In order to run a successful directory website you need to be proactive with sales. Sales should be your primary focus whether you are making the sales yourself, or you build a team of reps to sell listings for you.
Everyone is a salesperson. Some people are just better than others. Use these tips and strategies to bring out the inner sales superstar in you!
1. Set realistic goals
Setting goals will help you stay on track and stay motivated. Start by setting a realistic goal of how many listings you want to sell each week and then determine how many businesses you will need to call or visit each day in order to hit this goal. Remember, you won’t win every sale and you may need to increase the number of businesses you contact each week in order to achieve your goals.
2. Generate a list of leads
Each week, create a list of the businesses in your area that you think will be interested in advertising on your site. Use this list as a guideline for who to call or visit each week, keeping detailed notes for each business you contact.
3. Focus on benefits rather than features
Businesses only want to know one thing: how this will help their business. Rather than focusing on technical features, highlight the key benefits of advertising on your website like brand awareness, online visibility, better search results and getting their business in front of more local customers.
4. Go door to door
Face-to-face selling is usually much more effective than selling over the phone or by email. It allows you to make a personal connection and ensure that you have the person’s full attention when presenting. Also, most people will feel inclined to listen to your pitch in person where they can just ignore an email or hang up the phone.
5. Schedule appointments
It’s much harder to sell listings over the phone without any supporting visuals or a demonstration of your site. When you call a business, focus on scheduling an appointment to come visit them so you can explain the benefits of advertising on your site in person.
6. Show them your website
Presenting a live demonstration of your website is a great way to explain what you are offering and review plans and prices. It also legitimizes your business and allows a business owner to see your website and what an actual listing looks like.
7. Show them their competitors
This can be an extremely effective sales tactic - show them competitors who are currently listed on your website and explain that each day that passes that they don’t advertise on your site is another day they are losing leads and potential market share to their competition.
8. Sell to those already advertising
Your best leads are often those businesses that are already advertising. These are business owners who understand the importance of advertising and already have a budget in mind and money to spend.
9. Print out marketing materials
Never sell empty-handed. Sales flyers, business cards and brochures are all great marketing materials that can help you highlight the benefits of advertising. If you don't walk away with the sale, leave them behind with your contact information.
10. Ask for the sale
If you don’t ask for it, you won’t get it. This is the biggest mistake amongst new salespeople. You need to complete every sales pitch by asking for the sale.
11. Follow up
Chances are some sales will require more than one contact. Be sure to keep detailed notes and follow up with prospects on a regular basis. Your determination and persistence will pay off in the end.
12. Don’t get discouraged
You need to remember that sales is a numbers game. You are going to hear a lot more “no’s” than “yes’s” so don’t get discouraged, don’t get frustrated and don’t take it personal. Every “no” just puts you one step closer to a “yes.” Stay motivated and remember that your first sale is the hardest, but once you get a few sales under your belt, it becomes easier.
13. Hire a sales rep
If you are really uncomfortable with sales or just want to increase your sales efforts with a sales team, hire an independent sales rep to work for you. Many sales reps will work on commission-only, which means they only get paid if and when they make a sale.