Basic Sales Strategies to Maximize Revenue for Your Small Business

Ed Miles

Ed Miles

As the owner of a business, you must work “at it” and “in it” every day of the week, and it’s very likely that even during your time-off you are always thinking about your

business.  You typically wear several hats including visionary, purchasing agent, production worker, service technician, hostess, server, marketing manager, and bookkeeper – among many others that may be more directly related to the type and size of your business. 

While some business owners don’t mind the process of selling others would really rather not think about having to wear the hat of “Salesperson.”

Marketing is closely tied to sales; marketing efforts generate leads while sales is the act of converting a lead to a paying customer.  A great marketing plan can generate leads, whether it is visitors to your website, or an inbound phone call, or email inquiry, or person who walks through the door of your business – these are all considered leads. 

A lead becomes a customer when they make the decision to part with their cash to patronize your business. The conversion of a lead into a paying customer is the sales process.

The length of the sales process varies based on your type of business, whether it be online or in person, product-based or service-based. There is no one step-by-step sales process that fits every small business, but you will find that the sales principles below apply across many types of small businesses.

Set Expectations and Overcome Objections

A basic sales principle that can be applied to most small business sales transactions revolves around setting achievable expectations and overcoming objections presented by your potential customers.  Mapping out and following these two principles should lead to increased sales.

By visiting your website, your store, or interacting with you – beyond knowing what product or service you provide – it should be clear to a customer what the expected quality of your product or service will be, how long it will take to receive it, and what they should expect to pay.

Customers will have objections, so be ready to address their concerns. When a customer raises an objection, such as, “seriously, $1,200 to cut down one tree” be prepared to respond to that objection by trying to have the customer understand the reason behind the price.  A response might be, “I agree, $1,200 is a lot of money for one tree, but that tree is very close to your house. I want to reiterate that I am a trained arborist, licensed and insured in the state of New Hampshire, and should there be any issues at all they will be covered in that price.”  Customer objections should be viewed as opportunities to affirm why they should be working with you, not as the end of a sale.

While most objections may be related to quality, timing, and price, you should try to predict what objections might occur and be prepared to overcome them.  For example, all of the arborist’s marketing collateral should state, “certified – trained – licensed – and insured” so that when quotes are provided the question of the price will be better justified.  Predicting objections that may occur and preparing yourself and your staff with how to respond will lead to more sales.

Differentiation and Value Creation

For many small businesses, being different is what their business is founded on. Whether it is a spin on packaging or design of a product, using special promotions, offering an exceptional customer experience, or just offering a quality product at a reasonable price, putting thought to how you differentiate from “like” offerings is an important part of figuring out how you ask your customers to support your business.

How you differentiate your Product or Service goes hand-in-hand with Value Creation.  As you think about the unique “features” of your product or service it is important to associate “benefits” with those features to convey the “value” to your customers.

Here is a simple formula to remember:  Features + Benefits = Value. Keeping this formula in mind will assist in justifying the price that you charge for your product or service. If you are unable to convey how you differentiate your offering, then the only thing left to compete on with like offerings is price – and competing on price is a “race to the bottom” and is not a sustainable way to run a business.

- Ed Miles, SBDC Business Advisor; UNH Paul College adjunct faculty

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