Selling there really is nothing to fear
Whatever business you’re planning to start – be it to sell a product or offer a service, you’re going to have to be able to sell because if you are to survive and succeed, your business will have to compete with other companies. The only way to truly beat the competition isn’t to undercut or outdo them; it’s to outsell them.
You don’t have to be a sales expert to sell
An expert is often described as ‘someone from out of town carrying a briefcase.’ Nowhere is this truer regarding the perceived mystery and magic surrounding successful salespeople. All sorts of misconceptions abound, with many people believing that if you haven’t got the ‘gift of the gab’ or a ‘killer instinct,’ then you won’t possibly be able to sell anything.
What is the most powerful sales technique in the world?
Some salespeople will never grasp this because it’s so simple. The most powerful selling technique in the world is to ask for the order. That’s it. No expertise or killer instinct is required. The most successful and straightforward sales strategy that you can employ in your business is to say to someone, ‘Would you like to buy it?’ Of course, there are many different ways you can ask potential customers to buy whatever you’re selling, but the question remains the same.
People buy benefits, not features
Believed to be the first rule in marketing, the ‘people buy benefits not features’ mantra is at the heart of every advertisement you’re ever likely to encounter. To sell anything to anyone, you must understand this concept and appreciate that if you’re adhering to this rule in your face-to-face sales presentation, brochures, or website information, the chances of your sales being anything less than average are significantly reduced.
Selling is all about benefits.
The reality is that we don’t buy things because of features; we believe because of the benefits that come with owning a particular product or service. For example, one of my businesses is running a gardening maintenance company. Many of my clients lead busy professional lives, which means ‘time poor.’ All of them want to enjoy a lovely relaxing garden to unwind in without having to spend all of their free time cutting lawns, weeding borders, trimming hedges, and so on.
Putting your sales message together
The way to construct your sales message is to highlight the features first, followed by all the benefits. Start looking at as many advertisements as you can. The glossy magazines that come with weekend newspapers are handy as they usually contain a lot of imaginative ads, often with the ‘benefit message’ innovatively hidden within the message. We can learn lots from looking at how other businesses market their products. Get into the habit of either cutting out advertisements and keeping them in a file or writing down the advertising message and keeping it in your notebook. Then when the time comes to write your ads, you can browse through your file for inspiration.
But not everyone buys the same benefit!
We all have different reasons for buying anything. Take, for example, someone purchasing a flight ticket. Unless it’s a holiday charter airline, the people buying a seat on a flight will have different needs. Some will be traveling on business, others holidaying, and others want to travel as cheaply as possible.
Look at what you’re proposing to sell
Whatever you’re planning to sell, start by listing all its features and then work on the benefits. Be imaginative here. Many of the benefits may not be immediately apparent to you even though it’s your product or service. Start by seeing whatever it is you are selling from different perspectives.
Your findings This exercise shows you that although you made an initial choice where to buy your item, there are other places you could buy it. In business, these other outlets are called competitors, and to survive and compete with our competitors; we must be able to offer would-be customers a reason to buy from us.
Publish your newsletter
Newsletters are a great way of promoting your products, keeping your customers loyal, and generating additional income for your business by either selling advertising space or earning commission on selling others’ goods.
Already got your website?
Publishing your electronic newsletter or e-zine is relatively straightforward if you have a website. (See Chapter 8 for more information.) The advantage of having an online newsletter is that you’ll get potential customers and existing customers signing up.
The challenge is to convert the would-bes into customers while encouraging my existing customers to recommend my products and services to everyone they know.
You don’t need to have a website to publish your newsletter. However, what you do need is a customer address list to send it to. This isn’t a problem in my gardening business, where I automatically get potential customers’ names and addresses when they phone up asking me to go and give them a quote.