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Sell, sell and sell some more
By The ICON Team on 09/10/2012 - 0 Comments
It can be daunting when first owning and running a business there appears to be so many priorities to juggle with: staff, suppliers, invoicing, VAT returns; all of which seem very urgent to deal with and keep under control. However, all of these can be a distraction from the primary focus of a business – that is to generate sales, for without sales a business has nothing. It is not a ‘chicken and egg’ situation, it is a fact – unless you have a purchase order from a customer many of these other activities are not relevant.
Businesses have to be driven forward with energy and passion and these qualities are essential in sales, so the priority for all business owners is to develop a strong sales process and to dedicate time and resources to its delivery each day. In the first instance you need to focus on the following tasks:-
- Prioritising sales activity – Not the other tasks that seem urgent
- Creating a sales mind-set for both yourself as the leader and your team
- Sales skills are vital – You must know how to sell your product
- Have clear sales goals and targets – review performance against them regularly
- Make your marketing and messages ‘unique’ – Develop a USP
Starting to Sell
High growth success cannot be achieved without a well thought-out offer. Whatever you sell you have to do it with passion and with the genuine belief that what you offer is going to ‘add value’. It must deliver a tangible customer benefit and deliver a solution to meet the needs of the customer.
There are a few key things to remember and put in place before you begin selling. To be a successful sales person you must put yourself in the proper frame of mind and start every working day with your priority and objective being to sell. To achieve this you have to get yourself physically in front of your customer. It is only through practice that you will make progress in sales and close more business, learning to overcome rejection and hurdles. Indeed research shows that on average eight hurdles or objections will be put up before you can win the order.
If you cannot tolerate rejection and summon the courage to ask for the order at every opportunity then sales is not for you, so it is important that you find someone who can if your business is to succeed.
The characteristics of a successful and effective sales person are:-
Success in selling requires
- Being self-motivated
- Positive attitude
- Eager to keep learning
- Questioning and listening skills
- Pride in the company and its products
- Being organised
The Sales Process
Companies have developed many elaborate tools to track and monitor performance of the sales process. Some are long and others much shorter but in my experience they need to cover a number of key stages. It is so important for business owners to fully understand the sales process and to have detailed knowledge of their product and service to overcome each and every objection that they will encounter. Next up it is vital that you can deliver what is offered reliably and well. Businesses are not built on over-promising and under-delivering, they are built on delivering time and time again, with the objective to exceed customer expectations.
Seven steps of the sale:
- Prospecting – identifying and connecting with your target customers
- Presenting – Thoroughly prepare your pitch to sell yourself and the company
- Recommendation – Once you have all the details recommend your solution
- Negotiation – Gaining agreement for the terms and conditions of delivery
- Ask for the order – Closing can be done as soon as the product and price have been set
- Contract and/or agreement –All relevant paperwork is signed and the order placed
- Invoice and Payment – monitor progress the sale is not complete until you have been paid
Sales skills are not learnt overnight and have to be practised, time and time again as each customer and situation is different. One of the most difficult skills to master is the art of asking the ‘killer questions’ at the right time in the process and then ‘keeping quiet’. By active listening you are inviting your customer to tell you their difficulties and challenges, to flush out their needs and ‘pain points’ which are essential to you providing the right solution and closing the sale.