By Rieva Lesonsky, CEO, GrowBiz Media,

When the going gets tough, the tough…start selling. With apologies to singer/songwriter Billy Ocean, in times like these entrepreneurs need to focus on bringing in the money. That means selling more. To help you do just that, here are eight smart tips to help you boost your bottom line.

1. Knowledge is power, so you and any employees or outside sales reps need to be fully up-to-date on what you sell–and what your competitors offer as well.

2. When you started your business, hopefully you defined your USP (unique selling proposition). That’s what makes your product or service stand out from the competition. Is your USP still working, or does it need tweaking?

3. Remember, your job is not to sell your products or services. Instead, it’s to sell prospects on the benefits of doing business with you. Frame your sales pitch around what’s in it for them, not what’s in it for you.

4. Make sure you’re selling to the decision-maker. Don’t waste your time pitching your goods and services to people who can’t say “yes.” Hopefully you’ve done your research and discovered that your prospects not only have a need for what you’re selling, but also can afford to pay for it.

5. Sales are not just momentary transactions. They’re about building trust and forging relationships, which turns prospects into clients. People are going to question you, your prices, your customer service policies and more. Giving them straight answers builds the trust factor.

6. All clients have objections. Your job is to overcome them. This means listening more than you talk. It’s crucial you uncover your client’s pain points. What are their challenges? Then explain how you can solve them.

7. Even if you’re not going to sell online, you need a Web site. Having a Web presence helps consumers find you (if you optimize your site), boosts your marketing power and makes it easier to do business with you.

8. Keep talking. If you make the sale, follow up periodically to make sure your customers are satisfied and to see if they need anything else from you. If they are happy, ask for testimonials and referrals. If you don’t make the sale, ask why they didn’t buy from you. Take what you learn and incorporate it into your sales process.

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