Not everyone is a born deal-maker, but there are strategies that all entrepreneurs can use to maximise sales.
From generating leads to building profitable customer relationships – here’s our favourite expert advice for securing more business.
To get your foot into the door
Offer a breakthrough session – When you meet your would-be client, offer them a free hour of your expertise to brainstorm their current business situation. This will immediately position you as a vendor who is willing to provide upfront value and lays the foundation for a solid business relationship.
Prior to the session, to build your authority and credibility, e-mail them an article you’ve written.
This approach can be used in any industry, from executive coaching to manufacturing. – Shirley Anthony is an author, speaker and owner of Marketing Breakthroughs, a marketing consultancy operating for over twenty years. Read more here
To start generating leads
Targeting a specific audience, knowing who your customers are, and doing thorough research [are critical]. [This includes] doing your customer interviews, to always be testing and re-evaluating the facts, refining it and trying to gather as much intelligence on your sales as possible so that when you start curating some leads you know that ‘that is our main customer base’.
So a bit of pro-activity there in terms of determining your target market. – Matt Fisher, incubator manager for New Ventures Studio.
Long-term mentality might steer you towards co-creating business terms that result in win-win situations, instead of a win-lose set up – which is not sustainable in the long term
To go beyond the sale
Once you have made a first sale, it is a productive practice to provide useful tips for using your product or service. If you have access to, or if you pick up, useful information about the industry the client/business partner, or supplier, works in, then consider forwarding this information for their knowledge and application. Information that can be applied by them for personal and business development can also be beneficial.
Sometimes people merely need a word of support, or an alternative perspective. In this way you also become a trusted resource for your client/business associate, or supplier. A sure way to receive goodwill from people is to send them business – i.e. to refer people needing their product or service to them. – Jannie Rossouw, Head: Sanlam Business Market. Read more here
To build long-lasting B2B relationships
Consider your business client interactions as long-term commitments rather than short-term transactions.
Oftentimes transactions with an individual can be one-off, but with a business they can be long-term repeat business. The way to tap into that opportunity is to design your offering in a way that comes across as a partnership, not a one-off deal for winning a single transaction with them. This long-term mentality might steer you towards co-creating business terms that result in win-win situations, instead of a win-lose set up – which is not sustainable in the long term. – Zipho Sikhakhane, founder of EMZ Advisory & Investments, a training, advisory and investment firm. Read more here
To get to know a prospective client
Use Linkedin to “study” the client you’re pitching to as most business people are available on the social networking platform.
Before you go for your next appointment, spend five minutes looking the person up on Linkedin, see where they went to school, what jobs they’ve had, what position they hold in the company, look at the company’s website, what products do they have. [During your pitch] you can drop a couple of points into that conversation because people like the fact that you’ve taken the time to get to know them before you met. – Shirley Anthony is an author, speaker and owner of Marketing Breakthroughs, a marketing consultancy operating for over twenty years. Read more here
To get customers to choose you
Think of the things we can do to make it convenient for clients to choose us for their next purchase.
Can we offer free delivery?
Do we have an online purchase capability?
Is it possible to provide longer warranties?
Can we schedule appointments with customers at a time convenient for them and do we arrive on time?
Is it possible to customise our product/service offer?
Is our location at a convenient place from a customer perspective? – Jannie Rossouw, Head: Sanlam Business Market. Read more here