Sales A to Z

ABS for business safety

In motoring terms ABS is the technology that stops wheels from locking under hard braking, which means that they do not lose grip and the car will not simply slide into an obstruction. The device has saved many lives and countless costs of repairs. It is a vital safety factor and no modern car should be without ABS. In entrepreneurial business there is another, equally vital ABS: Always Be Selling. Read on to find out more.

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After-sales service: fact or fiction?

As a consumer, I get the impression that after-sales service is something granted to us by businesses as a favour, and not a right to which we are entitled. This article will take a closer look at this thorny issue. In doing so, it highlights a few general principles of after-sales service, including not criminalising clients who want to return a faulty product or have it replaced, among other principles.

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Better Business Practice

Each business offers a primary product or service upon which the business needs to focus. Better Business Practice offers a comprehensive strategic and financial service support to empower business owners to concentrate on their main source of revenue. No business is perfect, but can be improved incrementally. To compete and remain feasible it is essential to aspire to better the business that you practise. Practising better business is also not only about PROFIT, for a business to be truly successful it is important to consider other business objectives.

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Build your top line in tough times

We know that we ourselves cannot change external factors, specifically referring to the economy on this occasion. What we can do is change our attitude and become more opportunity driven. Most other businesses around you will be cutting back, increasing discounts and accept poor sales as the norm. However, now is actually the perfect time to creep through the back door and react positively to the economic downturn. What we are saying is; work smarter, secure new business and expand your market now. Here's how.

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Closing the sale

Closing a sale – getting your prospect to say yes – can sometimes be as easy as asking for it. Once you've laid the foundation by qualifying your prospect, discovering their needs, and showing how your product/service meets those needs, it's time to ask for the order. Ready to close the deal but need some pointers? These tips can help you make this process easy and natural.

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Find your highest potential customers

The 80/20 rule – that 80 percent of your sales come from the top 20 percent of your customers – applies to most small businesses. Nurturing that precious 20 percent means focusing your marketing programs on the customers who drive your company's profitability. A laser-like focus on these high-profit buyers also prevents you from expending too much effort on lower profit customers. Use the tips here to unearth your most profitable customers.

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Good marketing leads to sales

In order to properly address this subject, we first need to understand the difference between marketing and sales. Marketing drives the demand for a product or service; sales fulfill the demand and create relationships with clients. This article looks at the recommended elements of marketing, alternative marketing elements, and the results your marketing efforts should deliver.

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Hone your sales presentation skills

When you deliver an in-person sales presentation, you have a unique opportunity to appeal to your prospect on a number of levels at once. Your physical appearance, your choice of words, your general demeanor and your level of enthusiasm all play a part in whether you come across as powerful and persuasive or weak and ineffective. No two sales presentations will be (or should be) alike, but there are some elements common to all successful presentations. Follow these pointers to make the most of your next presentation.

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How to follow up with customers

When you have made a sale, follow up with customers, to make sure they are happy with the product and to ensure future sales. Following up after you've made a sale will enable you to capture repeat business, the cornerstone of most successful small businesses. You can follow up by phone, in-person, or through the mail. Here are some tips for you to try in your business.

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How to learn your prospect's needs

In any business in any industry, customers play a critical role in determining success. Having adequate customer service and retention strategies are therefore invaluable to the small business owner or entrepreneur. However, before you can sell anything to anyone, you must first understand what it is they need. This article offers advice on how to learn your prospect’s needs.

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How to read your clients or suppliers and then formulate your approach

The purpose of this article is to help you as business owner to understand your clients better, so you can approach them in a way that will be beneficial for both of you. The model I am using is the Social Styles model. In essence there are 4 thinking styles: Analytical, Driver, Amiable, and Expressive. Let’s explore each of them in more detail and then talk about how you should approach each style.

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Improve your business's strike rate

The strike or hit rate is the ratio between the number of enquiries or prospects against those who eventually buy. This ratio differs widely depending on business type, with over-the-counter walk-in businesses getting high strike rates vs. business to business (B2B) suppliers of capital equipment, which may be around 25%. Whatever type of business you are in, a lot of sales effort goes unrewarded. Improving the strike rate means more sales from the same number of prospects.

