5 Ways to Increase Sales in a Modern Economy


Jeffrey Bumbales

Selling ‘stuff’ got harder, right?

I feel for us sales professionals in today’s world.  Longer sales cycles.  Smaller deals.  Dealing with buyers who are inundated with choices and only have a limited amount of cash to procure goods and services with.

It’s difficult, right?

It doesn’t have to be.

The concept of sales hasn’t changed.  You still have an offer, something that you believe in, and you have a market that can use it.  You still follow a process, even if loosely, that is something like:

1      Meet the prospect

2      Identify a need

3      Formulate a solution

4      Tie-up the deal

5      Deliver the solution

So what has changed?  Why is ‘it’ seemingly more difficult than ‘it’ was 5, 10, 15+ years ago?  It’s in part, or entirely, because:

1      People don’t like being sold to

2      People want to make their own decisions

3      People consult with other trusted parties (colleagues, friends and associates) before making a decision

4      People will have sales conversations proportionate to the amount of trust they have with potential suppliers

5      People want to be guided through the sales process

In yesteryear we were taught to ‘Always Be Closing’ (thanks Alec Baldwin!) and that sales is a numbers game.  That is to say that if you went out with a hunter mentality, knocked on every door you could until your knuckles were blue and then entered discussions with a closing mentality you would win.  You would get the deal AND all the deals you could ever want.

Can you see a difference between the second list and this last statement?

The difference is twofold.  It is that now, sales requires a different mentality and approach. It is about building relationships and helping people.  Today there is a very blurry line between sales and marketing.

Today the sales professional is required to be a “salesketer”.

Most sales professionals fail to pay the necessary amount of attention to the first 2 points in the sales process list above.  They focus on formulating a solution, “this is what I/we can do for you” and then trying to sell it before building the appropriate amount of trust AND identifying a need.   A real need.

Here are 5 things you can do to build a relationship and earn trust:

     Do your research.  Have some information that you can leverage in initial discussions.

2      Qualify the prospect as a perspective target.  They’ll know what you are doing and respect you for seemingly attempting to maximize the use of each other’s time.

3      Ask probing questions.  Have dialogue with your prospect around an area that is relevant to the solution you are trying to provide them.

4      Keep In Touch.  As people may not be ready to take the next step right away, it is up to you to nurture the relationship by keeping in touch on a periodic basis.  This is an opportunity to do something ABOVE having a sales conversation.          Add value by sharing relevant information that you believe the prospect would find useful.

5      Connect.  Use social media to connect with your prospects.  This will give you additional channels to build relationships through AND information you can use to add value in the sales process.

To put this in perspective, I receive countless calls every week from sales professionals that fail to do any of these 5 things, let alone all of them.  If you do implement this into your work you will be different to the rest and because of that, have a greater chance of seeing success in every prospect interaction that you have.

What steps do you take to build relationships with your prospects?  Tell us in the comments below.

About the Author

Michael Trow is the owner of Michael Trow Enterprises LLC where he helps small businesses grow by working with them to improve the effectiveness of their sales and marketing. Michael also sits on the board of the local ASTD chapter and is a facilitator at TCC’s Workforce Development Program. He has lived and worked in four continents, and has done business all over the world through a 12-year sales and marketing career. He is a self-proclaimed dog lover, wine appreciator and out of practice musician!  Follow him on Twitter: @mike_trow & stay tuned to the RetailCapital Blog for more sales tips!