It takes a lot of guts and grit to build a foundation for your business and achieve the growth you desire. Training yourself on effective sales techniques can prop your business and spur your growth, both online and offline. As a sales entrepreneur, you need crystal clear processes that most effectively take buyers through the sales funnel.
The most successful sales associates refine their techniques through trial and error throughout their careers. However, there are two primary sales techniques that every entrepreneur needs to grasp early on to be successful.
Effective Cold Calling
Meaning to solicit to prospects who haven’t expressed any interest in buying from you, cold calling is an important approach for entrepreneurs. When launching your business, very few people know your company, products, or services. It makes sense, then, that cold calling will most likely be the first technique you will use to build up your customer base.
Pitching to a stranger who has never heard of your company or is blind to your products/services is one of the toughest challenges an entrepreneur may ever have to face in their journey. Yet, cold calling has stood the test of time as one of the most successful sales techniques. Most sales training online will include at least one module focused on cold calling.
Unfortunately for the sales rep, potential customers tend to hate unsolicited intrusions. To increase your chances of success in cold calling:
- Focus on building rapport rather than making an immediate sale.
- Use questions to paint a picture, matching your offers with the prospects’ needs.
- Follow sales scripts and slides like someone who cares. Using your scripts as a basis but focusing on being engaging and personable is a more effective approach for keeping potential customers interested. Personality is often more important than being word-perfect.
- Schedule your calls to times when prospects are more likely to speak with you. For instance, Monday mornings may not be the best time as people are busy setting up their weekly schedules. Wednesday and Thursday mornings work better since people have settled into their work week and the rush for the weekend is yet to begin.
- Don’t waste anyone’s time, including your own. Train yourself and your staff to qualify and disqualify leads early.
There’s a story about Donald, a farmer whose tractor broke down during the busy farming season. Immediately, he decided to walk three miles to his neighbor, Jackson, to borrow their tractor for a few hours.
After the first mile, Donald started worrying about whether Jackson’s tractor will be available. “Maybe Jackson won’t be willing to lend it to me if he needs it himself,” he mused.
After the second mile, Donald worried even more about how Jackson’s tractor is worth lots of money. “He may not trust me with it, especially since I crashed my own,” ran his thoughts. On the third mile, Donald now worried whether Jackson even liked him. “I bumped into him in the market last week and he barely acknowledged me. I doubt he likes me, and he surely won’t lend me that tractor.”
So when he rang the bell and Jackson opened, Donald blurted out, with eyes bulging, “You can take your damn tractor and drive yourself off a cliff!”
The lesson for sales associates is that while it’s important to anticipate objections, don’t let self-doubt lose you an opportunity. Instead, envision how you will overcome any client objections that arise. What new entrepreneurs quickly learn is that people can often be cynics. Many prospects will express doubts and will question your accuracy, legitimacy, and motivations.
An effective online sales training technique is to anticipate and prepare for your prospects’ objections. Plan how you will ease your prospect’s fears and ward off their cynicism before they get in the way of your sale. Don’t give in to your own cynicism.
With experience, you learn that objections can signal a prospect is connected, but far from persuaded. If a prospect indicates they’re not ready to buy, don’t be discouraged. Instead:
- Be all ears and listen fully to the objection. Avoid making assumptions and do not react defensively.
- Understand the underlying issues. Ask questions to clarify and restate the prospect’s response to confirm that you’re on the same page.
- Address the most important objection first and do your best to resolve the prospect’s issues fast.
- After addressing objections, check with the prospect that you’ve satisfied all their concerns.
The two sales techniques of cold calling and overcoming objections work hand in hand, especially during the early stages of your entrepreneurial journey. While online sales training can equip you with the right knowledge, experience will be the ultimate determinant of whether you succeed or fail.