The longer you’re in business, the more you realize that the only constant is change. You may be enjoying strong sales across a broad customer base, but those conditions could be far different in just a matter of months. A competitor’s offer may tempt your customers to try something different. Organizational and operational changes may require you to build relationships with new people from scratch.
While there are to approach these challenges, all share the same fundamental elements—good selling habits. For example, it’s important for your business to approach selling with a positive, service-minded attitude that focuses on your customer’s needs, desires and expectations. How do you get these valuable insights? Ask them. Most people love to talk about themselves, and what you learn will help you adjust your sales and service tactics accordingly.
Keeping the attention on them, rather than you, will also help you tune in to why they buy, or why they don’t. Plus, if you take time to listen and ask questions, customers will start to think of you and your business as a valued resource, rather than just a selling machine. You can easily show that you are willing to help the customer by anticipating what they need and having answers to potential objections.
Train yourself and your employees to smile. It’s easy to get grumpy or cynical if sales go south. But that’s when a good attitude becomes most important. Don’t be afraid to take a risk or try out a new approach from time to time. It could be a new marketing pitch or advertising channel. When operating a business in today’s competitive world, the greater risk is in thinking that the status quo will suffice.
Remember too that today’s customers have higher expectations than ever before. You can’t accommodate everybody’s needs, but automatically declining an unusual request will get you nowhere. By adopting a positive, can-do attitude, your mind will instinctively be alert to ways for doing things that once might have seemed unreasonable. That will ensure your customers keep coming back and, just as important, keep recommending you to others.
To learn more about sales and marketing issues facing your small business, contact SCORE "Counselors to America's Small Business." SCORE is a nonprofit organization of more than 10,500 volunteer business counselors who provide free, confidential business counseling and training workshops to small business owners. Call 1.800.634.0245 for the SCORE chapter nearest you, or find a counselor online at www.score.org.