10 Sales Tips for Small Business Owners
Mastering Basic Sales Skills for Non-Sales-People
by Peggie Arvidson-Dailey
Running a business is easy compared to the act of selling.
As a small business owner you started your business to
deliver a superior product or service, not to become a
salesperson. None-the-less you must master basic sales
skills or risk losing your business due to lack of clients!
Here are 10 tips to help you turn those inquiries into
- Define the benefits to the customer. You’ve found their
pain, now you need to come up with a cure by answering their
question, “What’s in it For ME?” For instance, if you are
pet-care provider you “make it possible for a couple to
enjoy their honeymoon in Hawaii without feeling guilty about
leaving their pet.”
- Qualify before you present. Okay, you know their pain
and can cure it. You now need to know if the person on the
other end of the phone or e-mail query is likely to buy from
you. Take time up front to ensure this a good prospect for
you. When you qualify your prospect you want to know:
Only sell to the decision maker. No matter how well your
product or service solves a client’s problem, and no matter
how wonderfully you articulate that benefit – if you are
selling to someone who doesn’t have the authority to
purchase your product or service, you’ve wasted your time.
- Is this person the decision maker?
- Does this person have a real need for what I’m selling?
- Does this person have the budget necessary to pay for my
product or service?
- When does this person wish to start using my product or
It’s about the relationship! Every interaction you have
with the potential client either builds or destroys their
trust in you. As Henry Ward Beecher said, “Hold yourself
responsible for a higher standard than anybody else expects
of you. Never excuse yourself.” This a great mantra for
anyone involved in the sales cycle. Trust takes a long
time to build and it’s very easy to destroy. Make sure
every part of your relationship with the prospect is held to
your highest standard.
Preparation, preparation, preparation. Do you know what
you want the customer do at every step of the process? Set
goals for each step of your sales process, as well as
overall sales goals for the month, quarter and year. Create
an outline and script to get you from an inquiry to a sale.
Tweak your outlines and scripts to fit each individual
customer. One size does not fit all.
Questions and objections are a natural part of the sales
process. During your preparation compile a list of every
possible question and objection that you might hear. Now
spend some time creating a list of responses. Your responses
should lead back to questions eliciting more information
about your customer’s pain.
The issue of price. If the first question they ask is
“how much does it cost?” Don’t beat around the bush, answer
their question right away with a statement like, “depending
on the service plan you select our rates range from XX to
XXX, I would like to spend a couple of minutes finding out
specifically which plan is right for you.” If they are
comfortable with your price range, they will continue the
conversation. Remember, part of qualifying is determining
whether your potential customer has the budget to buy from
BONUS TIP: By answering their question head-on you are
making it clear that you are a ‘straight shooter,’ a great
way to build trust!
Make it easy to buy from you. Has this ever happened to
you? You find a great product on a website or in a store,
and you are ready, willing and able to buy, only to find out
a) you can’t find the “purchase now” button on the site, b)
they need to find out if they still have the item, or c) the
clerk is busy on the phone? Depending on your mood and free
time you may wait, but more than likely you leave without
your purchase. Is it infinitely easy for your customers to
buy your product the first time? Make it even easier for
them to make a repeat purchase!
Ask for Feedback. No matter how good at sales you
become, you must keep your ‘edge.’ Ask questions to find
out what you’re doing well, what your customers wish you did
and why potential customers did not buy from you. Use what
you learn in your preparation and goal setting process.
Have Fun. Running your own business should be fun.
You’ve dedicated your career to something you love. Let
your personality shine and make sure you find ways to
include your customers and associates in your good time!
The Sales process does not have to be a dreaded part of
running your business. It’s the best way to watch your
revenue grow. Evaluate your current process and implement
any of the missing tips to watch your sales success grow.
Copyright © 2004. Peggie Arvidson-Dailey