Sales can be a little like parenting.
There’s love, hate (ok, dislike), joy, pain, and the very real possibility that you’ll pour everything you have into it and things still won’t turn out how you had planned.
But, as with everything, that doesn’t mean your best course of action is to throw in the towel, give up, and hope for the best. Instead, you research, you learn how to make a better connection, you seek advice, and many of us straight up pray!
There’s not much more we’ll offer when it comes to parenting, except as Red Green says, “Remember, I’m pullin’ for you. We’re all in this together.”
When it comes to sales, however, here are a few tips to help you increase your chance of making a connection.
Sales are really just a simple exchange of goods.
Sometimes you’re the giver, and sometimes you’re the receiver. If you give something, it’s human nature to expect something in return. If you receive something, you feel obliged to reciprocate.
Many won’t admit it, but most of us have a mental tally going as to whether our next step with a particular person is to give or to receive. This will become increasingly more evident over the next couple of months with Christmas.
Did the Johnson’s send us a Christmas card? No? Well, then we don’t need to send them one. Sally from the office gave me a nice, little meat and cheese tray. I should get her something to return the favor.
In sales, you can use this line of thinking to your advantage by leaving the ball in the court of your customers, especially when it comes to repeat business. For example, if a customer purchases a printing order from you, the exchange is complete if they give you money and you give them printing. But, consider instantly starting the cycle again by including a free gift or other small “extra.” It will immediately put the sales ball back in their court and cause them to want to return the favor.
Sales are made by those who provide the quickest and easiest way to ease a pain point.
Your customers and prospects are overwhelmed. They’re in a hurry. They want to order printing and be done with it. The last thing they want to be is uncertain.
Successful print businesses are helpful print businesses. They put answers to any potential questions at the fingertips of their customers. For you, this might look something like this:
Dennis is a business owner looking for a way to enable anyone in his company to order printing quickly and easily. He’s heard a rumor about something his local print company offers – something about a branded website that makes it look like he has his own private printing department in house but it’s actually a behind-the-scenes connection straight to this print shop. He visits the print company’s website but can’t find any information other than something that says “Private Label Websites available.” Dennis walks away frustrated and confides in a co-worker, “I wish there was some information about what a Private Label Website really was and how it could benefit my company.”
Another great example would be paper options. How do online visitors to your site know which paper would best fit their project? If you want to increase your chances for sales, look for ways like this that you can go above and beyond to be helpful and make the ordering process easier for your customers.
Some of the greatest sale success stories come from product-in-hand trials.
This has become increasingly clear with success from companies like the clothing subscription service Stitch Fix or even Amazon’s new Try-Before-You-Buy Prime Wardrobe program. Seeing, touching, and experiencing have a profound impact on the decision to purchase. It’s important not to neglect this thought when it comes to using direct mail advertising either. It follows this same principle.
To get prospects and customers to get some skin in the game, move them along towards a goal in small steps. Your goal is to build their investment in your company, which ultimately leads to more sales.
Those steps could be as simple as:
By working on getting them hands-on with your products, they’ll slowly begin to increase their commitment to you one thing at a time.
You’d think we all would’ve made it past the “Do you like me? Check yes or no,” that might still haunt the dreams of some of us, but unfortunately, it still applies today.
If you want to make a connection and land the sale, your customers and prospects need to like you.
When they like you, they’ll connect with you.
When they connect with you, they’ll learn to trust you.
When they trust you, they’ll buy from you.
So, how do you get your audience to fall in “like” with your business? Three words: Tell your story.
Recently, Derek Brooks of Brandywine Printing wrote a blog post that expressed that he got into the printing business and is still in it today because of the connection it brings with his dad. That story resonates with many of us, and it instantly makes Derek and Brandywine more likable.
Work on telling your story through your branding and your “About Us” page on your website. Give your customers and prospects the ability to see themselves in your story, to identify with it and with your brand. Determine your target audience, what would best speak to them, and work on that connection.
When all is said and done, remember what Brian Solis says, “It’s not business to consumer, it’s not business to business, it’s people to people.”