Immediate Steps To Better Sales For The Small Businesses

Feb. 1, 2017

Nothing speaks to a business owner quite like sales. It's a subject that crosses the different segments of our industry, from office coffee service to micro markets. At the 2016 CTW event in Nashville, TN, some excellent sales strategy advice was presented by David Marler, vice president sales and marketing at LightSpeed Automation. Marler presented simple, yet clever strategies for the small business owner that work because of psychology and common sense. His one-two punch to increase sales is built on five common sense truths followed by actionable advice.

The five common sense truths:

#1 No One Wants To Be "Sold"

Marler pointed out that none of us really like to feel we are being sold, no matter what we are buying. That is why he says that activities such as telemarketing and direct mail marketing don’t always produce leads.

#2 Facts Tell, Stories Sell

Instead of traditional marketing, Marler suggests it is time for operators to become story tellers. People connect through stories, and it’s this connection -- the emotional response -- that produces sales. At the heart of the story should be the USP - unique selling proposition. This is what makes the operator, and his or her operation, different.

#3 Don't Sell To Clients You Know Won't Buy

Armed with a story, operators still need to define their ideal client. Is it truly every location? Is there a certain geographic area? A perfect employee size? Marler pointed out that a good sales strategy revolves around the operator determining who the ideal customer is for his or her product or service. Then the focus should be on selling to those people...again and again.

It usually takes more than one interaction with a lead to turn into a sale. Marler shared with the group a sales statistics from the National Sales Executive Association. Only 2 percent of sales are made on the first contact. It goes up a little for the second, third and fourth contact, but most, 80 percent, of sales are made on the fifth to twelfth contact. It’s important that sales people don’t give up!

#4 Your Customers Are Your Best Sales Force

The ideal sales prospect comes through an existing customer. Why? Because people buy from those they know and trust. An operator's customer is the ideal candidate to tell the operation's story, provide validation for the service and give a stamp of approval. Marler's advice: Instead of spending money on more sales people, operator's should incentivize their customers with gift cards, free product, trips and travel or other meaningful and sincere rewards.

#5 Everyone Loves A Party

Event marketing is the most effective way for a small business to reach qualified prospects, share their story and grow the business. Marler recommends choosing high quality events with an opportunity to talk one on one with prequalified prospects or one where the operator can tell his or her story to many prequalified people at once.

The One-Two Punch

The take-away from these five principles is a two-step sales process and an achievable sales strategy. For the sales process, the first step is to use customers to do your prospecting. The second is to use your story to close the deal.

How does this translate to an active strategy? Marler recommends creating an event. Then incentivizing customers to bring new prospects with them. Tell your story. Give the prospects a reason to give you their contact information and then follow up with them...forever.

These strategies resonated with many of the OCS providers in the CTW session. Based on common sense and a modern sales approach it's one more trick to have in your marketing arsenal.