One of the hardest parts of starting a small business is generating sales. Sales are critical to getting your business started, but what is the best method? Sure, you can try cold calling, but why waste time on a numbers game. Instead, use your network and focus on one of these top sales methodologies for businesses.
What Is A Sales Methodology?
A sales methodology is a framework, philosophy or system that guides you on how to approach a customer at any phase of the sales process. The best sales methods focus on the customer, identifying their needs and then presenting how your product or service can solve their problem.
There are a variety of sales methodologies out there. Some have long sales cycles and others are short. There is no one sales method that works for every client in every situation. Instead, you should adapt your sales methodology to where your customer is in the buying process.
Top Sales Methods for Small Businesses
Below are some of the top sales methods for small businesses. These methods work well because they focus on building relationships, providing value, identifying problems and showing how you can solve their problem with your product or service. This is the perfect option for small businesses because it allows you to use your network. You have already built relationships with your network and now it’s time to take it to the next level and see how you can provide even more value.
Customer-centric selling is all about becoming a knowledgeable and trusted advisor to your clients. You will learn to adapt to them at every stage of the sales process. To accomplish this, you keep open communication during the sales process, adjust to their timeline and act as their greatest problem-solving partner. The customer benefits by having more choices and information about their choices. You benefit by differentiating yourself by providing a unique and top-notch experience.
There are 8 components of this sales model:
- Converse situationally compared to making presentations
- Ask relevant questions as opposed to offering opinions
- Solution-focused instead of relationship-focused
- Target decision-makers instead of users
- Promote product usage to gain interest instead of the product alone
- Focus on being the best seller instead of the busiest
- Close on the buyer’s timeline instead of the seller’s
- Empower buyers to buy as opposed to convincing them to buy
The B.A.N.K. Methodology
B.A.N.K. is a scientifically validated sales methodology designed to predict your customer’s buying behaviors. Based on that information, you can then customize the conversation to appeal to that prospect. B.A.N.K. increases your close rate by helping you understand your customer’s values better.
There are 3 basic stages of the B.A.N.K. Methodology.
- Identify their buying behavior
- Qualify the prospect
- Close the deal
1) Identify their buying behavior
This all starts with building rapport and identifying the customer’s buying behavior. The initial contact with the customer should feel more like a conversation rather than a sales presentation. In fact, your goal is not to sell the customer during this stage. Instead, you are using the B.A.N.K. formula to identify what is important to that customer so you can present your offer in a way that matches their values.
It’s important to not come across as salesy or pushy in the initial conversations. You need to have a genuine desire to help your customers to overcome their challenges.
2) Qualify the prospect
After you have started to build a rapport and have a better understanding of the problems the customer is facing, it is then time to learn if they are the right fit for you. During this phase, you’ll determine any possible objections they may have while also making sure they are the type of client you want to work with. You’ll learn about any budget restrictions, what their time frame is and any other info that is important to you.
Having a phase in your sales method to learn about objections before trying to close the sale will dramatically increase your success.
3) Close the deal
You have now learned about the customer and their business. You understand their needs, budget, restrictions, and what they value. Now it’s time to close the deal! Focus on the information you learned in the previous phases to customize your sales pitch.
When you are pitching your product or service, relate it back to the pain points you discovered earlier. Every pain point mentioned by the customer should be tied to a benefit of your product or service. When this is done correctly the customer doesn’t even feel like they have been sold. Instead, it was just another conversation and you offered a way to help them with their problems.
High pressured sales doesn’t work when you are selling a complicated or expensive product or service. Instead, you need to take a different approach. Take an approach that is backed by data and shown to be effective. The SPIN selling method breaks the sales process into 4 stages and focuses on asking the right questions at each of those stages.
The four phases of SPIN selling are:
1) Situation Phase
The goal of this phase is to learn more about where they currently are. Learn what their process is like, what resources they are utilizing and what results are they achieving.
