As you start the new year its a fantastic time to review 10 sales strategies that can help you hit the ground running, land your first sales, and build a robust pipeline of orders.

#1 Understand your value proposition

Before you talk to your first customer you must know your product to the highest extent possible, your value proposition, what is the benefit for your customer, what different presentations or configuration exists, what is the lead time for delivery, pricing, pricing flexibility, volume discounts, and more.   You must be prepared to describe your product or service from multiple angles and answer any question that your customer may have.

As you demonstrate knowledge of your product or service you will transmit confidence and earn the trust from your customers.

#2 Know your customer

Learn everything you can, what is important for your customer, what are his/her needs, challenges, where he/she excels, where he/she struggles.  The more you know about your customer the better you will be prepared to present your product or services in a way that highlights its benefits.  Also, as you get to know your customer you will be able to pick-up cues on times when you should stay close and work on the sales process, or give your customer space to focus on his/her priorities.

Competitors#3 Know your competitors

Equally important as knowing your customer is knowing your competitors, and your competitors’ products/services.  Unless you enjoy an absolute competitive advantage that positions well above than your competitors, sooner or later they will come up in your conversations with your customers.   Comparisons will start, in performance, price, and other dimensions.  In order to be able to manage every question or statement from your customer you must understand what your competitors offer, their value proposition, strengths, and weaknesses.  Remember, every sales person is also a consultant, and to be able to help your customers make the best decision you will need to be fully informed about their options.

Always be ethical and professional in learning about your competitors and their products/services, this will help you earn the respect of your customers.

#4 Know your industry

What is the latest trend in your industry? the newest technology? any game changer? what drives prices? what are the supply and demand dynamics? In order to be prepared to answer these and any other questions you must be an expert in the industry where you are operating.  Be an avid reader, research, learn, share, investigate.  Also educate your customers, become their go-to person for the most up-to-date information about the industry.  Let them know that anything they need to know they can find out by just giving you a phone call.

#5 Be a story teller

In a good way! as you present your facts draw a picture, tell a story, bring life to your pitch by incorporating elements of your customer’s application, make him/her connect the dots and see how all comes together! remember that according to experts a high percentage of communications is not what you say, is how you say it, and how you make the person feel.

Listen#6 Listen, listen, listen

We sales people have so many things to say! after becoming an expert in your product, competitors, and industry you have a wealth of knowledge to share… well, hold your horses! When your customers have something to say, let them talk, for as long as they need to… Remember that every piece of information that you obtain will help you align your proposition with your customer’s needs.   Ask questions, listen, ask more questions, listen, develop a theory, present it, test it, listen to your customer’s feedback, adjust, and present again.

Also remember that as  you develop a relationship with your customer some conversations may not always relate to work.  Well, be there for your customer, and if there is something that you can do to help, step up and help.

#7 Be a problem solver

This strategy is deeper than just solving the immediate problem, the problem why your customer is talking to you.  When your customer reaches out to you he/she may have an idea of what he/she needs and plans to work with you to achieve that goal.  As an expert, you shall recognize if your customer’s path is correct, and by purchasing your product or service he/she will indeed solve his/her problem.  In this regard, make sure that you understand the ultimate objectives of your customer, dig deep, ask questions, test, and make sure that together with your customer you both find a solution to the root cause of his/her needs.

Mile#8 Go the extra mile

When you meet with your customers and as you interact with them working around a proposal you may find out that there are other areas where your customer might need help.   These areas may very well extend beyond your area of expertise or scope of products/services provided.  When you find your customer in this situation try as much as you can to give a hand.  It could be a referral to a prior service provider, contacting someone who you think might be able to help your customer, even doing some research on his/her behalf.  Going the extra mile will not only be a nice thing to do, but will also build and strengthen your relationship with your customer.

#9 Stay close Always pick-up the phone

Have you heard about TOM? Top of Mind? be always present, be always close, in such a way that when your customer needs you he remembers you well, and how and where to contact you.  If a problem arises, be the first one he calls, if he has a question, be the first one he contacts.  Achieve this by always being within reach, by staying close either through periodic visits, calls, by sending newsletters, or by leveraging any other method.  Read our article on TOM for further information.

#10 Value your customer’s time

Time is money! both for you and your customer.  When you contact or visit your customer be mindful of his/her time.  Always ask how much time he/she has available, and stick to that time.  Is your customer in a hurry? be quick, be done, be gone!  Did something come up and your customer needs to re-schedule your appointment? be flexible! And always express your gratitude for your customer’s time.   If you follow these basic principles you will probably find out that your customer will always make time to meet with you.

 

We hope that these 10 strategies are beneficial to you.  After years selling products and services we have found that these basic fundamentals strongly help nurture relationships, develop customer loyalty, and bring more orders home.  If you have questions or comments please do not hesitate to contact us!