With the easing of recent restrictions, comes a newfound buoyancy in the marketplace. Finally, after battling months of uncertainty, small business owners have a path forward.
But that doesn’t mean it will be easy to travel. Every business in every industry will be competing against each other to reclaim their slice of the pie.
While competition is good, it does mean small business owners need to be smarter in how they operate - and boosting sales is paramount to this.
Just like the environment has somewhat reset itself during COVID-19, small businesses must do the same and the way forward through efficiency measures.
To boost sales after a difficult period requires a business owner to conduct a two tiered approach. One that focuses on them and the other on their ideal customers.
If you want to boost your sales beyond where you were before these uncertain times, you have to do three things.
It’s simple, you can’t close a sale if you have the wrong mindset. Your prospects can sense your mindset, no matter how you try to disguise it.
Have you been recently operating with the view that nobody is buying anything?
If so, you have the wrong mindset and it prevented you from seeing opportunities available to you. We explained recently that more millionaires are made in recessions than at any other time and the people that win in tough circumstances have the right mindset.
To decipher your mindset, ask yourself some questions:
If you’re honest, the answers you discover will reveal what you need to work on to improve your mindset.
How often do you sit in a networking group and tune out when somebody else starts yabbering on about what they do?
These people feel it’s best to leave everybody in any doubt about the benefits of their product or service. But what they fail to do is listen to what other people have to say.
Boosting sales is not about convincing people to buy, it’s about listening to people’s problems and offering a workable solution.
If you listen with intent, you can guide a sales conversation in the direction you want.
How do you know if you are listening with intent?
Most people don’t listen anymore and just wait for their opportunity to jump into a conversation and take over, so listening with intent and being able to ask meaningful questions is crucial.
As mentioned in a previous blog, selling is as easy as A, B, C...D and E if you have detailed knowledge of your customers.
Boosting sales (and scalability) becomes much easier when you have a repeatable product you can offer.
So many small business owners fall into the trap of assuming their prospect knows best, while you need to listen to them with intent, chances are they don’t fully understand why they need what you offer.
That’s why having a productised offer to sell time and time again is key.
A long term client of mine saw the benefit of this recently. He’d always had a great offer and his market knew they needed it, but the missing piece was conversion.
Essentially, he was presenting to his prospects that his business could do many things (which was true) but his ideal customers still weren’t sure which was most relevant to them.
After a number of failed sales calls and meetings, we went away and compiled a list of what stood out most to his market and created three productised packages that satisfied solutions to the pain points his prospects were mentioning.
Now he fronts up to sales meetings with an offer he knows works and his team can understand and implement from client to client each month.
It’s working. His business is growing month on month and this happened in the middle of COVID-19.
If you can do this, it will ensure you have something that’s repeatable and valued by your prospects. You can even go a step further by creating productised offers made directly for your individual customer avatars.
The greatest asset you have as a small business owner is a happy and committed tribe of loyal customers. If they are, they will do the selling on your behalf.
While this headline suggests what they must do, ultimately you have to get them to do it first. That will happen when you do two things.
It’s easier to retain customers than to find new ones. So, making sure they’re invested in what you do is paramount to your success.
Your current customer base is also the best place to start when you want to increase sales. That means you have to check in regularly and discover where they’re at and how you might be able to help them further.
Make sure you ask them:
Happy customers are those who are listened to and looked after. And happy customers are likely to recommend you to their peers, which is the best form of advertising.
Most small businesses sell B2B and that means most of your customers understand what life is like on the frontline trying to grow, seek new opportunities and make sales.
It’s foolish to assume your customers think your operation is bulletproof and doesn’t require help (much like you’re doing for them). So, being honest with the areas you need help allows them to trust you more and help you where they can.
By this I mean, building your rapport and enabling them to refer you on to their network. While they no doubt value what you do for them, seldom do they refer you to others (unless somebody they know has a direct need).
When was the last time you asked a customer for a referral (or to be on the lookout for one)?
This doesn’t happen enough and it’s vital in enabling your customers to do the selling on your behalf.
If you have been referred in by a customer to their network, most of the sales work is done.
Authenticity builds trust. Trust builds authority.
Boosting sales at any point in your business journey is fundamental to your long term success, but even more so when times are tough.
Your ability to convert your prospect is often the difference between remaining in business or looking for a job elsewhere. Doing this proficiently is what sets you apart.
But really it’s not that difficult. If you can apply the three steps YOU can do and enable your CUSTOMERS to sell on your behalf, boosting your sales is as easy as A, B, C...D and E.
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