you can send to clients via email or WhatsApp. Creatively designed and well-presented collaterals persuade customers about the strength of your business and what you can do for them. Avoid bad grammar, typos and poor design work. My firm Buabeng Communications can help you with that. It will serve you well if right after a call, you send a brochure, brief, or images of your services to the prospect. It can excite interest.
∆ Learn How to Deal with Objections: Objections are normal. People will sometimes make excuses not to buy. Don’t give up on pursuing a prospect merely because they have said No. Don’t take No for an answer. Based on the kind of objections people make, always find apt responses to counter and make your sale. You can do some research online on how to handle objections and improve your selling skills.
∆ Record Names and Contacts of In-bound Callers: the name and contact information of every person who calls your business must be recorded. Have a notebook or dedicated file on your computer for this purpose. Recording such information is necessary so you can follow up later and close the sale.
The Power of Follow-ups
Why is following up important? Many people who call your business don’t even save your number. I’ve been there, done that, got the t-shirt. Many times, I have followed up on people who called to do business and they don’t even remember me. They promised to call back to make a purchase yet they didn’t even save my number. What would have happened if I hadn’t followed up? Zero sale! Every entrepreneur or salesperson must be a king of follow-ups. Always call and follow up on people who call to do business.
Prospective customers often have many options. You are just one of them. You must persist and win the sale. Sometimes, they don’t call back because of your price. So on your follow up call, you can tactfully give them a discount and close the sale. Sometimes, your price is okay but they don’t like your payment terms. You can offer them flexible payment terms and close the sale. Kindly note that a single follow-up call may not always do the magic. Sometimes, you have to persistently pursue a client for a year or more in order to get them to do business with you.
If you sell a service or product or you run a business, but you are too shy or too self-respecting so you don’t follow up on prospective customers because you don’t want to appear overly pushy or beggarly, you will be broke. Sales or entrepreneurship cannot survive in a spirit of shyness or timidity. Your money is in people’s pockets; you have to go for it.
Jeremiah Buabeng is an entrepreneur, consultant, trainer, professional speaker, and author. He has trained and/or addressed organizations including Databank, Olam Ghana, Accra City Hotel (Novotel), Vaniado, Letshego, Lesedi Foundation, Axis Suites, Oasis Montessori, Healthstar Group, Lekma Polyclinic, and many more. Jeremiah is a regular resource person at conferences, churches, universities, radio, and television programmes. He can be reached at email@example.com.