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3 Sales Strategies for Small Business – Get Started Selling!

By Robert Walters (1178 words)
Posted in Small Business on May 23, 2013

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By Robert (Bob) Walters, President & Founder of RH Walters Associates

Most small to medium-sized business have a lot in common in terms of one or more individuals having an idea, creating a product, developing a service and building a business around it.  What they also have in common – for the most part – is a lack of real sales experience.  But the belief system that drove the founding of the business can be turned into a sales advantage and form the basis for building out both a sales and marketing focus.


Founders as Advocates 


When you’re starting out the most ardent advocates are the people with the most invested – both financially and sweat-equity.  Usually that’s the founders or the person that started the company – and you needed to sell your concept to yourself, your family, your investors and your employees.  Each of those groups listened to what you had to say, believed in what you were developing and ‘bought’ into the concept.  So use the same approach that worked with them.


If you’re uncomfortable making cold calls or sales pitches, then create a script that is in the form of a survey – call the most likely people that would need your product and ask for a few minutes of their time to conduct some research and have maybe 5-10 questions that are the heart of the problem your product or service solves for them.  And LISTEN to what they are saying.  They may respond specifically to your questions, they may provide you with new talking points or even future enhancements or services.


After the first few calls you’ll find you have a wealth of information and can then evolve a script to be used for future calls and as the framework of your marketing materials.


Get the word out - Write about it and talk about it! 


If you’ve done your homework you’re aware of local, state and national associations where your prospects probably belong.  Look at the association website and see what value proposition they provide – often what attracts a member to join is the same motivation that your product or service addresses.  Contact the association and offer to contribute an article for their publications or to present a session at their conferences. 


When I started my company I participated in every meeting I could find that would have meeting planners or association executives (my target markets) and volunteered to do presentations and participate on panels discussing related issues.  Not only did this help get the word out on my company and product – but I gathered many ideas for enhancements that improved and expanded our products over the years.


Everyone needs to be a sales person!

From the first contact – whether on the phone, in response to an e-mail request or an in-person meeting, everyone on your staff needs to be an extension of your sales team.  Logo shirts may seem to be a ‘vanity’ item – but the reason you see them everywhere is they are small walking billboards.  My company was called Phoenix Solutions and I wish I had a dollar for every person that asked me about the weather in Phoenix (we were based in Northern California).  Every one of these gave me or my staff an opportunity to respond and explain where we were from and – most importantly – what we did! 


Every contact point in your company needs to be up-to-speed on your products and services – we used to do weekly meetings to let the customer services staff update all of us on what the customers were asking for so we could offer some ideas on how to respond.  This also alerted the sales staff to what customers said after the sale.  Marketing would add some simple one-liners for the customer services and general staff to have handy to mention new features or benefits.  Whenever possible our ‘hold music’ was a live staff person carrying on a conversation with the person on the other end of the line asking what they did at their company – if they were a customer, maybe how they used the system and what they liked about it – if they were a prospect, they would discuss what had motivated them to call us and pull out whatever information they could.  Passing a call stating who was on the line and what was important to them made us a more caring and involved company and the person the call was transferred to had a great sense of how to start the conversation or resolve the issue.


If your staff is hesitant to take this on – remind them – they are the ‘experts’ on your product and/or services – once they get over the initial hesitation, you’ll find administrative staff asking sales what happened to the lead they passed and customer services staff how they solved the problem – just adding to their knowledge!


Next Up:

The web changes everything!


There are few companies that have not been impacted by the explosion of information available via the Internet and it is a challenge to be heard above all of the noise.  In our next article we’ll tackle some of the issues faced by companies trying to get the most for their Internet dollars and provide some key ingredients and resources.


{#/pub/images/RobertWalters.jpg}Written by Robert (Bob) Walters, President & Founder of RH Walters Associates- 
Bob is a successful Entrepreneur who grew his vertical market software company to over $2 Million in annual revenues.  He now works with small business owners to help them experience exponential growth. For the past 10 years Bob has worked with small businesses to automate their practices with a focus on improving profitability, streamlining operations and increasing business development opportunities.  Through his seminars & speaking engagements, he has successfully built a market niche with customer centric product features & an understanding of the relationship between ideas, marketing, sales and customer service.



Do you have a question for Bob?  Please visit our Small Business Owner Community, he will be happy to help: Ask an Expert


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Comments (2)

Michael E. Wells III posted on: May 25, 2013

Good luck my friend. You learn sales skills as a child.

sales management strategies posted on: September 20, 2013

Identify team goals and objectives Set realistic targets for your team. Place yourself on the sales end and think if the goal is achievable. Also set a timeline to achieve the set targets.

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