12 Easy Ways to Increase Sales
Want to sell more? Here are 12 simple actions that you can take today that will increase both revenue and profit.
1. Reduce the number of opportunities you pursue. The more opportunities you've got, the more likely you are to make a sale, right? Wrong! If you can't give each prospect the attention they deserve, you'll lose sales you otherwise might make.
2. Increase the percentage of time you spend selling. Get somebody else to handle your paperwork, expense reports, or whatever busywork is involved with making a sale. Use the extra time to get in front of customers.
3. Stop buying technology because it's cool. Smartphones, tablets, and PCs can be important tools--but learning and supporting them can drain your productivity. Only purchase devices and programs that actually help you sell.
4. Think about your solution as a verb. Suppose your company makes glue. If you're selling "glue" (a noun), you'll talk about product features. If you're selling "gluing" (a verb), you'll talk what your offering does for your customer's business.
5. Treat selling as a service to the customer. Stop thinking that selling means "convincing" the customer, "overcoming" objections, and "winning" the business. Instead, view yourself as the customer's ally in solving a problem.
6. Terminate weak engagements--politely but immediately. The moment you find out that a customer really doesn't need what you're offering, point them in the right direction, then politely withdraw from the opportunity.
7. Don't confuse telling with selling. Rather than talking to the customer about what your product can do, ask intelligent questions so that the two of you can discover whether the customer really needs you to help solve a problem or achieve a goal.
8. Hone your lead generation effort. Based upon your own experience, observe who's just interested and who's actually buying. Hone your lead generation efforts to find more of the ones who are actually spending money on your offering.
9. Don't focus on the gatekeepers. Make sure that you're talking to the real decision-makers, and not just the influencers and sideliners. When you meet a decision-maker, stay in regular communication throughout the sales cycle.
10. Stay on top of your opportunities. Don't lose track of what's changing inside the account. Build a short sales plan that documents the process and the players, so you don't spin your wheels trying to remember who needs what and when.
11. Outflank your competition. Find out who the other guys are calling on, and how they're approaching the account. Figure out who they're talking to, what they're saying, and defensively position your offering to counter their approach.
12. Increase your average dollar value. It takes just about as much effort to cut a $1,000 deal as it does to cut a $10,000 deal. The more revenue you book on each opportunity, the more money you'll make overall.
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GEOFFREY JAMES | Columnist
Geoffrey James was recently named a "Top 40 Social Selling Marketing Master" by Forbes, and his blog has won awards from the Society of American Business Editors and the American Society of Business Publication Editors. His writing has appeared in publications as diverse as Wired, Brandweek, and Men's Health, and he is the author of numerous books, including The Tao of Programming, Business Wisdom of the Electronic Elite, and, most recently, Business Without the Bullsh*t: 49 Secrets and Shortcuts You Need to Know.