I have been a self-funded entrepreneur for over 30 years. Recently, I was co-founder and CEO of PurchasingNet, Inc. a Web-based software and services company. At PurchasingNet, we continually tweaked our sales processes in order to increase sales and grow the company. That said, there were three basic principles we lived by and they never varied.
These three principles are:
1. Make it easy for the customer to do business with you (no complicated price lists, order forms, or clunky websites). Don’t make prospects work hard to get a price quote or place an order. Use a Contact Management system (like Salesforce.com) to keep track of your previous conversations and interactions.
2. Avoid high-pressure sales tactics. Think of yourself as an enabler, educator, and consultant. You can’t sell something to someone who fundamentally doesn’t want to buy. You can only sell to someone who is motivated to buy, and you can help make it a faster, smoother sales cycle and get the customer off to a good start with your company.
3. Educate, educate, educate. The prospect needs to learn what to expect from your company and your products or service. Client expectations can only be set through education. Setting the proper expectation is ultimately what creates a happy customer. Our motto was “under-promise and over-deliver”.
We used a technique called “Drip Marketing” to educate prospects during the sales cycle. Every thirty days we would send an educational e-mail that profiled a customer’s experience with our products and service. If you don’t have many reference-able customers, you can always use industry statistics or quote analysts who are respected in your market to help sell your value proposition.
This “adds value” during the sales cycle and helps differentiate you from your competitors. It is not just sales-oriented information; it highlights actual return-on-investment, benefits, and implementation experiences. Using an e-mail approach to education is a very cost-effective way to communicate with and educate your prospects.
Another method we used extensively was online seminars or “webinars.” This is another cost-effective way to introduce many people to your products or service simultaneously.
Keep it simple, make it easy for your customers, and educate your prospects. This will help turn prospects into happy customers sooner rather than later. These three principles will help you accelerate growth and increase profitability.
These are excerpts from “Unlocking Your Entrepreneurial Potential” by Tim S. McEneny. Click http://amzn.to/timmceneny to order.