If You Can't Sell It, Nothing Matters

Mike Kappel | Forbes

Posted: 5/09/18

If You Can't Sell It, Nothing Matters

In 1960, my dad invented one of the first spray valves for paint cans and formed a company called Univalve Corporation.  

When it came to operating his business, he did everything. He designed the valves and assembly equipment. He held the patents on the product designs. He had the injection molds built to produce the valves. He hired workers. He did the engineering, operations and sales. And, he tried funding it all himself.  

As a do-it-yourself entrepreneur, my dad had experience in all aspects of business. Out of all the parts of his operation, he found one to be crucial to a business’s success: sales.

If You Can't Sell, None Of It Matters

The most important lesson my dad taught me from his years in business was the importance of knowing how to sell. He told me, “Mike, always remember this: Anybody can build anything. But, if you can’t sell it, none of it matters at all.”  

Sales are everything to a business. Without sales, you can be certain you will fail. Finding what works for generating sales at your company is key to your success.

Strategies To Increase Sales

Small businesses account for 54% of all U.S. sales. But, making sure your company generates sales is no easy task.

There is no one, sure-fire way to create strong sales at your business. There are many strategies to increase sales that you can use to grow your customer base. The way you generate sales will ultimately depend on many factors, such as your business, industry, and location.

Over the years, my companies have used several ways to improve sales. Our methods revolve around building lasting customer relationships. Our sales techniques have helped us grow, and they could do the same for you. Take a look at these three creative ways to increase sales.

#1: Relationship Selling

New ways to increase your sales are always popping up. But, some traditional methods are still appropriate for modern businesses. Building customer relationships is not a new idea. It has stood the test of time because it works.

Since I began my businesses, I have focused on nurturing loyal relationships with customers. We have used some of the same sales methods since the beginning to create customer connections.

For example, we have always “pounded the phones” in search of new customers. Outbound calling was never easy, and it’s gotten harder over the years. But, we still successfully make many outbound sales calls today.

We build one-on-one relationships with our customers. We listen to their needs and do our best to satisfy as many of them as we can. Sometimes, we even customize our offerings to meet their needs.  

These two sales methods have helped us create long-lasting, successful businesses. But, remember, building customer relationships comes with a heavy price. Be prepared to invest your time and resources into your customer relationships.

#2: Utilize The Power Of The Web

Traditional sales methods can help you generate sales. But, don’t forget to take advantage of modern-day technology in your efforts. The internet helps you reach a larger customer base and communicate in unique ways.

Two of my companies base their sales models on the internet’s massive number of prospective customers. Since customers don’t have to go to your physical location, online companies have the potential to reach millions.

You need to approach online sales differently than you would a bricks-and-mortar shop. Because of the huge number of potential buyers, it’s impossible to maintain a personal relationship with each online customer. But, you can build customer relationships by creating an easy-to-use website, presenting clear contact information and providing excellent customer service.

#3: The High-Volume Sales Funnel

At Patriot Software, my accounting and payroll software company, we give prospective customers an initial reason to visit our website. Then, we offer more benefits on the website to keep them coming back. Doing this helps small business owners get to know and trust our company.

Think of your website as a sales funnel. Most website visitors don’t buy the first time they visit a business’s website. Instead, they are likely looking for more general information. Potential buyers who are first visiting your website is similar to the top of the sales funnel.

Often, you have many prospects coming into the top of the funnel. As you move prospects through the funnel, they turn into leads. Pay close attention to leads to pull them even further into your sales funnel. The end goal of your funnel is to convert leads into paying customers. In other words, prospects turn into leads and leads turn into customers.

For example, my company offers something of value in exchange for a potential customer’s contact information. A visitor could get a guided demo of our software by submitting an email address.

Once we receive a prospect’s email address, they are a lead. We send our leads other valuable offerings in hopes that they’ll return to our website.

Our goal is to drive a large volume of prospects into our sales funnel. At the bottom of the funnel, we invite leads to become customers.

You Can’t Improve What You Can’t Measure

Knowing which efforts are driving your sales is important. For example, what brings visitors to your website? It might be your blog articles, pay-per-click advertisements, or referral program. You could be great at building brand awareness, but you don’t know until you measure your efforts.

It’s unrealistic to think that you can measure all your marketing efforts. Your small business has limited time and funds. Instead, choose the marketing activities you invest in the most to measure. Track your progress to decide which efforts are most beneficial to your sales.

You can track the success of your sales efforts with KPIs, or key performance indicators. KPIs are measurements that track how well you execute your goals. Some KPIs for small business include revenue, customer retention, and the cost of goods sold. You should define your sales goals and track your KPIs to see if your efforts are successful.

Sales At Your Small Business

A generation later, the lesson my dad taught me about business is just as important for today’s entrepreneurs. Sales are the lifeblood of every business. Knowing how to generate and track sales is vital for growing your company. As you go through your day-to-day operations, don’t forget to keep improving your business’s sales efforts.

 

 

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