In any field, whether academic, artistic, or professional, expertise begins by mastering the basics. This is true for the act of setting up and running a business as well. One of the key elements of making a start-up work is figuring out how to sell the relevant products and services. This is why, last time out, we focused on the basics of selling.
However, mastering the basics of selling is only the first step towards entrepreneurial success. The next step in your journey is going to involve moving on from basic selling techniques to more advanced selling techniques and couching them in a cohesive and coherent selling strategy.
Selling is a field that has received a lot of attention in the history of mankind. The reason for this is simply the fact that selling came into being the moment trading started in human civilisation. Another consequence of selling being old is that there are many selling techniques that businesses use these days.
In fact, the world of selling has become so complex that every business uses an elaborate tapestry of multiple selling techniques woven together into the perfect selling strategy. Therefore, to create a good selling strategy, you need to know about some advanced selling techniques.
What Special Methods Of Selling Can You Use?
There is no dearth of selling techniques out there. In fact, any established sales professional can come up with a unique selling technique of his own, if asked. It is because of this that the success of a business often relies on how well it sells its products and whether it uses the appropriate selling techniques.
Listing all the selling techniques here is not a viable option for us but we can list some of the more interesting options to get your mental juices flowing. You will find that, depending upon how you apply these special methods of selling, they can overlap with each other. Consider.
- WOM Selling: WOM Selling stands for Word of Mouth Selling. Uninitiated entrepreneurs might think that WOM Selling is for small time businesses and, as a result, ignore it entirely. However, WOM Selling is something that even established corporate businesses employ to create a better relationship with their clients. Start-ups especially should pay attention to WOM Selling because it will make it possible for them to create reliable and long lasting customer bases. Another plus in favour of WOM Selling is that it is diverse. It contains Direct and Indirect selling techniques which makes it highly flexible and versatile.
- QA Selling: QA Selling or Question Answer Selling is more like a general method of implementing a selling technique than a selling technique itself. This method requires the business and its sales personnel to approach every technique and every potential customer from the direction of three questions. These questions are: “Why buy”, “Why buy this product”, and “Why buy now”. If a business deals with every customer through a pitch based on answering these three questions in the best manner possible, then sales figures will see a boost.
- Relationship Selling: Relationship Selling techniques need to be included in a selling strategy from the perspective of customer retention. Relationship based selling techniques essentially focus on creating a bond between the customer and the business so that the former keeps coming back to the latter for every new need. Relationship Selling techniques could be based around any number of business qualities such as reliability, affordability, and even personal connection.
- Social Selling: Social Selling is one of the more recent developments in the world of business. Social Selling revolves around a business establishing itself as an authority in the online arena through various tools and instruments. Social Selling can be used to do various things such as branding and reputation development. A business can use Social Selling in the its selling strategy by focusing on reviews online, social media pages, mobile connectivity, email marketing, and a wide variety of other initiatives.
- Discount Selling: Discount Selling is something that many businesses have an understanding of automatically. The reason for this is that Discount Selling or Reductive Selling is all about prices and everyone understands that providing more for less money will draw consumers. However, Discount Selling techniques aren’t always beneficial in all scenarios. While it can be made a part of selling strategy of some smaller businesses where the margins are high, it isn’t really ideal for all types of industries and markets.
The five advanced selling techniques are only a few of the options that will be available to you when you sit down to create your selling strategy. Our recommendation is to take them into account but range beyond them as well. With this, the only thing left for you to learn is how to create your selling strategy.
Define and Refine Selling Goals
The first thing of creating a selling strategy is to determine your ambition. You need to define and subsequently refine your selling goals. You should start by calculating by what time your business will need to breakeven. This should be followed by translating this time to pricing your products and services.
Following this, you can actually calculate how important it is for you to establish a returning customer base vis-à-vis immediate profits because the more a customer comes back to you, the more he will be willing to pay in the long run for reliability.
Create a Pipeline for Your Selling Strategy
This pathway is often taught to management students as the marketing funnel.
You don’t need to follow the theory of marketing funnel but you should definitely have an internal pipeline.
You can use this pipeline to track your potential customers as this will keep your sales team informed on how to view every customer.
Devise a Method for Generating Leads
This means generating leads. You’ll need an elaborate system just to ensure that your sales team has enough leads to work its magic on.
It doesn’t matter what your system is, you simply can’t do without it.
Look at getting referrals, recommendations, get names off the internet or mainstream media, drop your card everywhere you go, generate mailing lists through blogs etc.
Create a Mandatory Layer of Research
In fact, research should be an intrinsic part of your selling strategy.
Your sales team should try to get to know as much about prospects as is possible through direct and indirect research before approaching them so that the right sales pitch can be presented to them.
This is why you should create an independent layer of research within your overall selling strategy.
Ensure That Your Selling Strategy Is Long Term
Simply speaking, if your selling strategy is short term, then it doesn’t deserve to be called a selling strategy. Selling strategies should always be long term. Yes, you can set deadline based goals but they should still be a small section of your overall selling strategy.
Once one set of goals is achieved, you need to immediately have the next one to start work on. This way your selling strategy will never be completely realised and that is how you should devise it to be.