One of the greatest challenges any small business faces is maintaining–and growing–sales. We can talk marketing, social media and networking all day long, but when the sun sets, what have you sold?
I find myself returning to one of the top sales experts for small business: Jill Konrath. Her landmark book, Selling to Big Companies, highlights how anyone, especially small business owners, can sell to big companies. Her other book, SNAP Selling, covers many of the issues we face in the social media era and how sales has changed.
Jill just sent out a message to her e-mail subscribers announcing that she was calling it quits. Thankfully, she’s still in business and only rebranding. If you ever saw her other sites, they've all been rolled into one at JillKonrath.com. There are four resources that I want to point you to: Jill calls them the Prospecting Tool Kit. The kit is free when you sign up for her e-mail updates, which are usually packed with good tips and ideas. I have used these tips frequently over the past year, and I can tell you firsthand that they work. Here is how to sell.
1. Selling to crazy-busy prospects. You can download this 45-minute MP3 audio file to your iPod or smartphone. The audio lesson contains fresh strategies to increase your effectiveness with today's crazy-busy customers. This is a core part of the SNAP Selling message.
2. Buyer’s matrix. This list of questions is a fill-in-the-blank worksheet to get you focused on what is most important to your prospects.
3. Value proposition generator. How many times have you heard the acronym WIIFM (What’s in it for me?) It serves as a reminder that your customer cares about his or her own needs. That’s easy to say but harder to execute. Jill breaks down this concept, in my view, into how to create a real value proposition. She says there are three elements: business drivers, movement and metrics. These elements will help you craft a valuable statement that your prospects can trust in and believe.
4. 9 tips to get prospects to call you back. I don’t know many people who answer the phone anymore. They let it roll to voicemail and then either e-mail you back or just simply delete your message. No matter how many times you call, you can’t break through. Jill explains how to create a script to guide you to an effective message, and how to avoid sounding like a robot.
These four are the tip of the iceberg. You’ll find more of Jill’s sales resources here. The Prospecting Tool Kit is found right at the top of that page. I think you’ll find that these lessons can energize your sales efforts. They are short, to the point and built for producing profits.
What books or other resources have influenced your selling ability?
Photo credit: Courtesy Jill Konrath