Take a minute and think about your sales goals.
Don’t think about your current sales or what you think you can sell in a certain amount of time—this isn’t about how much you’re selling now or will sell with your current plan.
How much do you want to sell?
How much income or commission do you want to earn from sales? $100,000? $200,000? $500,000? More?
What if you could get there only by selling to people you’ve already sold to? If that sounds like a pipe dream, rethink that. It’s possible and achievable. We’ve done it, and we’re going to talk about how you can do it too.
Remember that everything new to you is harder at the beginning than it ever will be again. It’s the learning curve—your job, as it is now, is the hardest it will ever be, for a few reasons.
As you continue to get sales, your experience will help you become a better salesperson. Not only that, if you keep seeking out improvement in your skills (like reading this blog), you’ll discover other tips and techniques, and those add up.
However, when you’re new, you don’t do much repeat selling, because you don’t have many customers yet, and the ones you do have just purchased. This is why it’s so important to do the hard work now: presentations, phone calls, and build your customer base.
So why do people buy again?
An easy answer is that they’ve bought from you before, and it’s more convenient to continue with a relationship than to build a new one.
The second answer is that you’ve given them a reason to like you, and this is done by establishing a brand. This is especially important because there used to be a time where it was harder to diversify your purchasing. For instance, small towns would only have one hardware store or one general store, so you’d be forced to shop there even if you happened to dislike the owner. Today, the consumer has so much purchasing power. You can go online if you don’t want to interact, or you could take your money elsewhere. So it’s essential for your customers to like you. There are ways a customer can avoid you if you’re not likable: they can order online, find it in a store, or even find another rep. So you must be congenial.
The third thing is added value. The more value you add to their deal, the better results you’ll get. It’s about building your brand or what you want to be known for. Think of popular brands and what you associate with them. Nike is known for their trademark “swoosh” and their slogan “just do it”, and they’ve cultivated a brand of accessible athleticism. Someone looks at Nike and thinks, “if I wear the shoes and buy the shorts, it’ll get me that much closer to being successful in fitness,” and it’s a signifier to other people that you’re athletic.
How do you want people to remember you? Some reps have a great sense of humor and they lean into that, and their customers know that they’re going to have a good time. Some reps really sell the high-class idea, and their product is good enough to carry it.
Josh’s brand is centered around the family aspect. To Josh, everything is about appreciation and family, and almost every communication with clients says something along the lines of “thanks so much for being part of the family". In his emails, he sends photos and keeps them updated on his life, but more than that, he asks his customers for their input. Examples: do you have a favorite recipe you want to share; what’s your favorite part about summer?
Cultivating a brand is so much more than being the person with the (your product or service here). Generally, there are a lot of people with similar products or services—how will you stand out?
Adding value also means being more than just the point of sale. Are you someone who just makes a sale and disappears once they sign the contract, or are you calling them in three weeks after their product has been delivered and asking if everything came in alright?
People remember when someone goes out of their way to ensure their satisfaction. We’re social beings; we love getting calls and letters, so Josh adds value by sending monthly emails with cooking tips and recipes (because those clients bought his high-class, high quality cutlery, cookware, and kitchen tools. He sends everything from cleaning hacks to gardening tips to ideas on how to get kids involved around the house.
When you follow up with your customers, make notes of what they say.
Ask for their kids’ names, how old they are, if they have any vacation plans, and then use that when you follow up with them; “how was that trip to Denver,” or “Didn’t Katie just turn sixteen? How’s that driver’s license coming?”
This shows them that you’re making an active effort to be part of their life beyond being another commission. This is how they remember you when they have a reason coming up that could lead to another purchase. It’s also how you get referrals to neighbors, friends, coworkers, and family.
It takes some practice and it takes putting a system in place, even if that system is a big notebook. It’s worth noting that the only way you can follow up is if you have working phone numbers and emails, which is as easy as asking, “oh, whose number is this? Okay, when’s a good time to give you a call?” as you take their information on the initial order.
It’s important to have at least two methods of contact; some people screen their calls but answer an email immediately. Conversely, others never check their emails but text or call back instantly; everyone’s different and flexibility and data is paramount.
What value would I want to receive as a customer?
Do I want a video, or recipes, gardening tips, humorous content, or something else?
Whatever you think you’d want, your customers probably also want that. Or at least, some of them do.
Remember they’re people, not just another commission. If you’re likable and you make sure your customers know that you’re going to be around and available to help them, they know how to get a hold of you, that you’re adding value to them, and you’re following up consistently, all of these things will be the bricks you’ll use to build a customer base who adores you. This is how you go from a one-time salesperson to someone they contact anytime they need to order more, and in the best case scenario…a new ‘family member’.
Image by Lost Co