Three Simple Questions That Can Turbo Boost Your Sales

February 4, 2019

Good sales people are worth their weight in gold. But when you’re a business owner, selling is your job whether you’re golden at it or not.

As NPC and NRC-IRAP help a cohort of Canadian companies prepare for Natural Products Expo West (NPEW), we’ve talked to a lot of experts and trade show veterans about the best ways to tackle the sales process and see real bottom line results. Jenny Motkaluk, from Cumula, is a sales guru with a mission to help others ‘sell stuff for money’. We asked her for some tips.

What are the biggest mistakes people make when going to big shows like NPEW?

The biggest mistake is not having a plan. You have to start with clear objectives and make sure everyone in the company is agreed on those objectives. And you have to know how you’ll measure them in real concrete numbers.

Like how many sales you make?

Not exactly. Many businesses go to shows like this and make the mistake of thinking they’ll make sales. That’s really not likely. Selling is about building relationships. You’re not likely to meet someone and make a sale 30 minutes later.

If sales aren’t likely, what should you be aiming for?

If you’re thinking about sales as relationships, you should be counting the number of people or companies you can start cultivating relationships with when you get home after the show. That’s when the real work begins.

Let’s talk about that. What does the sales process really look like for you?

I always boil it down to three questions: What do I sell? Who do I sell it to? And why would they want it from me?

These are really simple questions, but the answers are more complicated than they seem. When you ask yourself, what do I sell? you probably imagine your product. But what you’re selling is really not the product but rather your product delivers to your customer.

And that makes you look at the second question – who do I sell it to? If you don’t understand the customer and their pain point and motivation, it’s really hard to convince them that your product is the solution they need. So there’s a bit of a feedback loop between question one and two.

This is where things get even more complex because you actually have many customers. If you’re in retail, you have the customer, the retailer, potentially a distributor and a broker. Each of them will have different objectives in ‘buying’ your product. Understanding those motivations is key to building great relationships that will ultimately lead to success.

Connecting those motivations to your product answers the third question, why would they want to buy it from me? When you truly see what would make it a no-brainer for them, you can set up the right conditions to make the sale.

How do you find the answers to all those questions?

That’s where the concept of relationships really comes into play. In every conversation you learn something new about your customer, and often something about that whole category of customers. It’s really important to approach this as an information-gathering exercise. When you sincerely try to understand their needs, and ask more questions, you get closer and closer to the answer.

Of course, you can also talk to other people like business owners or former employees of particular companies you are targeting (retailers or distributors, for example) so that you can understand their motivations and process. The more information you have, the better equipped you’ll be to offer a solution to the customer’s problem and make that sale.

Do you have questions or comments about this topic? Or are you looking for guidance as you approach NPEW? Ask us how we can help.