For most small businesses with a complex sale the greatest challenges lie in the generation of quality leads and the conversion of those prospects into highly valuable and paying customers.
There is a lot said about sales and marketing, some may say too much. It can be difficult to know which activity to undertake, how to act and, ultimately, how to promote yourself and your business. Today we live in a world of oversupply where both consumers and businesses are subject to more information and choices than ever before. As a result your competition is more than just those supplying similar services and/or products.
To ensure the maximum opportunity of success there are 5 commercial myths that need to be recognized and dispelled.
1. Always Be Closing – A fresh faced Alec Baldwin in Glengarry Glen Ross stood in front of a sales team and laid the law of sales fundamentals. For years businesses and sales professionals worked under the pretense that “A – Always, B – Be, C – Closing” was the route to success. This meaning that in every situation and every circumstance a sale would present itself if you were always on the lookout for it. This is a myth.
This is not to say that a strong, clear call to action in your marketing and the need to ask for the sale is incorrect. This is to say that building relationships and adding value is actually a proven key to success in a world of oversupply. Try to take an approach of ‘Always Be Listening’ which is to understand what your audience really needs and wants.
2. Use anything that works – The myth of ‘using anything that works’ needs to go. It is saying that you won’t stop at anything to close the business and get customers. Do you think that lies and deceit are the foundation of a successful sustainable business? I thought not. Start as you mean to go on and encourage customers to sign with you based on providing a result to a challenge or need they have.
3. Keep things on track – This is the principal of working on your terms and your agenda thinking that there is a ‘one fits all’ solution to getting more customers. This is a myth as every person and every business is unique and they will make decisions to purchase differently.
Whether you rely on web generated sales or personal contact the best way to generate revenue is to appease your prospects decision making process. Ask yourself, how can I make it easier for them?
4. Do more ‘stuff’ – Sales is a tactical game and marketing is an art. The myth of undertaking more activity, effectively ‘knocking on more doors’ is both misleading and potentially costly. Why spend hundreds/thousands of dollars on advertising if the message does not resonate with your audience or is in the wrong channels? Likewise, why call hundreds of people a day if you are asking the wrong questions to the wrong people?
It is often best practice to start small, test the activity, measure the results and then ramp up the activity from there in a strategic and planned manner.
5. Sell features –Oftentimes websites, adverts and sales people are full of feature lists and sweeping statements. This is due to the myth that promoting features will win the competitive race. This is effectively saying ‘look at what I can do’. The question needs to be, ‘how can I help?’.
Selling features will more often than not leave the prospective customer thinking, ‘so what?’. If you are able to align a message that illustrates how you benefit them in line with their needs and desires you will be giving yourself a greater opportunity to succeed.
If you are aware of these 5 myths you will be firmly on the way to increasing sales in this world of oversupply. It was never meant to be easy to raise the top-line however, struggle is sometimes essential to life.
Have you had any experiences as a customer from businesses practicing one or more of these myths? How do you think you can apply these tips to your work moving forward?