Sales is not a dirty word! There is a way of providing value to other people and be compensated for your effort in the process. But sales is not an easy procedure. For most of the people is a skill simply do not have while for the rest of us it is a constant procedure to better our sales strategy without being bossy or intrusive!
The sales are a constant procedure to find new ways and approaches to influence the market to your favor and provide value based on your skills, competencies, and experience!
There are many approaches and strategies to provide you a blueprint for a better sales procedure, but all of these, in one way or another include common components you should consider carefully, balance them and deliver them to the audience in a way that would promote your services/products rather than demote them!
These elements, include a careful listening to the needs of the market, pinpoint a “pain“ for a market segment you may be able to “cure” and delivering value via “remedy“ this problem.
My personal approach is rather more complicated and includes more steps in the process. It includes, first of all, to know your values and your direction. In simple terms to know exactly what you want and how to do it!
Second to have a solid framework of reference to follow through! Third, to find out your particular niche market. And forth to provide sales and products that would facilitate the people in your niche market!
This oversimplified scheme, though, includes many more details in its implementation. It needs design, robust scheduling and a formal type of implementation to provide the results it is expected by its implementation.
If I would try to describe it in more details, I would say that my better sales strategy includes:
- Listen. It is the first thing I cannot emphasize enough, when you try to sell something either is tangible (like a course, an application, a site, etc.) or intangible (like memes, ideas, etc. – yes developing and dispersing memes it is a “sales process“ also, even when you are just conveying a rumor you had just heard!). You should always listen carefully what matters to people, what makes them laugh, what makes them tick, how to help them be happier, healthy, content, etc. Listen is not a passive action. Should be an active one, focusing on understanding the other and sharing with him/her common ideas, problems, solutions, etc. I have learned more by what I have learned by listening carefully to the people I thought they knew the things I wanted to learn and test it in practice, than reading academic white papers and books by experts!
- Research. The listening is the first part of a process may be called, “data gathering“. When you have an indication of something “going on wrong“ (in the market, in a segment in the market, in the society, in some people, like an absence of a thing or a problem had to be solved, etc.) you should further research the subject in more “formal channels“. I usually try to get input from relevant forums and discussion groups, books and papers while when I think something is not depicted enough or clearly I set up a small survey to find out more information about the opinion of the people in my network. This process is supplemented by research in Amazon’s related books (mostly the comments’ section), Reddit, Quora, or relevant networks.
- Analyze. Analyze is the phase where the data become information. Information is what would describe the “problem“ and, if stated correctly, to lead to a good solution, suitable and acceptable by many people (your “niche market” or your audience)!
- Filter results. Analysis usually would produce many data some helpful some not for your purposes. You should always filter the data from the analysis to produce comprehensible and SMART information (yes, the information can be SMART as well!) related to your market and services.
- Segment. Not all solutions are concern everybody. The data you have gathered and filter about your potential clients constitute a lot of “noise“ and need further to specialized and customized to a group of people capable and able to do the “further mile“ (if that is possible, of course!). Your solution might be interested a lot of people, even more, to find it useful, but not all of them are able (willing, have the opportunity or the resources, etc.) or even capable (other pressure needs or requirements, different priorities, etc.) to utilize on your offer that service! You should find the people that are really interested in the solution you can produce and can utilize on your offer. Specifically, the people who are willing to pay for it!
- Analyze profiles and action types. Your next step, after you have found the group(s) of people you want to address to, is to analyze them. You should analyze their profiles (how and when they buy, what are they interested in, in what demographic category they belong, etc.). Typically you should come up with 2-3 different marketing profiles for your intended clients which would contain much information about who they are, what they want and how the shop!
- Build an ideal client profile. All these information you have collected, by far, will add up to your client profiles providing more insights about the people are interested in your solution and are able to buy it! This is the time to reduce your profiles to one, in order to construct one dominant buyer’s profile for your solutions (and 2 or more supplementary ones, specifically customized to your audience).Soon, after this procedure reach an equilibrium and you know not only where but and how you would address properly your “audience“, you need to take a further look at their action types in relation to their buying behavior. Typically this is an information should be included in their profile, but you need to have a different “cheat sheet” to codify the consuming actions of your intended audience and help you to make the proper decisions.
- Focused on your ideal clients for conversion. After you have developed your “ideal” client profile for your products and services and you have verified it(you can use various means for verification as mail communication, surveys, forums and discussion groups, private invitation to related events, etc.) you need to raise their interests about your solutions and ultimate convert these prospects to clients. To do that, you need to focus all your activities or make them get noticed of your ventures! From the moment you have developed a privileged channel of communication with the people you want to communicate (typically by building a mail list of interested members for your solutions) and develop a trustful relationship with them, you can communicate to them your services and products in a more easy way!
- Use communication channels and networks the ideal client mostly use and at the hours they used it most. The name of the sales game is trust, authority, and communication. In order to reach them, you should always keep in line with their habits and their way of doing things. In order to do that, you need to use creatively (and not intrusively) the communication means available to yourself, in order to communicate with them in the areas they spend their time more (shopping sites, social networks, mail, push and pull available technologies,etc.), with the communication channels they like to use (e-mail, forums, discussion groups, social networks, etc.) and on the time they preferred to be contacted!
- Develop offers and prices just for maximum conversion ideal clients. In order to go further in this sales procedure, you need to develop suitable offers and Unique Value Propositions for your solutions customized to your niche market. These will guarantee, that your solutions are addressed to the right audience and would have the opportunity to be noticed by your prospects (for instance for the training sector you find more information here)!
- Keep on offering incredible offers. To convert your prospects in trusted clients you need to keep on doing excellent offers providing some more value to the people you want to serve! The procedure is necessary today, not only because everybody is more “picky” about what they consume and buy but also and because you need to establish a line of trust with your prospects, such one which will differentiate you from your competitors.
- Close sales. If everything is gone okay and you have followed these steps (or a similar line of thought) for a better sales procedure, you would have maximized your opportunity for closing your sale!
The beautiful thing about this procedure is that it helps you to cultivate strong and trustful relationships with the people you want to serve with your solutions and develop a loyal audience of people sharing the same interests with you. It is an approach not only aiming at a strict definition of sales in a financial meaning but focusing more on creating or pinpoint an audience which you can serve adequately with your ideas, solutions or products.
Action point: Tell me what are you are thinking about it, and write me some of your ideas, here!