Canada's business magazine for traditional natural health retailers

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Building a sales system

Building a sales system

One of the keys to a business’s success, and a factor that needs to be paramount in the success of many small businesses, is the ability to relate to customers and sell his products and services.  While selling seems to come natural to a few people, to most of us entrepreneurs, it takes work and we need to understand that there is a science to it.  Below are the steps to being successful in selling.

Build great relationships

It is essential to build relationships with  prospective customers. How does this happen?  In order to understand the needs of our customers, we have to listen, we have to ask questions that go deep in understanding the pains or pleasures that these people are seeking. The point of this is to build trust with our prospects, to let them know that we are not so much trying to sell them something as to help them solve a problem.

Ask do they need what we have?

In order to move further towards selling to prospective customers, we need to understand why they want to buy from us. This not only requires us to qualify them as real prospects and identify if they have a need for what we sell at this moment, but understand whether or not what we sell is going to be of value to them.  If we think we can provide value to them and they are ready to find out more about our product or service, we can go deeper.

Ask can they afford it?

I was never a good customer for some suppliers because in reality I was small potatoes for their type of business. As a result, they never spent much time trying to sell to us. They would cajole me, just in case I became a 10 or 20 million dollar business but I really didn’t qualify for their real attention.  When we are working with people who are interested in what we have, we need to ask those budget questions to determine if the fit is right.  This doesn’t mean that if they don’t qualify, that we treat them any less importantly.  It does mean, however, that we need to move on at some point, to focus on customers that can afford to buy what we sell.

Find out who makes the decisions             

Many a time, I have tried to sell products or services to someone who seemed really interested without understanding that I wasn’t talking to the right decision maker.  When you do this, you end up wasting your time. Great salesmen discover early who makes the decisions and how to reach them.

Present a solution that works

Only when you completely understand the needs of your customer, their uses for your product or service, their budget, and that you have the right person in front of you, can you present a solution to their problem. If we have not heard what our customer is asking for, or if we present a solution that does not fit, we have wasted their time, our time and ultimately, insulted them. 

This is one of the reasons salespeople get such a bad rap! My friend Dennis Bonagara – who is a great salesman – once explained it to me this way: “God gave you two ears and one mouth for a reason.”  We need to be sure that we spend the time listening well so that we can present the optimal solution!

Don’t forget to follow up

Great salespeople follow up with their customers to make sure that the product or service really solved the problem and was the solution to the customer’s issues. When you follow up, you show that you care, and that you are around for the long run.  Selling is never a one-off event.

Even if your customer is not going to need what you have again, they can recommend to others that they buy from you. If you want to save your business from your competition, you need to build a better sales system. 

When you spend time understanding the selling process, and training your staff to do the same, your business will be on the road to success.  •

 

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Coming Up in the Next Issue...

CHFA West :  February 22-25

Reach your key retail customers in CNHR’s Show Preview Issue.

An early show requires early messaging. Get your Spring sales message out early with an ad in CNHR. Reach the key retailers well before CHFA West. Here’s what your ad can do for you:

• share your spring promotional plan with all retailers

• help your sales team reach sales targets

• introduce your new products BEFORE the show

• tell retailers about your show specials early

• help open doors for your sales team

• create traffic at your booth

• solidify brand loyalty

• tell retailers about your new services, too!

• support all of your in-store, digital and consumer marketing efforts

Advertisers: FREE value-added features As an advertiser, you’ll be in one of our biggest issues of the year. (There will be loads of bonus circulation during CHFA West.) Along with your ad being viewed by more than 10,000 owners, managers, buyers, product recommenders and floor sales staff, you also get some great free editorial opportunities, including Trade Talk, Product Profiles and Pre-Show Buzz. Here are the details: Trade Talk is one of the highest read sections of CNHR and your vital link with retailers. Keep current and potential new customers updated on your new products, new staff, new website, new promotions, etc. Deadline for Trade Talk: November 7

We have lots of advertising options at many price points. Tell me what ad size you’re considering or what your budget is, and I will personally customize a proposal just for you. I’ll explain all of the value-added features CNHR has to offer your company!

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