However good the product or service you offer, all businesses rely on new sales opportunities to grow and develop. Although up-selling and cross-selling to existing customers can be extremely effective for increasing sales, it’s always important to integrate new business wherever possible.
That said, new sales opportunities rarely land straight on your desk. So, improving the number of sales you get through the door is essential for bringing in new business and good quality leads.
So, how can you find and close more deals?
7 Tips for increasing sales opportunities and closing more deals
1. Less pain = more gain
“No pain, no gain” is a phrase mainly associated with body builders; personally I don’t know how to say it in any way other than a bad Arnold Schwarzenegger impersonation.
Nevertheless, the phrase is one rarely applied to those in the sales profession, but is arguably as applicable to salespeople as it is the bodybuilders who originally used it.
If a salesperson fails to focus on their prospects’ pain points, they are unlikely to gain any ground in making a sale.
That said though, one common problem is that many salespeople focus on pain points alone when pitching. By that method, a decision maker who is unaware of any problems that exist is highly likely to pass up on the opportunity to buy.
In this situation, trying to convince a decision maker that they have a problem can work, but can also take a lot of time and effort.
A better solution may be to focus less on pain points and more on the positive aspects of an industry or business. Understanding how to improve on a business’ current success is a great way of making ground with stubborn decision makers.
Rather than being negative with them and talking about their challenges, talk to them about their strengths and where you imagine that the business is doing well.
As soon as you bring up something negative, people tend to go into their shells a little. Massage their ego though and they’ll come back at you purring like a kitten on catnip.
2. Link in
Getting your name recognized in the industry and being connected with the right people is the best way to get more good quality leads.
Networking can bring about long-term benefits through gradually becoming familiar with potential clients and accumulating a list of well-connected people who you can call your contacts.
Networking alone will never get you too far, but is a key area to focus on for the sake of your long-term career.
These days, networking can be done in a number of ways. The old-school meet, charm and keep in touch method is still as relevant as ever. Thankfully though, even more channels exist by which we can meet new people and keep in touch with each other.
LinkedIn is one such channel and, when used correctly, allows you to discover and open many more doors than time would allow otherwise. Focusing on LinkedIn is also key if you’re looking to expand your business on a national or international scale.
One great tip for making the most of LinkedIn as a networking tool is to make connections with salespeople who sell similar (but not the same) products to you.
Say for example you sell smart shoes: connect with some great tailors and suit salespeople in the local area, as well as wedding coordinators and business leaders. All of these people can scratch your back just as you can scratch theirs, simply by offering to promote their products to your customers or by offering them an exclusive discount.
By building a mini-network of experts you admire, you will be increasing sales as a group, and referrals tend to always be the easiest deals to close.
Only, however, reference people whose products/services you genuinely like; recommending someone who isn’t recommendable is only going to damage your own credentials.
To learn more about how it can be used to find and grow viable leads, click here.
3. Set mini targets
Setting yourself specific goals for how many calls and proposals you intend on making per day can significantly improve motivation while also helping you to track your progress.
After an agreed period of time, you can evaluate your performance and change your approach if necessary.
This method will not only help you approach your sales opportunities with a renewed energy, but will also allow you to easily assess where your strengths and weaknesses lie, making it easy to ask the right questions of yourself.
4. Be all warm and cuddly
Love is one of life’s great mysteries, and while I can’t tell you what women want (I don’t think anyone can), I can tell you how to be lovable in the eyes of your prospects and customers.
The most important thing is that you truly try to understand their wants and needs. Like any relationship, being able to improve someone’s life and make them happier as a result is as key to a sales relationship as it is to any other.
By understanding your prospect and customer’s challenges, wants and needs, you’ll be able to call them with a real reason and purpose, rather than to try and sell with a shot in the dark.
Having a reason to call that adds value to their lives, you’ll make yourself a valuable asset to the customer. Even if you don’t get the sale, you achieve one key thing in the battle to make yourself lovable: you show them that you actually care and think about them beyond the point of sale.
Even when selling on a B2B basis, remember that behind the huge buildings, corporate logos and billion dollar revenues is a team of human beings, all of whom go home to families, laugh at the same TV shows as you and get frustrated at the same sports teams you do. They’ve got tasks to complete, goals at stake and feelings that you can take advantage of if you play your cards right.
5. Don’t let your nose grow
There’s a long-standing myth that salespeople need to bend the truth in order to close a sale. While it may be true of many salespeople, it’s certainly not true of the best.
Leading on from the previous point on forming positive relationships, I’d suggest that honesty is essential when it comes to being lovable, too. If the truth has to be avoided or skewed in order for a sale to be made, then it should become pretty clear that the sale probably isn’t one worth pursuing.
I’m a firm believer that in your career, you choose your own boss. You do so by being honest in an interview. If you have to tell a lot of lies to get a job, then the job probably isn’t the right one for you. If you take this to be true, then it’s also the case that you choose your customers.
By selling the right product in the right manner to the right people, you’ll build a customer base that not only keeps coming back for more, but that recommends you to others too, which is by and large the greatest way to get a constant stream of new, easy-to-close leads.
At the heart of making this work, though, is one, vital element: honesty.
Telling the potential client all the essential pieces of information regarding the product or service as well as how it will benefit them is the most direct way of getting them on board and increasing sales opportunities thereafter.
Prove your honesty even further by recommending products to them that they actually need, even if they are of a lesser monetary value; you might make less from one initial sale but I can guarantee that you’ll make more money in the long-run because of the loyalty created by your honest approach.
6. Don’t compete
While it’s easy to get caught up in a competitive battle within the sales department, it’s key to remember that encouraging those around you is an often-underestimated force in affecting the capabilities of the whole team.
Far too many salespeople are quick to boast, brag and big themselves up when they make a good sale, but don’t give any credit to those around them when they do the same.
If that sounds a lot like you, flip your approach: take confidence from your sales but don’t boast, while, at the same time, make sure you boost the confidence of those around you too when they close deals.
Self-limiting beliefs can drastically affect motivation and confidence, two of the most important skills needed to succeed, so arguably one of the best ways to close more leads is to treat those around you as team members rather than as rival individuals.
7. Watch your watch
Sometimes, all you need is a little more time. You can do everything right, but despite your hard work, fall at the last hurdle due to time constraints.
Though some time constraints may be uncontrollable, there’s always room to improve the time you have in the office.
Every minute spent making a cup of tea or talking by the water dispenser can add up. Only an hour a day of smoking breaks, chatting and texting equates to a loss of 6 weeks of productivity per year.
If you’re as good a salesperson as you think, how many new sales opportunities could you secure in that time?
While it’s also important not to be a recluse and, to build good relationships with those around you, it’s more important to remember why you’re at work in the first place. True focus is the best way to increasing sales.
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