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Knowing your client can improve sales

What was first – the chicken or the egg? In some way we are faced by the same challenge in business. Should you endeavour to develop a new product or service before finding a market for it, or first choose a target market and then align your products and/or services to meet the needs of the identified market? Read on to find out which option would be best.

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Making cold calls

Cold calls are phone calls or visits to sale's prospects who don't know you. The objective of a cold call is to gather information about the prospect's potential, educate the prospect on the benefits of your product or service, and in many cases, to get an appointment. There are several challenges to cold calls and they include: fear; getting past gate keepers; finding the right contact; and finding a way to make a pitch quickly that will move the sales process forward. These tips will help you overcome these challenges.

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Neighbourhood marketing checklist for SMEs

Creating and executing on an effective marketing strategy is something that many SMEs struggle with, and without which many businesses may not be able to succeed. It is because of the “make-or-break” power of marketing that it is important for you as an entrepreneur or business owner to have the necessary tools at hand to develop a marketing strategy that ultimately benefits your business. To address this need, Basil O’Hagan has created a neighbourhood marketing checklist for SMEs to better help them attract customers, make sales, and boost profits.

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Selling your product or service

You may not see it this way, but no matter what type of business you operate, you will have to sell. Whether you are selling your product, your service or simply your company's reputation, you have to be good at it to guarantee the long-term success of your enterprise. Here are some tips to help you sell your product or service using the resources at your disposal.

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South Africa shows the world how to sell

For the second year running, data from cloud-based sales software, Pipedrive, reveals that South Africa is the best country in the world at converting leads into sales. It may have been the Americans who pioneered selling as we know it, but research shows that, when it comes to today’s sales market, South Africa is showing the world how it’s done.

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Stop hard selling and start networking

There is little doubt that one of the key success ingredients is to grow your business by building relationships through networking. I believe that the aggressive hard sell days belong to a different era. It is one thing to adopt the networking strategy. It is another thing entirely to become a world-class networker. Here are a few key tips and tricks to help you on your journey to becoming the best networker you can be.

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Successful sales letters

While the telephone is still the primary tool for reaching your prospective customers, there are many times when you will have to write a sales letter. A strong sales letter can reinforce your sales message, significantly enhance the image of your company in the mind of your prospect, and get your foot in the door. An ineffective letter will cause your prospect to lose interest in your product or service, and can easily cost you an account. Here are some tips to help you create successful sales letters.

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The 8 key character traits of top sales pros

Over the last few weeks I’ve had several questions regarding sales people. Besides the fact that a good sales person is very hard to find the main issue is: What does he or she require in character or personality traits to be a success for my business? According to my research, there are eight key character traits of top sales professionals. Here they are.

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Top six pricing mistakes

A sound pricing structure helps companies generate sales and build customer loyalty. The wrong pricing structure can leave businesses struggling to service customers and reach profitability. When you need to determine what to charge for your products and services, steer clear of these common pricing mistakes.

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What is your product or service worth?

In a competitive market environment business owners are prone to sell themselves short, because they do not take the time to determine a fair and justifiable price for their services and products. There are various methods of determining the worth of your product or service. For example, there are so-called "value drivers" that support the charging of a premium for your service or product, if it solves an expensive problem for the client or saves the client money. This article expands on the concept of value drivers as well as other pricing strategies.

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What's the most important thing in sales and marketing?

What do you think experts said was the ultimate sales secret? Was it relationship? Was it price? Was it sales scripts? Was it your selling tools? No, it was rapport. However, while I wholeheartedly believe that rapport is a very important factor in any business relationship, it is certainly not the biggest factor in closing more sales. You see, you have to understand why people buy things. That's a fact. So then, what is the most important key to selling? Undeniable proof that your product or service works. Here's why.

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Work smarter to plan increased turnover

Most businesses would like to increase their turnover, but often struggle to do so. One reason is that businesses simply set a growth target with no focus on where that growth should come from, or why people would buy more from the company. Increasing turnover means more sales to existing customers, more new customers, or higher prices. This article focuses on how you can increase your business's turnover by growing your existing customers.

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