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Archive: Apr 2019

Top 5 sales tips for small business owners

Posted: April 18, 2019 2:57 pm
If you have a small business then effective selling is going to be an essential skill to acquire. This not only applies to actual sales but also being able to pitch your business to those who might be able to support it, from investors through to media. If selling is always something that you’ve struggled with there are plenty of ways that you can improve your ability in this area – starting with these top 5 sales tips for small business owners.  

1. Get to know your sales cycle

Breaking down the sales cycle into a series of manageable steps can be incredibly helpful when it comes to improve sales performance. Understanding the sales cycle will give you the tools to begin better controlling it, and shortening it where possible. With in-depth understanding of the stages of the sales cycle it’s much simpler to start reducing the time it takes to get to the end of it.

2. Define your USP

“Unique Selling Point” is essentially what sets your business apart from the competition. This may be something that you’re already familiar with as a result of going through the process of setting the enterprise up but it’s helpful to define this in a single statement. The USP can feed into many different areas, from strategy to marketing and will be crucial for informing sales pitches and targeting sales strategy.

3. Craft an elevator pitch

An elevator pitch has a myriad of different uses – it’s essentially a short statement of what the business is and what it does. It comes from the idea that you should be able to pitch your business in the time it takes to ride the elevator. That means condensing down your statement of intent into somewhere around 30 seconds long. Once you become practiced at an elevator pitch you can use it for many different purposes when communicating about the business – crucially, it can be the foundation for opening a cold call or a sales pitch.

4. Become a smart negotiator

The best negotiators are not those who wipe the floor with the opposition but individuals who are able to make everyone feel like they have won when they walk away from the table. Good negotiation requires resilience and the ability to think quickly, to ask questions and understand what it is that is required to help close a sale. Smart negotiators are always well informed, about the products or services as well as the client or customer. They also understand the value of patience and compromise.

5. Learn how to deal with objections

Sales are not always easy to achieve and there may be a number of objections to overcome first. Identifying these in advance offers the opportunity to prepare responses to these objections so that they don’t derail the sale. There are a number of different elements involved in improving sales performance for small business owners. Our Introduction to Sales course provides the ideal foundation for those who are looking to expand and develop this particular skill set.  

Top sales tips for new sellers

Posted: April 11, 2019 3:20 pm
If you’re new to the world of sales then you have all the benefits of a fresh attitude and plenty of enthusiasm – and a long and exciting career ahead. However, you may also feel a little lost in terms of where to start and how to begin developing a technique that really works. These top sales tips are designed to help you start finding your way. Put yourself in the customer’s shoes Sometimes it’s only when we hear ourselves selling that we really notice what’s missing from a sales pitch – or where we’re being too aggressive, or not firm enough. So, as you start to learn the ropes in sales, it’s essential to be able to put yourself in the customer’s shoes and appreciate your approach from their point of view. You could even go so far as to record yourself so that you can hear what you might sound like to someone else. Keep an eye on your pace Although you might be enthusiastic to get to the point of actually making a sale – and feel like you have a lot of information to impart – most prospects will resist any attempts to move too fast through the sales process. Slowing down the pace of the conversation not only ensures that you don’t turn someone off from what you’re saying but also provides more of an opportunity to understand what they need from you. Rushing things will make you sound anxious and undermine your credibility. Focus on outcomes Your product or service may not be that inherently interesting to the person you’re trying to sell it to. However, if you focus on illustrating the outcomes that could be achieved with that product or service then you have a way to spark interest. What is it that this prospect needs and how could that need be met by what you’re offering? If you can answer that question then you’re almost guaranteed a sale. Personalise your contact Anyone on the receiving end of a generic sales pitch is highly likely simply to switch off. You can differentiate your approach by personalising the conversation i.e. making it individually relevant to the person that you’re speaking to. Often, this requires some pre-conversation research, whether that’s looking into the business or the individual you’re going to be having the conversation with. It’s an essential way to make yourself relevant – and to increase the potential of a positive response. Be creative – and don’t give up It can take up to 10 attempts to see success with a corporate account – and many sellers give up long before this point. Sometimes all you really need to do is just to keep going. Remember that there are multiple channels through which you can plan your approach, from telephone and email to seminars and social media. Be creative and resourceful and keep going. Solid foundations pave the way for a great future in sales – our Introduction to Sales course is the ideal way to prepare yourself so that you can make it in sales. Get in touch with PTP today for all your training needs.

How to deal with difficult employees

Posted: April 4, 2019 3:17 pm
In every manager’s career there will be at least one employee who could be categorised as “difficult.” That could be someone who isn’t a team player, who is struggling in productivity terms or who just doesn’t quite do what is expected of them. Handling difficult employees is a skill that every manager has to learn to avoid situations that escalate into something much more significant than they need to be. There are some simple ways to deal with someone who is not doing well.

Ask them what’s happening

If you’re dealing with a difficult employee the temptation may be to simply write them off as useless. You might always assume that they will perform ineffectively or interact badly – and often, as a result, they continue to do so. That’s why it’s so important to sit down and ask employees who are being difficult what’s going on. There could be any number of reasons why someone is behaving as they are but the only way to help them move on from it is to find out what’s behind it.

Provide feedback and keep records

It’s important to take a structured approach to difficult employees. That means keeping records of issues – and of progress – so that you have something to refer back to, whether that’s during discussions with the employee or if a situation arises where you have to take action against them. Regular feedback is crucial too, as it is an opportunity to give an employee the chance to improve by highlighting issues and then providing proactive, positive steps to take towards change.

Set standards – and stick to them

Employees need to understand what’s required of them and that means taking a consistent approach to standards of performance and behaviour. If timeliness is crucial, for example, then don’t make exceptions for some people and not others. What you do, as opposed to what you say, will be incredibly important here. It’s also key to show difficult employees that there are consequences to certain actions. Always provide a warning of consequences – i.e. if behaviour doesn’t improve by a specific date then the consequences will kick in – and if you’ve mentioned consequences, make sure you follow through on them.

Manage yourself during the process

If an employee has upset you, made your morning difficult or caused a problem that is affecting your day-to-day experience it can be tempting to start complaining about them to anyone who will listen. However, it’s far better to avoid talking them down to others and work on boosting your own self confidence and esteem instead. Stick to the processes your company has for handling difficult employees and don’t allow yourself to get overly emotional or upset.

Take the hard decisions if you have to

It’s not easy to fire someone but if it’s obvious that this is the only real solution to the current situation then it’s better to step up and tackle it, rather than let things fester. Every manager can learn how to handle challenging employees – our Managing Difficult Staffing Situations course is a great place to start.