Guest post from Emma Jones, Founder of Enterprise Nation and author of ‘Spare Room Start Up - how to start a business from home'.
Without a sale we're not in business and ongoing sales will spur the business to grow. Emma Jones offers five steps on how to make a sale and keep the cash flowing.
Step 1: Prepare
Research, supply and demand, ie spend time looking at what the market wants and how you can supply this in a way that will set you apart from the crowd. Before making a first approach to the potential client, carry out a search so you're happy you have the right person, their correct name, and possibly a news item highlighting their demand eg a first note may be ‘Dear Andrew, having seen you quoted in a recent article in ABC press, I understand you are looking to move to new office premises. I am writing to introduce you to my interiors company ....'
Step 2: Present
Present the client proposition in a professional manner. This applies whether it be sending a first email (as above), distributing flyers or making a call to a prospect. Present the benefits of buying you and your product/service. How will it make the client's life easier/who else has bought/what does it cost/who can they call if interested. These are all useful points to cover in a first approach.
Step 3: Persist
There's a delicate line between persistence and becoming a pest! Saying that, unless your potential customer has an immediate need for what you offer on the day on which you make the approach, then it's likely you'll present yourself and then have to spend a bit of time following up. Submit the proposal, follow-up with a delicate prompt a week later and, if still no response, keep in regular contact with friendly emails and calls along the lines of ‘Hi, just like to keep you updated on what's happening here .. would love to do business with you when you're ready..'
Step 4: Perform
You've won the gig! It's time to deliver on all the goodness sold and promises made. Perform to a high level so reality meets expectation. Along the way, check the new client is happy with the service they're receiving.
Step 5: Promote
Sales means testimonials and this leads to credibility. A growing roster of quality clients will give others the confidence to trade with you. Promote new sales and client wins; through a press release, via testimonials on the site, or social media such as Twitter.
Taking these steps can be eased by using software such as Salesforce.com which keeps track of sales leads and the business development pipeline. Or, do what I do, which is to use an excel spreadsheet and a handwritten list that's regularly updated and always carried with me!Enterprise Nation is racing to follow every home business on Twitter by Home Enterprise Day on Friday 20th November at www.twitter.com/e_nation.