Understand the Buyers Journey to Boost Sales

Understanding the buyer journey can help get more appointments and boost sales

Seven Tips to help your small business with more consistent sales results

by Mario Toneguzzi, Connect4Commerce contributor

These days people are bombarded with calls and emails. Somebody’s always trying to sell you something. For your small business, it’s important to understand the buyer’s journey and then design sales processes around your customer’s needs to help your business boost sales and produce more consistent sales results.

Chris O’Shea, Senior Business Advisor, Advisory Services – Revenue Growth & Expansion, with BDC (Business Development Bank of Canada) says “If you’re not really focused on who they are and their needs you’re likely missing some at bats you didn’t even know you had a shot at.”

It’s important to map out the buyer journey. How do they become aware of you? Are they Googling you? Are you calling them? How do they evaluate you? Are they evaluating you against competitors, price, quality, availability? What makes them convert? Is it price? Or is it better quality?

“If you don’t define what those characteristics and criteria are, it’s really hard to formulize against that. You really can’t create a repeatable, funnel-driven process because you’re throwing spaghetti at the wall all the time and you’re hoping some sticks,” O’Shea said.

“Sales should never be happy accidents. They should be well thought out, well formulated approaches to your market and what does the buyer want.”

Here are seven tips from BDC for more consistent sales results:

  1. Be Systematic about generating leads – Set specific targets for the number of prospects you want in the funnel at any given time. Plan the number of appointments you intend to secure with prospective clients every week in order to meet those targets. Use the rest of the time to handle your ongoing sales projects;
  2. Know your sales cycle – To calculate the length of your sales cycle, make a list of your 20 most recent closed sales; jot down how long each took; compute the average;
  3. Know your numbers – Look at the number of closed transactions you want every month as well as the average sales cycle. You should also know what proportion of prospects contacted ended up buying. These figures will help you set targets for your company;
  4. Actively seek referrals – Get referrals from satisfied clients;
  5. Focus on securing appointments – Unless totally necessary, refrain from making a sales pitch on the phone. Try to secure a meeting instead and be prompt about it. Prospects are turned off if you take too much time on the telephone, especially on the initial call. Equally important is getting that second meeting once you’ve met a first time. You want that client to have you in their calendar. Always securing a next step advances you ever closer to a closed sale;
  6. Get ready for objections – You should be prepared for common objections, especially when making cold calls. I’m too busy. I’m dealing with someone else. This isn’t a good time. Send me something and we’ll talk later. You need to be prepared for clear replies or you will lose their interest;
  7. Follow up and listen – Build a strong relationship with clients. You have to show them they’re not just a business transaction. Always take a proactive approach in meetings with clients and take notes. Prospects will open up when they see that you’re taking the time to listen and write down what they are saying.

As the seven tips in the article suggest, when understand the buyer’s journey and are systematic in your approach to sales that can help your business produce more consistent sales. The key is to design a process and then adjust it based on what you learn from your customers and your small businesses sales results.

Mario Toneguzzi is a regular contributor to the Connect4Commerce Canadian Small Business News Blog. Mario is a veteran of the media industry for more than 40 years and named in 2021 a Top Ten Business Journalist in the world and the only Canadian to be named.

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