Small Business Basics
Sales Methods

(Date posted: March 18, 2009)

This page of business basics explains various ways of getting customers to buy your product.

This includes getting your initial customers when first starting your business, selling additional products to your existing customers, and using your existing customers to get new customers. The following steps should help you make sales to your customers.

Here are the steps:

Introduction to the sales process
Getting prospects
Making the offer
Closing the sale
Leveraging existing customers

Part of being able to make sales to customers is understanding how a business operates. Other pages in this Small Business Basics section can help you in this endeavor.


IMPORTANT

Before using this information to start a business be sure to read the following notice: Disclaimer

Introduction to the sales process

Customers are willing to pay to get their needs and desires satisfied. However, they are wary of buying from strangers. (They have been cheated and lied to so many times.) So you need to overcome their suspicions.

When getting your first customers, be more concerned with them than yourself. Do everything you can to deliver a quality product. Be sure the customers understand what you are promising. Then do whatever is needed to fulfill that promise.

Different people have different assumptions, attitudes, beliefs, motivations, and preferences. Study your likely customers. Get to know them well. Then you will understand what motivates them and how to meet their needs and desires. Put their needs ahead of your needs.

Before you try to get any customers, be sure you can deliver a quality product. This is a product your likely customers can afford and that has the features they desire.

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Getting prospects

There are various ways to get prospects. But the main idea is to place enticing company and product information in places where they frequent.

Here are some ways to reach out to prospects:

Place classified ads in local newspapers.

Send out a news release to your local newspaper announcing the opening of your business. (But you need to include something of interest besides just the business opening.)

Set up a website to promote your product.

Print up some flyers describing your company and its products. Post the flyers on bulletin boards, hand them out to the public, hang them on outside doorknobs, or mail them to potential customers.

Call on established business firms in your area and ask them to refer small customers to you. (This would be customers they don't want to bother with themselves.)

Write one or more articles for your local newspaper about useful or interesting information related to your business. (You would naturally include your name and telephone number in any such article.)

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Making the offer

You need a Sales offer that should appeal to your likely customers.

You have to appeal to both the needs and desires of your prospective customers. Needs are those common sense features that let your prospects explain why they purchased something. Desires are those emotional hot buttons that motivate your prospects to take action.

The sales proposition should also eliminate any risk or possible loss that prospects might suffer when buying your product. Thus, you might offer a money-back guarantee, delayed payment, or payment with a credit card. You also might want to offer various ways to customize the product to suit the specific needs of certain customers.

You may be able to include the sales offer with your "reaching out" material. Or you may have the prospective customer contact you to receive the sales offer.

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Closing the sale

If you are just starting out in business, you may need to offer a low price. However, reassure the prospect that you can deliver a quality product at this price. Thus your sales offer might include these points:

  • The money they will save by buying your low-cost product
  • Your emphasis on customer satisfaction
  • Your expertise in producing and delivering a quality product

Note: having expertise means that you have acquired a certain amount of knowledge and experience in producing and delivering the product. See Chapter 10: Learn New Skills in my free Magic Success Secrets ebook.

When using a low price to get customers, you need some way to justify it without losing your credibility. You might offer a special price for a limited time. You might say you are lowering your price to get to satisfied customers who can provide testimonials. You might run some kind of a contest that allows for the lower price.

When closing the sale, you usually want to motivate the prospect to take immediate action. (Actions put off until later often result in lost sales.)

Here are some ways to encourage immediate action:

Make it easy for the prospect to order the product. You might provide an 800 number for ordering using a credit card. You might provide a coupon with blanks ready to fill out.

Give the prospect some incentive for immediate action. There might be a limited time period to take advantage of a low price or other special features.

Place some hot buttons at the beginning and end of your sales proposition. You want the prospect to get excited and to feel an urgent desire to order the product.

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Leveraging existing customers

There are two ways to leverage your existing customers. One way is to develop new products for those same customers. Another way is to use those customers to help you find new customers. (I am assuming that your existing customers are satisfied with your product and the way you do business.)

Developing new products

The easiest sales are to your existing customers. You already know what they want, and they know they can rely on you. So, you would develop new products to complement your existing product. Then you would simply solicit your existing customers to buy these new products.

Finding new customers

Your existing customers can help you find new customers in several ways. They might provide testimonials that could help you solicit new customers. They might earn bonuses for showing your product to their friends and relatives. You might pay them finder fees for providing names of prospects.

If your existing customers are really satisfied with your product and the way you do business, they will give you the best kind of help. This is "word of mouth" promotion.

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