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Steven Pun's small business selling guide: Part 1
As XLN’s Head of Field Sales, I know a thing or two about selling. But I also know a thing or two about small businesses. I know what makes them tick and what their pain points are.
Because my team and I speak to thousands of business owners every single week, I am in a unique position to understand the challenges business owners face. Selling – whether it’s shifting stock or signing customers up for services – is one of them.
The field sales channel here at XLN is flying. It’s the fastest growing channel in the whole company and the company itself is one of the fastest growing businesses in the UK. So, with my expert sales knowledge and specialist small business insight, I’m going to share my top sales tips for small businesses with you in this exclusive two-part series.
First up, let’s talk about sales scripts:
Scripts are important because without one you risk sounding unprofessional. It’s better to be prepared ahead of time to answer questions, overcome objections and close the sale than stumble over your words or use the wrong messaging.
Salespeople that practice a script ahead of time make their speech intonation and flow more natural and professional. Quality scripts help eliminate the awkwardness of a sale. They help you feel prepared, leaving you with the capacity to listen to the customer and focus on making the sale.
Do not sound like a salesperson
Make your sales script sound real. It should read like you speak. After all, you don’t want to sound like a pesky sales rep. You want to sound like a trusted advisor that has important information about a valuable product or service.
Remember, it’s all about engaging in a meaningful conversation and not preaching. Incorporate your value proposition with industry jargon, but keep it simple. Create your sales script to flow with normal speech. Speak the language of the customer.
Once the script is written, practice, practice, practice. The best way to sound natural is to read the script aloud several times. When it comes time to use the script, it won’t sound like reading, it will sound like two people having a conversation and exchanging information.
Writing the script
A good sales script can make or break a sale, but writing an effective script isn’t easy. There are generally four stages to incorporate:
The introduction, or the opening, is all about establishing your credentials. “We specialise in” and “We’re known for” help to let the customer know that you have a reputation as an expert.
I tell my sales agents that they should talk for 30% of the time and listen 70% of the time. Your customers want to be listened to, not sold to. Listen carefully to what they say and let them tell you what they want.
When you do ask questions, ask open-ended ones. The goal of engagement is to understand your customer’s challenges or issues so you can determine how your product or service can become the solution.
- Handling objections
The most challenging part of any sale is overcoming objections. And be warned, there are many that your customers can and will come up with. Just remember, objections shouldn’t be looked at it in fear, they should be seen as an opportunity to sell.
Have a think about some of the objections your customers give and note down some tactical responses which keep the conversation flowing and the sale on the table.
Finally, the most important part of the whole process: making the sale. A general rule for all types of businesses, products, services and customers, is to attempt to close a sale when your customer exhibits any one of these buying signals:
- Probing questions — asking detailed questions about the product
- Mental possession — talking about the product as if they own it
- Asking for opinions — including another person in the meeting for feedback
- Comprehensive evaluation — investing a lot of time looking at your product
- Constant agreement — saying yes and showing enthusiasm
As soon as you spot any of these, don’t hang around. Attempt to close the sale quickly in case the customer changes their mind or you somehow talk yourself out of the sale.