We have said it before, and we will say it again. Selling is an art that can be taught, mastered, and polished over time.
Any business aims to maximise its profits for its owners and stakeholders while still maintaining corporate social responsibility. Business growth and development is the result of healthy sales.
Although it is a crucial part of any business, closing sales and gaining profit cannot be the sole reason for businesses to exist. This concept is more evident especially among service-based businesses.
The principal challenge of service-based businesses is to balance the interests and parties that are affected by the business. It would be ideal that service-based businesses should put their customers and employees’ interest before those of shareholders in order to promote economic development and growth. Not just for themselves, but for their communities as well.
The mantra everyone should follow is to be able to create social progress as well as create profits. In a nutshell, corporate social responsibility shows the fact that business, consumers, and society/community are part of a shared ecosystem. The long-term health of his ecosystem must be maintained above all else.
For any business, a plan to achieve a sales goal and what directs the selling process activities, is a sales strategy. To achieve success, this plan/s of action must be orchestrated, which is what the sales strategy does.
One of the observations we have observed working with sales driven organisations is the positive impact of a well-constructed sales strategy have on the performance of these businesses.
A sales strategy can be considered a road map to winning and success, retain existing customers, and gaining new ones. We must point out that a sales strategy is different from a marketing strategy.
A marketing strategy is an overall approach to marketing a product or service. On the other hand, a sales strategy is a blueprint for success in developing sales.
Without a sales strategy, the company, and their sales team, will struggle to obtain the focus needed for successful selling.
What is a Sales Strategy for Service Based Businesses?
When service businesses think of strategies, they usually consider outbound and direct techniques, for example, messages that are sent straight to prospective clients and customers.
The goal, in this approach, is to be compelling and persuasive so that your target audience responds to and engages with the service you are offering. The arrival of digital marketing caused the evolution of marketing in general. Likewise, the behaviour of service buyers has changed.
They are now more likely to find a service provider, and most probably read client reviews to evaluate their services. This, in fact, broadened the range of service strategies at your disposal. To stay competitive in the service industry, it would mean taking the fullest advantage of a variety of sales strategies.
For a sales strategy to be more successful, consider the following tips.
1. Ask questions, listen, and understand what motivates your clients.
A sales process is a set of repeatable processes that a salesperson executes to lead a prospect and drive them to purchase. A typical sales process involves prospecting, qualifying, discovering customer needs, negotiating, and closing.
This would be an ideal checklist if your customers are automatons being led through an assembly line. But, this is just so.
Selling today is not a predictable progression of events on how your prospects and customers should buy. What you’re up against is a customer journey. Not only should you be asking relevant questions, but you also have to listen to series of questions your buyers are asking as well.
You should identify what motivates your clients to address their specific business goals. You should be flexible and nimble enough from being program-centric with a one-size-fits-all sales strategy, you need to be problem-centric.
Which means for you to address the specific needs of your clients, as they arise, with situationally relevant messages, content, and the expertise to deliver them.
2. Showcase your full potential and always over-deliver.
It is all too often that salespeople base their messages on the needs that prospects tell them they have. What they do next is to provide the needs to corresponding capabilities, in a standard “solution selling” fashion.
The problem with this approach is that you fall into a commodity messaging trap, like all your competitors. It is highly likely that they are constructing their approach in response to the same set of inputs provided by the customer.
This results in you are being just like everyone else, that only plants indecisiveness among your prospects and without the urgency to enact change. Not only will you have to display your full potential but extend beyond what has been identified needs and also solve for those.
Introduce issues or opportunities your client might have missed or have underappreciated, or worse, don’t even have the clue about. You then connect these findings you have identified to your strengths and expertise that is uniquely suited to resolve your customer’s concerns.
A provocative messaging approach to address these for your clients enhances your persuasive impact by as much as 10 percent.
3. Stand out.
To be of real value to your customers, it’s not enough to ask them what they require and provide that need outright. Asking prospects discovery questions, diagnosing their needs, and presenting a solution that fits to solve their pain point, does for you and your customer a disservice.
Most sales and marketing teams puts in their effort on customer acquisition and demand generation. More likely, your annual revenue might be coming from existing customers through renewals and upsells.
What are your competitors not doing? Or perhaps, what standard industry practice can you do better than them? Every business must consider how it can create, build, and protect a strong competitive position.
Develop proprietary technologies in delivering services, and more importantly, build a solid reputation for the company. When you sell a service, you must be seen as being an effective leader in your field.
Your clients, and prospective ones, must be able to trust that you can deliver the service, the solution, and more.
4. Tell your story visually.
‘Show don’t tell’ is probably the most common piece of storytelling advice out there. This would also mean allowing your prospects to engage with your visual elements without forcing a reaction.
The power of images to tell a story and enhance learning has been proven in numerous studies. Humans are visual creatures. This is enhanced by the fact that the human brain can comprehend visual content doubly faster than text-based content.
Sending your message across with paired images and words creates a visual narrative that evokes emotions and makes not only the content more memorable. Will your story be informative? Will they help clarify what it is you do? What will your prospects feel about your story?
Incorporating great visuals in telling your story is a great way to create a viral marketing campaign.
5. Overcoming objections in sales.
Perhaps the toughest aspect of any sales position is how to overcome sales objections. Regardless of if you offer a service or in the retail business, your goal is to have a convincing response to the roadblocks standing between you and making that sale.
Below are types of sales objections you need to overcome.
- Budget – Demonstrate the value of your service or product. Regardless of whom you target, pricing is one of the most common objections for sale. Instead of offering a fast discount, look for creative ways to show the unique value of what you offer.
- Bottom line: Give examples of how your service (or product) will solve a problem for the customer.
- Authority – It can seem like an outright dismissal when a customer state they need to consult their superiors or partners before making a decision. Always respect their position but consider that this is an opportunity to get other decision makers in the room.
- Bottom line: Keep the process moving by setting up a joint meeting with both parties, and why not transition the sale to the final decision-maker altogether.
- Need – Fear of change is a normal reaction; you would have to calm your customer’s concern by showing positive changes within your client’s industry to enhance their boost of confidence.
- Bottom line: It is essential to spend some time outlining the problem or opportunity at hand.
- Timeliness – How many times have you heard: “Contact me in a few months when we…” In this scenario, it is your goal to make them commit, now. Show why it would be more advantageous for them to close in a specific window of time. Make it clear that they might miss out on a great opportunity.
- Bottom line: Show why making the purchase now is the best decision.
- Value – If your customer is reluctant or does not see the value of what you offer, it shows lack of trust or a certainty in what you’re offering. To overcome this, you must build up your credibility with the buyer.
- Bottom line: Trust is critical in a healthy business relationship.
Service-based businesses exist to help people. And no matter what you provide, there are people and other businesses out there that will always need your services. It is just a matter of being strategic with your marketing efforts.
The Growth Manager can help you take that step to realise your company’s potential and reignite the passion you have for the business you started. Let us help you reignite your creativity with our Guide to Sales in our Sales Mentoring Package, designed to teach you proven techniques that work. Join us and let’s get started on your Sales Journey.