To run a business effectively and efficiently requires a lot of upfront effort. Efficiency demands processes, protocol, and forethought in every aspect of your business. This endeavor trolls through strategy, operations, marketing, your finances, and especially sales.
To talk you through the most effective tactics business owners should know about sales, I asked the best salesperson I know for his thoughts on how to approach sales efficiently, my husband Ben, CEO and Founder of Ben Hyman Music, a boutique agency that provides high-end music teachers to local students in their homes. When Ben started his teaching business at 19, he was not trying to build a local music education empire. (#proudwife) He merely realized, he could make more money teaching private music lessons and do something he loved than he could waiting tables at a local restaurant… and so it began. More than fifteen years and hundreds of clients later, I’m dumbfounded when I catch a glimpse of him on a call with a potential new client. He is so passionate about his business, knowledgeable about the talking points that get future customers excited, and he knows how to respond to every doubt, question, or concern without missing a beat.
Often, when I speak to successful small business owners, I discover their magic touch is they excel at sales. Sales is the heartbeat of every business, if you can’t convince a potential customer to use your product or service your business will not exist, let alone succeed. I am not one of those people. I’ve worked in sales a couple of times, and let me tell you I am not good at it at all. I really can’t sell anything. (Yes, but I work in marketing…marketing is much different than sales.) I was an O.K. cocktail waitress in college and made decent sales every evening, (It was more what I was selling, not that I was particularly good at selling it.) and I was definitely horrible at selling gym memberships for that one-month stint when I was twenty three.
Whenever we talk about his life and the irregular path he took, I always tell him that in any other life he would be in sales. After all, sales is how he built his business from one instrument and a single teacher to a successful agency with multiple instruments, teachers, and performance programs.
Here are the three sales tactics you should master to increase your sales effectiveness.
- Believe in What You’re Selling: For business owners, this isn’t too big of an ask because we are intrinsically devoted to and passionate about our own businesses. “I have an easy time selling my business because I truly believe that we are the best and that what we provide is unparalleled in excellence,” he said. “I know that if given a chance, we will earn the customer’s business for years to come.”
- Scarcity Principle: “Many of my services are limited, and so I encourage my clients, and/or potential clients to be decisive,” he continued “Otherwise, I have to move on and sell the services to another client, and they may not be available to the first client by the time they get back to me.” Using scarcity is a little different if you sell products rather than a service, but you can apply this method using the concept of promotional pricing or if you have a limited number of items in stock.
- Make the Experience Enjoyable for the Customer: “When I’m on the phone with a client, I give them my undivided attention. I ask questions so I can learn about them, and then try to swing the casual talk towards subjects that they are familiar with and enjoy talking about. Almost every conversation that I have a with a potential client ends with ‘Thank you so much for giving me your time, I really enjoyed speaking with you.’ Even if I don’t make the sale, I have secured an image in the client’s mind about my brand, and the quality of my services. You never know when that can turn into a referral or a potential client down the line. One of the biggest compliments that we get in our business is when someone who isn’t even a client refers us with the same confidence that our existing clients do, solely based on either an interaction with us or feedback from our existing clients,” he said.
If you’re a one (wo)man show or you have a team of sales agents, incorporating these three sales principles will allow you to have stronger, more efficient sales conversations. The more effective your conversations are, the fewer calls you’ll need to make and after all, better results with less effort is the true definition of efficiency.
Do you use any other sales tactics that worked for your business?