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25 proven sales strategies from top entrepreneurs and startups

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Sales strategies are like tricky recipes with no proper measurement of ingredients. Numerous factors go into perfecting a good sales strategy. Analysing your current plan and observing what others are doing sheds light on what is working for the business and what areas need attention. Sales and marketing trends keep on changing and hence, it makes it crucial to be aware of the old as well as a sales technique. You never know if a new trend takes up your sales graph or maybe staying old school in tricky situation pays off.

Entrepreneurs are often great at envisioning most aspects of the business, like their website design, logos etc. but if you are new in the game, you may need some help in conquering the sales zone. Here are 25 proven strategies you can learn from and start devising your own.

1.   Identify your target market.

One of the critical steps before you create a sales strategy is to determine the focus audience. It creates a foundation for all your future strategy and promotions. Many entrepreneurs make the mistake of designing a campaign first and then looking for the audience. This results in less than favourable outcomes. It is like creating a logo using a logo maker, know who you are catering to before you move to the next steps.

2.   Get to know your customers.

To sell better, you must create a profile for your customers. Understand their demographics, preferences, requirements. These factors, amongst others, are critical in decoding consumer behaviour, which in turn helps in making a strong sales strategy.

3.   Pay attention to your audience.

Once you have identified and profiles your customers, it's time to interact with them and understand their issues. Focusing less on your product’s features and more on the prospective customer’s concern can go a long way in making a sale.

4.   Let them know what's in it for them.

Instead of diving straight into the price points, features, technical specs and other aspects of what you are selling, try focusing on the core of the benefits for the customer, and that is “a solution to their problems”. Empathise and understand their problem, and you will find them more eager to try the product.

5.   Storytelling sells more. Always

Storytelling helps absorb information much better than a generic sales pitch. It helps make connections and helps customers remember the product for longer. Social media has proven to be a useful tool for using storytelling as a sales strategy.

6.   Try to stand out from the crowd.

You not only have to convince customers to choose your product, but also persuade them to choose your product over the others available in the market. Show your customers how you are better than the competitors to expand your customer base and boost sales. This process starts as early as creating a distinctive logo design

7.   Capture early adopters using a premium or lifetime deal

Early adopters are like oxygen when you launch a product. You get honest and critical feedback, and at the same time, you have results to present to existing or prospective investors. Even tech giants like Amazon, Netflix enter a new market with such strategies.

8.   Hone your negotiation skills

Everyone loves a good deal, but that doesn’t mean that you have to compromise on your bottom line. Create a list of bonuses and benefits so that you have enough attractions to keep the prospect interested until the lead turns into a sale.

9.   Create benchmarks and goals

Each sales strategy needs a set framework of goals and targets, or it turns into a wild goose chase. Goals also help in analysing and measuring how effective is the strategy you are using.

10.   Analyse the past results

Keep studying and learning from what you did in the past. Even if your past sales strategies came up empty, analysing them can shed light on what to avoid or they may end up successful after little tweaks and adaptations.

11. Generate leads from every possible source

As an entrepreneur, keep an eye out on all possible ways that you can secure leads. This is because only a small percentage of prospects get converted into sales. Therefore the more leads you to approach, the more sales you can make.

12.  Prioritize and categorize all your leads

Prioritizing is essential when you are dealing with a massive volume of leads. Once you have scored your prospects using a simple 1-10 scale, start with the most potential customers first so that you are maximizing the potential and converting them quickly.

13. Come up with a compelling sales pitch.

An exciting sales pitch can help you make the right conversation with your leads. Always remember that you are not the only player trying to wow a potential client, the more exciting and relatable your sales pitch is, the more chances you have of converting a lead.

14. Cultivate relationships with the most promising leads.

Sales can be an ongoing process, some leads take time to decide, and some need convincing. Most successful sales would come from client relationships which are not strictly transactional.

15. Build the prospect's trust for you.

The relationships we talked about in the previous strategy is connected to trust. Hence, they go hand in hand. If your clients can trust you, they would be more eager to take up your suggestions and go with what you are selling.

16. Stay attentive and approachable.

All of your sales calls, whether a fresh lead, cold call or a follow up should have your undivided attention. That's how you can engage with the prospects, and when you make them comfortable to talk to you, you can get insights to asking the right questions and giving correct answers.

17. Don’t be afraid of asking for referrals.

In sales, it is proven that leads can give you more prospective clients. Even if you get two referrals from each potential customer, you end up with a fresh set of leads at the end of the day that is double of the initial list and so on.

18. Ask for comprehensive feedback.

Feedback is essential in all aspects of a business. Even if you are not able to convert a lead, make the most of it by asking, what could be different to make them say yes. This can help you zero in on factors that may discourage prospects such as price, after-sales service etc.

19. Refocus and resell to the existing clients.

Go back to your existing customers as leads. You can offer them better deals as a means of not only boosting your sales but also retaining them. Refocusing on an existing customer takes lesser time as they are already using the product. All you would need is to offer better deals, discounts or added benefits.

20. Make the most of new-age tools and apps.

Today, entrepreneurs can benefit from a plethora of tools and apps that make their life easy. They can use logo maker tools like Designhill to create great graphics, mail chimp for email automation, social media ads using adespresso, to name a few. Learn about all these tools and make the best of them for your sales strategies.

21. Be flexible and adaptive.

Each sales call can bring unique challenges and questions. Sales gurus all over the world share that using phrases like “you won’t”, “can’t” or “It’s not possible” outrightly in response to your prospect’s requests can be fatal to a sales call. Being flexible and quick on your feet can go a long way.

22. Stay patient during the lows.

Not all sales strategies have a constant upward curve. Sometimes, there are periods with little or no response, and at times a prospect can get aggressive. In situations like these, patience indeed becomes a virtue.

23. Free trials, samples and demos can create a buzz.

Creating urgency can help push prospects into becoming customers. You can also use limited period free trials and samples to give the potential customers a taste. This buzz can not only help you convert the leads, but you can also ask them to bring in their friends and family and benefit from the offers.

24. Set quotas and incentives.

Sales teams need to be continuously motivated for them to achieve maximum results. While these quotas and incentives can vary from business to business, it helps the sales team scale up and also quantifies the returns from a particular sales strategy.

25. Target small niche markets.

Focusing on a small niche audience with unique pain points that you can address might be the answer to increasing your sales exponentially. Choosing a little but right niche can help you specialize and even inspire more ideas for growing your business.

These time tested sales strategies can be used by brand new businesses looking to breaking the ground or firms on the maturity stage of the product life cycle. But in the end, you have to remember the key ingredient is hard work, so get emailing or pick up the phone and get on calls with all possible leads now!