3 minutes reading time

Different Types of Sales - which Options do I have?

Especially for small and young companies with little money to spend I would like to share other criteria to differentiate certain sales methods.

Option A: Approach customers actively

This is basically the classic way of sales. You target your customers one by one, via phone or personally and try to convince them to buy your product. Often more or less personalized e-mails and other marketing efforts lead the way to start the first serious negotiations.

This kind of a personal approach works of course better, if it is either connected to a special occasion (i.e. your potential clients are affected by a law change at the end of the year) or if you assume your leads (=potential customers) really need your product for certain reasons. Then you can address this need in your mailing and increase conversion rates a lot.

Make sure to track your actions to evaluate your different methods, topics and response rates. How many of your recipients replied to your mail, how many were willing to meet, how many of them did actually buy your product.

Option B: the customer shall find you

This sales method is not about waiting and not doing anything, but more about attracting a lot of people at the same time, who are actually searching for your product. That means you do not talk to your future customers one by one, but go to places where they try to solve their problems. This can be offline (i.e. trade fairs) or online (i.e. search engine advertisement, company blog, etc.). So while this sales method is not passive at all, instead of "pushing" towards your client, it is more a "pull" method. And often it is far more efficient.

One option would be to deliver speeches on relevant networking events, business events or conferences. A good reputation as a specialist in your subject will help you to sell your product or service. The same applies for the online world. If more people read your articles and see you as an expert, the more likely they will buy from you and increase your sales.

Even if someone does not become a customer himself, it is a good starting point for your referral marketing. For a good word of mouth this person does not necessarily have to be a customer, everyone can give a good recommendation to friends or relatives.

How do I pick the right sales strategy for me?

The right sales strategy for you depends a lot on the product or service you sell, who you target and of course on your financial resources. Apart from that you do not have to decide for only one way, but go for a "hybrid" approach and combine different options. Especially if you identified different target groups for your product(s) you should definitely keep that in mind.

For example take the small companies of handycraft businesses or other old industries, compared to modern e-commerce stores that only sell their stuff on the web. While for the former, online content marketing might not work at all, trade shows could work well. For the ones with a high internet affinity content marketing might be the perfect fit.

On the other hand basic content marketing and even search engine advertisement can be a much cheaper start with better long tail sales compared to booth on an expensive trade fair. Apart from that you find out more about what your clients are interested in and when they don't care.

Different target groups and different products require various sales methods and often even different key messages. Moreover you have to decide, if a direct one on one approach is efficient for you or if you want to encourage your potential clients to find you.

In the next article of this series I will talk more about key messages and USPs, as well as on how to define the target group for your product or service.

Sven Sester