When you are trying to close sales for your small business, you need to remember that you do not have the resources of a massive corporation. However, you do have the resource of time on your side. A large corporation likely does not have time to devote to its customers, and you can use this to your advantage. When you are having a hard time closing sales, it is likely for one of the seven reasons below. You should change your ways if you want to close sales more regularly.
1. You Sound?Like A Large Corporation
You do not want to give your customers the impression that you are a larger business than you are. People will respect your small business if you act like a small business. You may not be able to have the marketing budget of a large corporation, but the marketing you do create should look amazing. Again, customers can respect the size of your business as long as you act your size.
For some reason a lot of small business owners feel like that have to speak “Corporate-eze” to sound a certain way. This actually works against you. If you’re not sure how your marketing content reads, use the FLesch-Kincaid “readability score” to see how easy your content is to read an understand. You can find an online version here or just use the Word feature.
2. You Do Not Follow Up
When you are trying to close a sale, you need to follow up with every customer. You may fear that you are annoying customers, but these customers understand that you need sales in order to operate. You can follow up through phone calls, emails or faxes, but you must follow up.
When you are following up with your customers, you need to set up a new time to talk. Most customers are comfortable getting a call from you when they told you to call. Setting up these successive phone calls will bring you closer to a sale. If you do not follow up wisely, you will lose the customer to someone who gives them more attention.
Use an online calendaring tool to make scheduling follow-up calls and appointments a breeze! I use ScheduleOnce which integrates wonderfully with Google Calendar and Gmail, I’ve also seen folks use tools like TimeTrade and Assistant.to. You can use any of these tools to not only make it easy for clients to schedule time with you, you can also use them to charge for time and schedule meetings with teams.
3. You Do Not Have a Clear Marketing Message
There’s an old Reba McEntire song called “Let’s Give Them Something to Talk About” and this should be your mantra. The biggest obstacle to your getting more sales is giving your ideal customer a reason to choose you. And if you’re not getting a flood of customers you love working with who love working with you at any price — it’s because they don’t know why to choose you.
Take the time to really focus on an ideal customer, what matters to them and the unique ways you solve their problems and you will have the kind of message that will bring new clients out of the woodwork. Here’s an article that goes into more detail on that.
4. You Are Not On Social Media
Social media is the town square of many businesses. It’s where conversations happen, where customer service happens and where people share their experiences with YOU and you get to share your experiences with your clients. Your website is not enough anymore. Many people thumb through their social media apps on their phones rather than browsing the web.
While you don’t have to fully engage in every single social media platform, it’s a good practice to have completed profiles on all social media platforms that includes:
- LinkedIn, ideal for all consultants, coaches, experts, and B2B companies
- Twitter, great for big brands, consultants, coaches, experts, journalists and B2C companies
- Facebook personal, and Company Page for consultants, coaches, professional services and B2C companies
- Pinterest — where applicable. Pinterest is a huge traffic driver and it’s an ideal platform for retail, restaurant and any business where a picture is worth a thousand words.
- Google+ — This is an awesome platform especially for technical companies. Lately, I’ve been following a lot of coaches and experts on Hangouts and it’s a terrific way to give people a virtual experience of YOU.
As I said, you don’t have to be on every single social account. Choose the one where you get the best engagement and that drives the most traffic to your site or to your phone. You can use tools like HootSuite and SocialOomph, SproutSocial or Spokal to automate and schedule posts to the rest.
5. You Don’t Have a Point of View
All purchasing decisions are emotional and one of the key drivers of getting chosen is having a clear point of view. This is similar?to having a clear marketing message, but it speaks more to personality and personal brand. Oprah has a point of view, Richard Branson and Sarah Palin — love them or hate them, you know exactly what they believe in and where they stand.
Use your personality to your advantage — it is your strength. When you try to change your personality or talk like and act like someone you THINK your customer might want, you lose credibility and your message falls flat.
One way to get really clear on your point of view is to go on a rant — what sets you off, what are you passionate about, what peeves you, what are the mistakes people make all the time, what don’t your customer know that they should know about your industry.
Still struggling for an idea or a point of view — watch any of the shows on HGTV or The Food Network — each of those shows and their hosts have a powerful and clear point of view which ultimately leads to product extensions and shows. Your brand and your business isn’t too different from that.
6. Your Services And Products Are Not Competitive
It all comes down to getting chosen and if your sales are flat, your customers don’t know why they should choose you.
Your best plan of attack to remedy this is to profile your ideal customer, get to the core of the main problems that they have and exactly how your product or service helps them. Instead of selling the features and benefits of your product to specific customers — start with the customer’s wants first, then develop your offer around those elements and you’re sure to get a response.
7. You Are Doing Everything
A small business may only have one or two employees, but there are business that have no employees. You may not be equipped to make sales, but you can hire someone who can close the sales for you. Your insistence on doing everything on your own will backfire when you realize you truly cannot do everything.
Hire just one person to close all your sales, and they can bring in new customers you could not have closed alone. This salesman could be your new business partner, and your business could flourish as a result.
When you are trying to make new sales, you must cover the seven items above. You might be missing out on sales because you are doing something horribly wrong. If you see something you are doing incorrectly on this list, you need to make a change as soon as possible.