One of the biggest complaints from salespeople in a tight economy is the time it takes to achieve a sale. So, what can you do to speed up the sales process?
Sell the solution not the product
Branding is wonderful but unless your brand is as mighty as Coca Cola, it’s unlikely people will purchase what you have based on brand alone. It’s more important than ever to have clarity about why your product or service is valuable to your client and why they should be buying it from you.
Back in 2000, Berlei bras demonstrated the art of solution selling with their sports bra campaign, “only the ball should bounce.” For anyone that has seen a sports bras you know that aesthetically, they are the ugly duckling of the lingerie world; highly functional but very unattractive. Berlei used science to demonstrate how much damage exercising in anything but a sports bra could do (using television advertising, print, point of sale advertising, media, etc). The point is to understand what the most meaningful message is for your customer and that is unlikely to be a product feature list.
Sell the savings
Does your product offer your customer any form of efficiency gain or benefit beyond value over time? Can you justify it with real examples such as testimonials and worked examples? If it does, you need to ensure that you articulate this message. If there is a benefit, ensure you highlight it and emphasise the result. Try and stay away from long range forecasts. If it is going to take a few years to see the real value then this is not a compelling selling point in the current market. You are only as strong as the weakest link in your sales process
If your first point of contact is the weakest link in your sales chain, then you need to fix it. Help your team identify and capitalise on opportunities by giving them the training and structure they need.
Value added discounts
Discounting is a common strategy to increase sales but it comes at the cost of your margin. If you are going to discount, do it strategically. For example, when David Jones wanted to build the number of customers holding a David Jones AMEX, they offered a limited time 30% discount store wide to everyone who either held or applied for the card on the spot. And, staff were trained to encourage the adoption of the AMEX at the checkout. Yes, it was a big discount, but it created an event for existing store card holders and ramped up acquisition to the store card program. The added benefit is that loyalty programs work; the probability of selling to an existing customer is around 14 times higher than a new customer.
In tough economic times, it’s common for the volume of products purchased by customers to go down. You can overcome some of this reticence by packaging items together and encouraging sales volume by offering a discount on the second item or on bundles. If you are going to package, ensure you are not packaging low margin products and then discounting them. Packaging works best when you package products with higher profit margins or where you boost the sales volume of slow moving stock by combining it with faster selling stock.
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