Creating and managing your online business requires you to follow the same basic principals of any business - relying on sound Business Strategies. There are however, a few practices that differ or that just are unique to an online business. Here we share our views and experience with you to help you develop a more effective and profitable online business.

Winning the deal in tough times

 

Clinching the sale is a matter technique that the best do by second nature and you can learn how to do so yourself. with practice it will become second nature for you as well.

You' have your buyer ready to purchase he has taken the bait, hook line and sinker. So how do you close the deal? For most of us it's the toughest part of the entire sales process. There are ways to make sure you get the sale over the line. The following Top 10 Technqiues to seal the deal should help you through.

Understand the customer's needs - and budget

A lot of sales people will try and sell a product at any cost - even if it's not necessarily right for the customer.

Ask lots of questions about what the customer needs. Some sales people think a particular product is going to solve everything without looking at their broader product range for their customers. Explore the real needs of your customer.

So many people don't know how to put together proper solutions, so they shove the wrong product to fit the wrong customer with but one expected result.. Just be open and transparent and spell the deal out. And always make sure the person has got the budget.

Give a guarantee

Attaching a guarantee to a purchase removes any risk that the product or service won't work out - which in turn increases the likelihood of a sale.Real estate expert Neil Jenman first introduced a guarantee into his first real estate firm in the Western suburbs of Sydney back in 1985.

"It guaranteed that if a buyer wasn't happy with my service, they could cancel their contract and list their property with another agent," Jenman explains.The result was phenomenal.

"That did more for my business than anything else. It was responsible for doubling my sales. I still recommend offering a guarantee today."Jenman went on to share this concept with other agents, which became known as The Jenman System. Today he's a national commentator on property issues.

Play to your sales team's strengths

Not everyone was born to close. Which means that just because someone has worked in sales for 20 years, doesn't mean it's their strength - you might find you've got a strong sales force, but some are better at closing the deal than others.

Trent Leyshan, director of BOOM! Sales and SmartCompany blogger says admitting your sales force has problems with any part of the sales process can be difficult, but says some people are better than closing the deal than others."The truth is that sometimes sales people don't make the best deal closers, which means you may have to shuffle the decks to get the best out of your team."

Be confident enough to ask for a sale

One of the key rules to closing the deal is to make sure you give the customer a compelling reason to buy from you today.

Leyshan says he sees a lot of companies with large numbers of opportunities in the pipeline that aren't being brought across the line. And a lot of it has to do with confidence."The key problem I see is that sales people aren't actively asking for the business, which is usually a symptom of confidence. There's a lot of close reluctance out there. Some sales executives think there's no point asking for the sale because they think they'll get a knock back. Confidence is very important and it's amazing how many people don't have that."

Chase your clients.

Don't underestimate the importance of being persistent and enthusiastic when it comes to closing a deal, says Julia Nekich, principal or PR firm The Ideas Suite.

"Don't be afraid to chase prospects - even if they are slow to return your phone calls."Nekich recently pitched for a piece of business and was told she won the work based on the fact that she had actively chased the business.

"I flew interstate to meet the client and expressed my keenness for the work. They didn't have to chase me and they loved that."Don't use pressure

Getting a signature on the dotted line is a sure-fire way to know you've sealed the deal - but it's a tough ask.Bryn Hughes, managing director of sales and marketing performance improvement firm Soap Stone Group, says closing the deal with a signature doesn't work.

"Forcing a contract on someone and asking them to sign now, or telling them a trial period is about to close just doesn't work," Hughes says."Close by creating a compelling enough reason to do business with the person. You need to show the consequences of not going ahead with the deal and the problems it would create."

But Hughes says to do this, you need to have a strong understanding of their business, so do your homework first.Be careful with discounts

Offering a last minute discount to get the deal over the line is a popular technique that should be used carefully. Price discounting is a risky venture and could jeopardise devaluing your brand or service.But you can be flexible without slashing the price, according to Zoe Warne, co-founder of digital marketing and communications agency, August.

"When negotiating price, always provide the client with a transparent quote so they can see how you have arrived at a particular cost estimate. You can step the client through the quote and help them choose which areas they wish to scale back to enable them to meet their budget," Warne says.This approach helps the client feel more in control of the budget and gives them a greater understanding of the value of your service offering, she says.

Bundle for success

Australia's magazines and newspaper publishers are among the most renowned for offering a freebie to secure a sale. Whether it's a free scarf, lipstick or a CD, the practice significantly bolsters circulation results.

Throwing in a freebie might help close the deal, but better still, consider how you can up-sell or bundle value.Magazines and newspaper publishers also cross-sell across a number of platforms in increasing numbers, which can help seal a deal in this softer economy. Bundling sales across online and print platforms is one example.

Leyshan, says bundling value can be a very effective tool. "A whole number of things can represent value to your client, so it's a technique worth investigating."If the final answer is no, find out why

If you miss out on a business pitch, don't settle for no, says Warne.She advises finding out why you didn't get the job. Ask whether it was perceptions about your business, price related or a failure to respond quickly.

"This will show that you are serious about your business and theirs, which will also enable you to refine your offering. I can personally vouch for the value of this approach."Warne says her digital agency recently failed to secure a pitch, so she asked for feedback on why. She used this information to improve the pitch process.

"We went on to secure a substantially larger project with the same client and we continue to provide digital services to them to this day."And remember, there are no tricks

Barrett says pressure selling should be outlawed. "Any self respecting person would want to look at establishing a relationship with a customer in the hope of getting referrals rather than using pressure selling. Just be open and transparent.""All this talk about tricks and secrets to close to deal are completely off the mark. There are no tricks."

Barrett says paraphrase the conversation you've had with the client in simple language and go over which product you recommend for them."Life would be much easier for people in sales if they followed this formula instead of trying to use tricks to seal a deal."

 

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