- Some common questions to ask during this phase of the process include:
- Why do you do X this way?
- Why did you choose X for lead nurturing?
- Catch me up to speed — How do you manage a process like X?
- How do you do X?
- What’s your process for X?
- How much budget do you have assigned to X?
2) Problem Phase
The goal of this phase is to get your prospect to point out their problems. What pain points are they facing on a regular basis? Getting them to point out these problems does two things. First, they get clear on their challenges and tell you exactly what needs to be fixed. Secondly, by talking about those problems openly, they take ownership and it causes them to think about how much trouble those problems are creating in their business or life.
Some common questions in the problem phase include:
- How long does it take to do X?
- What happens if you’re not successful with X?
- Does this process ever fail?
- Are you satisfied with your current process for X? The results?
- When you have issues, is it typically easy to figure out what went wrong?
3) Implication Phase
The goal of this phase is to use the problems they previously mentioned and relate that to their business or life. You want them to see the impact those problems create and what will happen if they don’t get solved. It’s important to approach this phase with a genuine desire to help your customer. If you come across too salesy or self-interested, then you risk losing all of the trust you built during the previous phases of the process. Pay attention to the questions you are asking.
Some common questions in the implication phase include:
- What could you accomplish with an extra (amount of time) each (week, month)?
- When was the last time X didn’t work?
- Would your customers be (more satisfied, engaged, loyal) if you didn’t experience (problem related to X)?
- Has a problem with X ever negatively impacted your KPIs?
4) Need/Payoff Phase
If you have done your job well in the previous phases then your customer should be listing off the benefits and value of your product/service before you even get a chance to tell them.
Some common questions in the need/payoff phase include:
- Would it help if … ?
- Is it important for your team members to see X benefit so they can take Y action?
- Do you think solving (problem) would significantly impact you in Y way?
Like the implication phase, you need to be careful with the questions you ask during this phase. If you ask a question with an obvious answer then it seems like you are fishing for the sale. This can jeopardize the entire relationship and sale. You made it this far, don’t ruin it by going into autopilot and asking a thoughtless question.
Solution selling focuses on a ‘problem first’ mindset and not a ‘product or service’ mindset. Your goal with each customer interaction is to learn about their problems so you can show the benefits of what you are offering. Solution selling works best when you have a customizable product or service.
There are 3 steps to get started with solution selling:
- Identify their pain points
- Determine your questions
- Customize the offer for max value
1) Identify their pain points
This part is an extremely important part of this sales method! Solution selling is based on showing how your product or service solves their problems. Ideally, you can look to your past customers and analyze the data. What problems were they facing and what caused them to buy? What happened in their business or in their life that caused them to pay for a solution?
2) Craft and hone your questions
Once you know the pain points that caused your ideal customer to buy, then it’s time to develop your questions so that you can quickly determine if a potential lead is right for you and your product/service. This allows you to spend more of your time focused on your customers’ problems which will allow you to offer a more customized solution.
3) Customize the offer for max value
You know your customer and their pain points, now WOW them with your customized offer that provides them so much value they can’t say no. This is what solution selling is all about.
First, you need to know your ideal customer, their pain points, what questions to ask to qualify them and how your product/service helps. Then, growing your business is just a matter of finding the next lead. You may have to adjust the offer for each client because every person is in a different place. However, you won’t waste time with customers that you won’t be able to help by asking qualifying questions.
We’ve gone through 4 sales methods for small businesses that can be used when you are just starting out and can help you take your business to the next level. No one sales method is perfect for every business or in every situation, but if you look closely you’ll notice that all of these have something in common. They are all focused on building a relationship with your client so you can understand their problem before showing the value in your product or service.
If you really want to take your selling to the next level then you need to develop powerful communication skills and learn how to identify your customer’s buying behavior. By improving your communication skills, you will be able to build better relationships and communicate your product or services in a more compelling way.
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