How many times have you heard this or seen this advertised?
Generally in bright colours and a 100% Guaranteed success…just pay £99 per month and ……
Anyone can sell or should I say, anyone can give a product or service away and smash sales targets but to Smash Sales targets and Improve or maintain margins is a different story.
And, I can hear you say, yep heard it all before, blah, blah, blah! OK, and so you have, but what have you done about it? Most people read about all of this stuff but very few actually go out and try it consistently and achieve their outcome.
I recently ran a programme in Luton for 12 business owners on a similar topic, Smash Your Sales Targets and there were some key phrases that came out from the participants: I procrastinate too much, we don’t have enough time, we are inconsistent, we all do it when we have time, I don’t like making cold calls, what’s the point it just doesn’t work etc.
‘What does procrastination cost you?’ I asked. In this instance it was around £50k.
An opening question was, ‘if you were to increase your prices by 5 to 10% how many of you would lose clients?’ The answer, only 4 put their hands up! Would your hand go up or could you improve your margins overnight?
Do you have a documented sales process?
Is it consistently followed day after day by all who are involved in sales whilst sometimes flexing dependent upon the client?
Consider mapping out your current process. Does it have any gaps where it would fail to deliver? Are all of your sales team following your process if not why not? What message does this send to you or to prospects? Do you use a common system for recording sales records such as a CRM system?
What message do you want to send to prospects and existing clients and does your website align with what you say and what your team say?
Where do you get most of your leads from? Referral, website, networking, trade shows, social media? Do you shout about all the good you have done for clients or better still do you have testimonials or video testimonials that shout about you? Leverage all the good work you do, name drop!
Effective sales processes save time and effort. They build internal consistency – common language and approach.
Take time to identify what information needs to be collected at each stage of the process for that opportunity to qualify to move forwards.
Establish a template that others can follow, existing and new sales staff.
Whether it is a product or service know who you are selling to, who your competitors are and what sets you apart from them. Your USP (unique selling point)! If you can’t think of one ask yourself the question, Why do people, or why would people buy from you? Ask your customers, they are a great source of information.
The journey of sales can be quite protracted. I used to think that from first contact I could convert a sale within three months. This was my normal conversion timeframe. The longest was 18 months. Are you and your team resilient and despite the timeframe or the negative reactions you remain determined.
When you have your first conversation with a prospect what is your attitude like? Consider adopting ‘a millionaire mind-set’
- Focus on what you want, not on what you don’t want
- Surround yourself with ‘radiators’ – people who have positive energy
- Don’t beat yourself up!
- Celebrate success, however small or however big. It’s success!
- The only time we grow as a person is when we feel uncomfortable.
- Be happy if the plan is only 80% complete. Just do it.
When pre meeting planning try covering all bases. Practice the three positions – look at from your position, from the prospects position and a third parties position. This way you are more likely to be able to deal with the curve ball that might be delivered to you. In your preparation, know what barriers/objections prospects might raise and work out how to best handle those on a consistent basis.
Remember ‘why we have two ears and one mouth’, ask questions and gather information. Listen! Don’t be afraid of silence. The talk ratio may be 80/20 on the part of the prospect this gives you more time.
Don’t put barriers up to prevent prospects buying from you unless that’s the outcome you want. Make it easy. Remember can-do! But don’t be afraid to say no.
- Prepare, don’t procrastinate
- Practice and review: what worked well, lessons learnt
- Don’t be afraid to ask more questions
If you identify internal barriers within your process make a plan to remove them.
Remember: PLAN, DO, CHECK, ACT
Plan – What’s your goal or purpose? What does success look like?
Do – Implementation. Have the meeting, perform the presentation
Check – Review the process or meeting. What did we learn? What could we have done differently that would have improved the outcome or success?
Act – If improvements can be made make them, change methods, adjust the process and test.
The four steps are repeated over and over as part of a never-ending cycle of continual improvement.