No matter what type of business you are running, you have to sell. If you cannot sell then you are basically wasting your time, resources and efforts. There is so much we can talk about regarding the dynamics surrounding realizing business sales. I have discussed so many knowledge areas that are directly or indirectly tied to making sales in business. Today I want to take a simple yet striking look at customer-related aspects regarding selling. In running a business you must fully grasp who the customer is and how they function. Once you understand that, which essentially refers to their touchpoints then selling becomes easy. I will discuss 4 pillars of selling that revolve around the key focus of any business – the customer.
I once said on certain platform that, “the essence of entrepreneurship is identifying a NEED and ADDRESSING it in a way that can be MONETIZED”. Customer needs are interesting in that they are either apparent (the people can tell you what they need) or not (you have to show them what they need). Talking about “needs” drives the point home especially here in Zimbabwe where the economy is ailing. People are more bent on addressing their needs than their wants. If you identify their needs or help them identify or realize their needs you are just a step away from realizing sales.
There are, of course, other factors that come into play but your starting point should be to be absolutely sure you understand what customers need. People are always ready; in fact they will sacrifice to address their needs. Your business must address what customers need – that way you can easily realise sales.
We have discussed customer needs and now we move on to customer desire. Just because you have built a business around what customers need is not automatically going to bring in sales. You must cultivate a desire in customers to want to get their needs addressed by you. Remember that you might not be the only one offering what you offering – competition. As a business, you must take conscious and deliberate steps to cultivate customer desire. You are either providing goods or services – make your customers emotionally attached to your brand. There are so many ways to achieve this but that is not my focus today. The bottom line is customers must have a burning desire to go for your brand.
It is one of the hallmarks of marketing to create a sense of urgency in your marketing drives. People are generally risk and loss aversive i.e. they will do anything to ensure they do not miss out or lose something. In presenting your goods or services to the public make sure customers see the need to urgently get them sooner than later. This is not just so you realize more sales and faster but it actually is for the good for the customer too. The more a customer puts off making a purchase, the more the chances that they will pay or lose more later. So creating a sense of urgency benefits both your customer and your business.
After all is said and done; identifying the right need, cultivating the desire and creating a sense of urgency is not enough. It all boils down to this one question, can the customer afford what you are offering? People essentially fall into different categories depending on their levels of income. You must pay attention to this in pricing your goods or services. Have different packages that suit the financial status of the various types of customers that you might encounter. In business some thrive more than others simply because their price points are more favourable. It is vital that you do your homework regarding this so that you offer unbeatable prices.
Think of these 4 pillars as 4 legs of a table or 4 wheels of a vehicle. They must be all present and there must be a uniform and consistent balance. If that is not the case then you will not get the desired results which in this case is, sales. This might all sound simple and cliché but most businesses are not adhering to these 4 pillars.