Who really understands the art of effective sales? The difference between effective sales people versus the typical plaid jacket, wide tie wearing, sleazy sales person in your mind is often inconceivable. An inconceivable difference … except for the results.
Because new and tech are often equated with money, it should come as no surprise that many startup CEO’s and senior team members have little regard for sales. As a previous sales trainer and as an entrepreneur, I’ve always held that sales is the lifeblood of your company. We can debate all day whether there are successful companies without sales people, but we could likely agree that without profitable revenue your business won’t survive.
As I return fresh from facilitating quarterly planning sessions with two very different companies – one tech and one a service organization, I’m affirmed that without a sale (funds collected and in the bank) you don’t have revenue. And, without revenue you can’t have margin or profit. Without margin or profit, you’ll either be spending time raising money (most often too early) or closing your doors. As a result of this recent experience, I asked Jack Daly to address the issue of selling profitably in a multi-part series.
Here’s Jack Daly’s first of three installments for sales success:
Start immediately with each sales person listing his or her top 30 prospects in the order of priority. In the next column, indicate the status of the account and what has been the sales prospecting activity over the prior 90 days. In an additional column, list the top hurdles in the way of winning over the account, and some possible cures to leap the hurdles. Now add a column of targeted timeline for the win. The final column on this analysis should indicate next the action steps – the who will do what, by when column.
For an immediate jump in business, take the above approach with your existing customers and clients, making sure to look at other locations and product lines that can be won over with those all important "inside referrals."
Now that you have the activities identified as to what's needed, role play each scenario as if the desired appointment was obtained. One person in the role practice will be the sales person, one will be the prospect, and one will be the observer. Suggest doing each scenario three times, with each individual wearing a different hat. This should cut down on the surprises and add to the confidence level on the real calls. On the pro golf tour, the pros try to draw on as many shots as possible from their practice and memory stores, such as "I've been here before, this is how I hit this one." To get top results, they certainly aren't "winging it."
To conclude, how about a short term contest? If you are the CEO/business owner/Sales Manager, step up with a 60-day duration contest offering a couple of solid prizes tied to results. If you are doing this on an individual salesperson level, set a special reward for yourself upon accomplishment of some predetermined result.
Here are a few Jack Tips to Increase Sales and Profits
- Be unique - from reception to voice mail.
- Never make a call without a purpose.
- Ask questions and listen.
- Selling is the transfer of trust.
- Never quote price until you establish value.
- Goals not in writing are dreams.
- People like to buy, not be sold. Help them buy.
- Trust trumps price all day long.
- Things that get measured get done.
- The best salespeople are canned. Don't wing it.
- Model the masters. Learn from the best.
- People are different. Sell accordingly.
- We are what we think we are. Raise the bar!
As you wrap up a season of relaxation, fun and holidays with your family and friends, it’s time to get serious about goals for next quarter, next year, and beyond. I’ll bring Jack Daly back soon for the second part in this series. Meanwhile, remember the old adage I heard in my first year of business: revenue is vanity, profit is sanity, but cash is king. Go rule your kingdom.
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