Norfolks Voice

The Art of Sales

I meet a lot of entrepreneurs and business owners. Some are at the idea stage and some may be long in the tooth in business. 

But what many of them do not understand fully is; what they sell. 

Personally, I sell products as all things can be boxed this way. If you are a plumber you are providing a service but if you think by the hourly rate you can sell time as a product or a boiler service etc. People understand products as they have a price as opposed to a service which may not have a fixed price, so make sure you do this as often as you can. 

Sounds simple doesn't it? I have advised numerous new ventures at idea stage that before they start choosing brands and developing websites, business cards and touring offices they should spend some good solid time on their exact proposition. Who will be the client and as importantly why should they buy from you. 

At start point you need to understand your product in very finite detail as if you don't your client never will and why should they? What exactly does your product do for the client? And yes it is exactly and not generic. For instance there are lots of emotive reasons why we buy certain types of cars but the core reason and benefit is for the method of travel that they allow us. We want to get from A to B. That is the core benefit of a car.

They have lots of features and advantages that add weight to the buyer journey without doubt and will also preference one over another but if they did not move the features are pretty pointless. It is this we buy. You must think of what you sell in the same way. What does it really do?

Your job is to sell it to them not for them to have to work hard to understand it. Like buses another one will be along soon

Too many start ups miss this very important point. I find too that some advice centres and business coaches and mentors do too as they have never sold so therefore don't understand the importance. If you cannot sell you will not succeed.

Now you get what it is you have made, invented or developed you need to now understand fully who will buy it and why would they buy it. What is it that this provides that they need or want. Remember too we are all selfish and lazy so you need to know the features and advantages of what it is but it is the benefit that sells it. What does it do for your client, save time, money, improve their life. This is what will cause an action to purchase in them. 

You will also need to consider how you sell it and market your product. This can be directly via mail order, the internet, advertising and employed sales people. Will you sell direct to the consumer or via a wholesaler or 3rd party such as a retail outlet. Are the customers you serve other business (B2B) or direct to the consumer (B2C)

Going forwards don't forget some simple tasks like ask for the order. Often overlooked. And keep asking and keep telling clients what else you sell that they might buy. The easiest sell is to someone you have already sold to yet too many companies spend all their time searching out new unconnected clients rather than repeat or upsell to the existing. 

There is also networking and alongside choosing your event wisely you should not expect to sell at an event. Take the time to build relationships and carry the chat onwards to another day when the pitch mentality can settle in effectively. We are all excited about what we do, well we should be anyway, and can tend to sell before we listen. Nobody wants to be sold something they don’t need or pitched at over the canapes.

The relationship needs to develop first so ensure that first chat is a get to know them session and then, and only then, can you look to take the conversation forwards to the solving the problem part.

Sales and selling can be easy to get wrong. However get it right and you succeed and time has proven that repeatedly. People need things all the time and you only need to find them and provide the solution they are so eagerly searching for.

Brian is a Business Growth Specialist and works with organisations across the public and private sector helping them to increase their sales and market share. If you think he could help you then please get in touch as a discovery chat is free.