Common selling mistakes small businesses make and how to avoid them

In such a tough financial climate, many small businesses are suffering from the sales blues. With customers curbing their spending, businesses are resorting to cheesy sales techniques to close the deal. Nothing could be more repulsive or deter a client more, and as a result they will take their business elsewhere. All it takes to revive that bottom line is some simple but effective communication.

Clearly, the primary objective is for your business to survive in tough times or if you’re innovative enough, actually capitalise on the current climate.  No cash, no company – we get that.  But knee jerk reactions or begging isn’t going to do you any favours when it comes to closing deals.

Don’t turn to desperation, turn to communication:

  • Ask questions:  Spend enough time asking the customer questions and find out the emotional reason why they should buy. People buy emotionally and then back it up logically. This is not a natural talent, it’s a skill that can be learnt. If you feel your staff can’t do this – train them – as this is one of the most fundamental basics to selling.
  • Open right: Stop focusing on the close and open more effectively. Get a process using the visual, auditory and kinaesthetic process. Most adults use one of these three methods as their predominant means to understand communication. Using a mix of all three in the way you communicate means you’ll be able to get through to just about anyone.
  • Build trust through effective communication:  People buy from those they like and trust. In these uncertain times, trust is even more prevalent than usual, because businesses are being so careful with their cash. To build trust, sales professionals need to be able to communicate effectively.  Sales people need to have a dialogue with the customer, actively listen to their needs and build common ground very quickly.
  • Discover the point of pain:  Through asking questions and actively listening you should be able to find the customer’s point of pain or discomfort. It is on this basis that you can establish the compelling reason why the company needs your product or service. If you can make your product or service the solution to the customer’s pain or discomfort, then you’re much closer to closing. Once you confirm this, and only then, can you start talking about price.
  • Use green brain language:  You don’t want to activate the red brain – this is the side that will stop the sale. Words that turn this side of the brain on are those like ‘all you have to pay is’ or ‘the terms of the contract are’.  You need to appeal to the green side of the brain. For instance ‘to fix that up for you, all we need is’ or ‘to get you started right away, we’ll help you sort out the paperwork first’.

Once you master sales and communication, you’ll uncover customer pains and present a solution in a compelling way. Sales decisions will be made faster and your own business pains will ease.

Steve Jensen is a founder of, and master trainer at the National Sales Academy, teaching company directors, small business owners, managers and sales professionals how to boost their profits and earning capacity. www.nationalsalesacademy.com.au

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