Selling is not like riding a bicycle. It does not just come naturally. If it was that easy, everybody would be in sales and everyone would be rich.
It’s a numbers game
There are some important things that you should know about sales and selling to be successful:
Sales is a ‘numbers game’, the more customers you have, the more sales you can have, so its vitally important that you keep finding new customers.
To do that, you need to know who your prospective customers – also known as leads – are, so that you know how to reach out to them.
What characteristics do your leads have in common? What is it that makes them your target market? Knowing that makes it easier for you to know how to find them, how to recognise them and how to target them.
How DO we get leads?
Start a list of leads, preferably on a spreadsheet. Look beyond people you know. Where would you ‘find’ people or business that would want what you offer? Go where your prospective customers go, physically and digitally, and talk to them, get to know them. Let them know what you have to offer, give them your business card or leaflet, get their contact details including their email address or WhatsApp number and record them in a lead list. Then contact them as soon as possible. And follow-up. If you can’t persuade them to buy from you, ask them to refer you to someone else who might buy.
Word of mouth referrals from satisfied customers is your most effective – and cheapest – form of advertising: the person endorsing you is trusted because they are not being paid to promote you. People are more likely to complain if they are dissatisfied that to tell everyone when they are happy with a purchase or an experience. Try this: look up a well-known company on HelloPeter. Do they have more compliments or complaints? Getting someone to tell others how good you are is invaluable.
Sending interesting newsletters – print or electronic – keeping your customers informed about news that would interest them is one way of keeping in touch. Use the newsletters to promote special offers. The law says that people must be able to ‘unsubscribe’ and you don’t want to irritate your customers. (See the bottom of this newsletter)
Your advertisements, like those in your local community paper, should also produce leads. Designing an advert that competes with hundreds of others to catch the eye of your prospective customers requires the knowledge and skills of an expert. You may also find potential customers in the same newspapers, phone them. Add these leads to your lead list.
You should have an online presence like a website, a social media page and a LinkedIn profile, you will need to have good search engine optimisation or invite people to be your ‘friend’ so that they will know what you offer and contact you.
Don’t forget to collect the names of the people who ‘Like’ your business’ social media page and all the connections that you have collected on LinkedIn as they are also potential leads.
Google Ads is a bit more technical but it also targets your specific market more directly. Your advertisement appears when people use Google search using a keyword that you have used in your advertisement. Clicking on your advertisement takes them to your website. Make sure that you have an enquiry form on your site so that you get the interested person’s contact details.
You could collaborate with another business that complements yours so that each gives the other their leads. Because you are complementary, like a baker and butcher, you have a common target market but you aren’t competing with one another for the same customers.
Now that Covid is coming to an end, you could again take a stand at an industry Expo. Ask people for their business cards or contact details and make sure that they take your promotional literature like leaflet.
Customer relationship management
One day, you will outgrow your leads list and invest in a customer relationship management (CRM) or leads management program which will help you with tracking your leads and also do some analysis on the effectiveness of your lead conversion for you.
Keeping your customers coming back is essential and its cheaper than finding new customers. It’s much easier to keep an existing customer that to find a new one. Your CRM program will help to manage your customer base for you.
Read the next post to see how to get your prospective customers to buy from you
First published: 2014/05/15 Updated: 2022/09/27
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Please share some of your ‘tried and tested’ ways of finding new leads.