Whilst doing some research on the sales plan and selling skills I read a fascinating post by Andrew Gazdeck .
In 2009, Andrew founded and bootstrapped Bizness Apps into a global enterprise all while he was a senior in college. Since then, he has gone on to help more than 500,000 small businesses engage with their customers on mobile devices. Bizness Apps was acquired by a $1 billion private equity firm in 2018. Gazdecki has been featured in The New York Times, Forbes Wall Street Journal, Inc.com, and Entrepreneur Magazine, as well as prominent industry blogs such as Mashable, TechCrunch and VentureBeat.
In the article He was giving advice to his partners on the sales plan. They were going on to sell to Small and medium business (SMBs) for the first time. Here are the 7 items he listed and my take on the steps. I hope you too find it useful.
Many entrepreneurs start a company without any prior selling skills and no idea what a sales plan is. Before you go out in the big wide world and begin to interact with to small business, they will need to work on how you deliver that sales pitch.
Here are 7 steps for giving a convincing sales pitch to SMBs:
1. Focus on how you deliver it
While you craft your pitch in the privacy of your own den and it may appear perfect, it is also important to spend time on how you deliver that message. Your body language and tone of voice need to communicate confidence and enthusiasm. Even without your powerful phrases and convincing visuals, you need to show that you believe what you are saying and enjoy talking about it.
check yourself out
And As recent issues within lock-down have reinforced, this doesn’t only apply to face-to-face pitches. You can actually hear when someone smiles over the phone! Good posture and natural gestures will make you sound more confident to the person on the other end of the line. Use your Zoom sessions as a way to review how you present yourself while under pressure. If you are able to record the session either as owner of the call or using screen capture technology (remembering you must seek permission from any other participants)
Right now is the ideal time to assess how you come across to others and make improvements where needed. Remember all the things you have learned about public speaking ? Those things are still relevant. Constantly review your your presentation persona.
2. Show empathy
It is said that the secret to success in sales skills is empathy. You need to be able to put yourself in your (potential) customers’ shoes. Do you understand the challenges they face on a day-to-day basis? The only way you can do this is by asking questions. More specifically, asking the right questions. And then listening to the answers. Ask them about their situation, their work, what they are passionate about etc.
do not assume
Even though you specialise in a particular area, every industry and every business owner will have different pain points. Of course, there will be overlap, but make sure not to assume that you know their problems. Let them tell you and then offer your solution in response. By understanding where they are coming from, you can provide them with what they need.
This is where case studies come to the fore you need to be able to talk about real case studies that are directly relevent to this customer. Do you preparation for every potential issue you can think of ave a case study that comes to hand in a very natural way – bring it in as part of the conversation ” Funny you should mention that I was talking with a client of mine two weeks ago with the same issue … “. But make sure you understand their pain and ensure the reference is authentic dont make up issues – it will be obvious if you are telling porkies on the fly !
3. Talk about solutions, not features
When selling products, it’s easy to fall into the trap of describing features rather than benefits. The reality is that small business owners don’t care about the fancy technology behind it; they want to know what’s in it for them. How will it make a difference for them? You can answer this by describing the real-life problems that apps solve! For example, instead of saying you have a cool mobile food ordering feature, you should explain that mobile food ordering will allow them to automate mobile food orders. In addition, their staff will be able to focus on more important things, as they won’t be glued to the phone taking orders. In other words, translate those app features into customer benefits.
Again case studies can come to your aid here. Don’t talk about this new version being 40% faster with a simplified interface. Talk about how Mr Jones can now process 10 extra orders an hour with the same staff,
4. Turn down low offers
Once a small business owner has made the decision to buy from you, they will want to make sure they get the best deal. Their first response is usually that it’s too expensive and they don’t have a budget for your services . It is up to you to use your selling skills to show them the value of the solution and describe how it can save and make them money.
Sometimes – only if it’s necessary and in line with your overall sales plan – you can offer a client better terms or lower your price. But know your numbers in advance and decide at what point you have to walk away from that low ball price. It won’t do your business any good to take on a client at an extremely low price point, as you will be putting in the same amount of effort as with your regular paying clients.
all customers will pay more
Barry Moltz, Small Business Expert, says “I believe that all customers will pay more for value to solve their pain. There are many brands, like Apple, in the marketplace that can charge a premium because of perceived value. One way to boost your price is to ask the prospect, “what would the results need to be for you to pay my original price in the proposal?” In this case, you are building value instead of cutting services. In addition, you know what the prospect values and is willing to pay more for.”
5. Ask for the close
This is one of the selling skills often overlooked by novice salespeople but is fundamental part of the sales plan: asking for the sale. It might seem presumptuous (and nerve-wracking), but this step is actually all about confidence and practice. Rehearse your close so you can deliver it smoothly. According to Forbes, “It should be a natural progression from your conversation so that asking for purchase is the next logical step.”
Getting the “yes” hinges on more than just the way you ask for the close, of course, but using the right words can definitely make a difference. Hubspot has listed 25 closing phrases to seal a sales deal, take your pick!
6. Anticipate objections
Even if you delivered the most flawless pitch and closing phrase, you will inevitably be dealing with rejection as a salesperson. But not every rejection is final! You will hear many objections that can be refuted and handled in a productive way. This doesn’t mean telling your prospect they’re wrong, far from it , one of the more vital selling skills is to respond to everything your client says with “Yes”, it means helping them come to a different conclusion on their own accord.
Small businesses will bring up sales objections about the price (as mentioned); about the competition (e.g. “I can get a cheaper version of your product from someone else”); about the product (e.g. “Apps are just a fad”) and so on.
A well-prepared salesperson will identify all these objections before giving a pitch. Make sure you have a straightforward answer for each of these objections. This will put you in a knowledge position, ready to tackle any (unfounded) objection that gets thrown at you. But remember that rejection is part of the job and that it’s okay if you get a firm “no” – time to move on to the next prospect.
7. Follow up
The actual sales pitch only gets you a foot in the door. Following up is where the magic happens. In fact, 80% of sales deals are made in the follow-up calls after the meeting. Be consistent and relentless. Do everything you can to stay connected with an interested prospect after your initial meeting. There is a real danger zone were any hunger for your service will melt away the longer you leave it before better back in touch.
The challenge many salespeople experience is how to effectively follow up without being annoying. One invaluable tip: “Always have a specific reason to contact your prospect. NEVER just call to ‘touch base’ or ‘check in’. Make sure you are calling to add value for the small business owner, maybe that is sharing some new information regarding your product or simply asking them if they need anything in order to make their decision.
During your meeting always ensure you make a note of any website or piece of information you could potentially provide at a later date “Oh I know a guy how does boxes I send you his address”, “I saw a youtube video on that I’ll send you the link”. Anything that demonstrates you have been thinking about them and gives you an excuse to stay in touch is gold dust. Also bear in mind that if they don’t reply to your email with the information you now have the perfect excuse to call them just to make sure they got your Email.
With these tips assisting your selling skills , you will be able to hit the ground running – even if you have never sold anything in your life. With a little preparation, you can position yourself as a small business expert selling a much-needed solution to SMBs.