About 25% of the U.S. working population is engaged in sales and marketing. Those who are thus engaged are generally asking themselves: “What can I do to sell more.” Sometimes obvious answers elude us and we need to be reminded. Here are a few things that can help you to sell more. Perhaps not all these ideas will apply to you, but some may.
The easiest way to sell something is also the best way to sell more. Get someone else to sell for you. Consider building a new sales force to help you. This can be a direct or independent sales force. When I worked as a salesman over 30 years ago I would sell about $2 million per year. Once I began to build sales forces I found I could increase sales by $1 million per year or more every time I added another sales person. Soon I was selling $100 million per year through my sales force. Your results may vary, but it is one way to increase sales.
Enlist your customers in the sales effort. How? Find those who will act as references and use them. Create seminars and symposiums where you make your customers the speakers and experts and where they promote your company’s concepts, ideas and services. For instance, I used to sell hospital wide vital signs monitoring systems. We had a concept called “Flexible Monitoring.” Once we helped several large customers to install these systems and we were able to document a drop in morbidity, mortality, and operating costs as a result of these installations, we found that our customers were happy to help us host symposiums wherein they taught their peers about “flexible monitoring.” Many of those customers bought and in turn became flexible monitoring gurus. I call this peer to peer selling and it is powerful. Nobody has credibility like a peer. I could write a book on this subject alone. Suffice it to say, getting your customers involved in selling your product is powerful and it’s not as expensive as hiring sales reps.
Listen to your customers’ needs and design according to what they need. Create products that support their business and provide game changing technology that enables lower operating costs, supports quality, and drives revenue. Great products don’t always sell themselves, but they are easier to sell and win more often than lessor products. Sell the difference and make sure they are better.
Design your website so it sells. Allow customers to place orders on your website. This is a 24/7 sales force. There is nothing better than automatic sales.
Consider establishing a telesales or telemarketing force. You can outsource this effort if you don’t want to do it yourself. You may be pleasantly surprised at how successful this effort can be. Not long ago I was running a force of about 40 outside sales reps selling about $45 million per year. We added three inside sales reps (tele sales). To the surprise of many of the field people these inside reps were able to sell $1 million per year each on average over the phone. As you can imagine a phone call is much less expensive than a flight, rental car, hotel rooms, meals, etc. in order to make a sales call. It costs a lot less in time as well. Telesales can multiply your sales.
If you are not advertising now it’s time to start. It may be something as simple as starting a Twitter, Facebook, or Email campaign or something more expensive. There are now hundreds of places on the web to place free classified ads and thousands of places where you can post other types of web advertising. Beyond the web there are traditional types of advertising that can build your brand, sell your product and ask for action.
Become a locally or nationally recognized expert in your area by writing articles like I am doing here on area-info.net or on your own blog. I love area-info.net as it’s a newspaper and it’s easy to build a following here. Some people who are doing this now are seeing page views in the millions. Soon they are seen as the person to contact for help with something they have shown expertise in. For instance,I have expertise in sales and sales management, and decades of sales and sales management experience. So, this is something I write about. Writing can lead to speaking engagements and to consulting work, employment, and leads. By writing this article I build that credibility in the sales management arena. Go and do likewise in your area of focus.
To sell more, learn more. Learn more about your customer, about his business, about his goals for that business. Learn how to be valuable to your customer. Learn to help your customer to increase sales, decrease expenses, and improve quality. Learn more about selling, marketing, and related topics. Learn to be a professional, a serious marketer. Eat, sleep, and breath sales and marketing. Soon you will have abilities that your competition lacks. If you are your only sales force, make sure that sales force is well trained. If you lead and manage a sales force, make certain that you invest in training to make them better sales people, better negotiators, and better marketers. Train, train, train and learn, learn, learn.
Put together a sales “playbook”. Know all the different tools, strategies, and tactics available to you to make a sale. If you are running a sales force be sure to implement this across the team. Help them to have the tools they need to make the deal happen.
If you don’t currently have a way to finance a sale then team up with a finance company. My experience shows that when I did this sales increased by 20%. Many customers want your product, but don’t have the money now to buy it. Help them with financing and your sales will increase. Teach this to your sales force and it will increase faster.
Make people accountable. I found that as sales people knew they would be measured and held accountable for production they became more productive. Whether I hold myself accountable or others accountable the results are the same, better productivity. Set goals, measure results, hold people accountable.
Pay people well. An old boss, Tom Bligh, used to say, “Excellent pay brings excellent people who produce excellent results.” The best dollars I ever spent were commission dollars. People can be motivated by money. Keep your sales force motivated.
Recognition can drive results. It always surprises me when I see small companies that have no sales recognition program. There is nothing like a recognition program that is published at the beginning of the year with defined awards requirements to drive performance and results. Many people will work harder, smarter, and longer for recognition than they will for money.
These are just a few ideas of how to sell more than you thought you could. Continue to read and study and question sales and marketing professionals to find out how others have been successful in sales.