Ask SCORE: How can I improve my selling skills?

As the owner of a small business, you may be struggling with a frustrating reality. You are confident that you have excellent products and services, but people aren’t just lining up to buy them.

You know that you can solve problems for your customers and deliver significant value for a reasonable price. All you have to do is convince them to place an order.

Unfortunately, sales skills don’t come naturally to everyone, but they are essential if you want to build relationships with potential customers and generate orders for your products and services. 

Fortunately, with a solid strategy, you can improve your sales skills and boost your confidence when talking with prospects about your company’s offerings.

Here are six tips for business owners who want to improve their sales skills.

Don’t jump right into a sales pitch, open the door to a conversation. Learn to be better listener. By talking less and giving your customer room to discuss their challenges, you can build trust and demonstrate that you are there to help rather than drone on and on about what you’re selling.

Focus on solving problems for your customers. If you can demonstrate how your products and services will save time, reduce workloads, cut costs, etc., people will be far more willing to listen and learn about what you have to offer.

Make customer service a priority. Remember that keeping your existing customers happy is one of the best ways to attract new orders and referrals. Word of mouth will always be one of the most effective sales tools.

Focus on upselling. Existing customers who already know your value are an easier sell than convincing new prospects to take a chance. Take opportunities to leverage your relationships with satisfied customers and see if there are additional challenges you can help them overcome.

Realize that not all leads are good leads. You will waste time and lose motivation if you chase leads that aren’t a good fit for your solutions. Set criteria for identifying whether or not a lead is a viable prospect before you spend a lot of time trying to nurture a relationship.

Realize that it takes time. Sales cycles vary depending on the type of product or service and your target audience. For example, selling big-ticket technology products will nearly always have a longer sales cycle than selling office stationary. Patience is key. Don’t expect to close a sale on the first or second contact with your prospects. B2B selling often requires multiple conversations before customers will sign on the dotted line.

At the end of the day, people buy things that help them solve problems. If you reach out to the right people and show them how your products and services will solve their problems, you will make the sale.

If you want to explore ways you can improve your selling skills, reach out to Kitsap SCORE and speak with a mentor. We can direct you to live workshops, pre-recorded webinars, or articles written by sales specialists.