There’s a very simple reason why sales are so important where small business growth is concerned: sales generate revenue! No matter what industry you’re in, you won’t be in it for long if you don’t have a steady source of income.
Business owners often get side-tracked by the notion of perfecting the product they’re selling. In fact, some entrepreneurs get so caught up that they forget to engage with the market they’re targeting! Selling may be just a simple conversation between you and your customers, but with the fate of your sales in their hands, listening to those customers is key.
How Your Business Culture Drives Sales
Every element of your workplace culture, every positive customer experience it creates, finds its way into your revenue stream eventually. That means all your team members - from front desk to back office – are pivotal in generating income. In fact, the moment a prospect feels heard and acknowledged, the journey toward a sale has begun!
So how do you bring out the best in your staff and create memorable customer encounters? By establishing a foundation of genuine communication that hinges on respect for your work force.
Creating a business environment that makes it clear your personnel are valued is essential. And according to Forbes, that means:
- supporting your employees as real people with lives, and
- truly “living” your company’s mission statement
When your employees are treated in a way that makes them WANT to come to work every day, that attitude rubs off on your customers. Happy employees translate into happy clients. And that can lead to more referrals, and bigger and more frequent sales.
Stop, Listen, Sell
There are other ways to engage your customers beyond the feel-good interactions you create with your team. Consider adopting strategies that allow you to reach out, appreciate, and connect authentically with prospects and clients alike. Your tactics can include:
- inviting comments and feedback through online surveys and email messaging,
- making quick tips, opinion polls, fun facts, and more available on your website or social media accounts, and
- offering rewards programs, appreciation events, spontaneous discounts, and client referral incentives
Improving your sales can often be as simple as listening to your customer and investing in their needs.
Gone are the days when selling meant a whole lot of talk on the part of a sales rep. In fact, research suggests that your clients should be doing at least 80% of the talking, most of the time! Listening IS the new selling. And successful entrepreneurs understand that less talk leads to more sales.
Today’s market is not only well-informed, an unprecedented level of competition gives your prospects a great deal of control. Most come armed with a set of challenges, goals, and a budget they expect your business to meet. Specifically, potential clients want products or services that:
- directly address their problem or pain point,
- offer a convenient solution, and
- allow them to achieve their objective at a price that makes sense to them
You can learn a lot about attracting more sales when you actively listen to what people want. But to transform that education into dollars and cents, you’ve got to adjust based on the answers you hear.
A Word About Agility
As an entrepreneur, hard work and persistence are key. But remaining flexible in your thinking is just as important - and it’s something even the biggest companies sometimes forget. Many experts believe that a lack of agility is what prevented Blockbuster from evolving into Netflix, and caused Kodak to blow its chance to rule digital photography.
Think your product or service is a slam-dunk because it’s better quality than others or more cost-effective?
That’s a great place to start, and it may take you far. But the reality is that even the most beneficial products are pointless if nobody buys them. Staying agile is about staying objective. And that means distancing yourself enough from what you’re selling to respond to what the market is telling you.
Dedicating the bulk of your business resources to sales makes sense given the ongoing need for revenue. Your resource allocation could include:
- hiring the best sales-people,
- cultivating a business team that’s intrinsically motivated, or
- bringing a proven partner into the fold
But a large part of your success will stem from offering something customers aren’t getting elsewhere - and figuring out the best way to sell it.
So by all means - get inspired by the knowledge that building a better mousetrap will have the world beating a path to your door. But remember that sales skills let you open that door and engage in a meaningful conversation.