6 Sales Mistakes Your Small Business Might Be Making
1. Not Having a Sales Plan
There are plenty of reasons that you may not have created a sales plan when starting your business. You may have created a product that gained a lot of attention quickly, starting your business with a sales spike, or perhaps you relied on word of mouth advertising and didn’t see a need for creating a long-term plan. Most likely, you were busy with the demands that come with owning a business, and simply didn’t consider it. Still, without a sales plan in place, it’s easy to struggle to boost sales, especially if you’ve experienced a slump.
What You Can Do: To start, you should devise your business’s sales plan. Identify your customers, find the strategies that work well for your industry, set your goals, and provide your team with necessary training.
2. Cold Calling the Wrong People
There are mixed opinions about cold calling. Some say it’s an important part of a sales strategy, while others call it a waste of time. The latter group may just have the wrong idea about what cold calling is and what it can do for a small business. Randomly cold calling individuals to promote your business and services might not lead to many sales. However, calling individuals from your target audience to share information about your offerings can easily increase your customer base. You’ll have to put in the time, but the rewards can be great.
What You Can Do: Compile a list of individuals that fit into your target audience and could be interested in your product or service. Then, use these tips from Entrepreneur to make the most of every call.
3. Not Following Up with Interested Potential Customers
When you find a potential customer and you’ve established that they’re interested in your product or services, it’s up to you to follow through. Everyone is busy with their day-to-day lives, so without any follow up, potential customers will most likely forget about your sales pitch, no matter how great it was.
What You Can Do: Don’t neglect this important part of your sales plan. A short email can often be enough to seal the deal. To ensure that no potential customer gets left behind, consider investing in software that will allow you to store information about potential and existing customers. That way, you can create a list of interested individuals, and contact them to follow up after a certain length of time.
4. Forgetting to Build Relationships
Once you’ve identified a potential customer, presented your product, and made a sale, the process doesn’t end there. It’s easy to forget about a company after buying a product or using a service once. Your job is to make sure that your business, product or service, and customer support are memorable, so customers will want to keep coming back.
What You Can Do: Ramp up your social media efforts. Social media is a great space for connecting with customers and building relationships that will create customer loyalty, and lead to repeat sales. Sprout Social has provided a guide for improving your business’ social media presence to make it happen.
5. Being Disorganized
After creating a sales plan, identified sales strategies that work well for your business, and connecting with customers, you’ll probably notice that there’s a lot more to keep track of. If your inbox is filling up with unanswered customer emails and you can’t find time to make phone calls, your business is missing out on potential sales.
What You Can Do: Streamline your sales plan and ensure that you follow through on daily tasks. Everyone has their own unique way of staying organized and productive, so you’ll need to find a system that works for you. From paper calendars to productivity apps to simply delegating tasks to others, there’s numerous ways that you can become more organized in your sales process.
6. Not Having a Team
One of the most important lessons for every small business owner to learn is that you can’t do it all on your own. Taking on the responsibility of running the business while also acting as your own sales, marketing, accounting, and HR team is enough to make anyone overwhelmed and ineffective.
What You Can Do: Build a team of sales professionals, and delegate sales-related responsibilities to them. Even if you can’t afford a full-time sales team, you can at least hire some part-time employees who can handle sales tasks like social media management and making cold calls from a list you provide.
Now that you’ve learned about common sales mistakes, it’s time to refine your business’s sales plan. Effective sales techniques can’t be learned overnight, but by making a consistent effort to avoid sales faux pas, you’ll be able to grow you small business.
What sales lessons have you learned as a small business owner? Share your advice, below!
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