I hear so many people expressing concern that it is much harder to achieve sales targets nowadays. When asked why, they initially refer to all sorts of reasons ranging from political uncertainty, new technology to changing social conditions. However, they soon reach for rational reasons like; our prices are not competitive; the sales targets are too high; competition is getting fiercer; staff morale is declining; and teamwork is poor.
“But hey,” they continue, “we have been through tough times before – that’s business! If we go back to the basics, it will reboot our sales. We can find more hot prospects, make appointments, conduct interviews, handle objections and close sales.”
Well, is it that simple? Follow the tried-and-tested marketing and sales approach and all will come right? Do you only need to: Do some research to confirm your product is needed as it is; make sure customers are willing to pay your price; agree on a sales target based on past performance and future potential; devise yet another incentive scheme for sales people; advertise; display the product where it is easily found and then your sales will increase? Doing this may have been enough for you to survive in the past and even thrive, but it is certainly not enough to thrive in current and future trading conditions.
To thrive in sales where the opposition has comparable products and sales people who have similar training, you need to find marginal gains that will move you inch by inch from surviving to thriving. Clearly, you start by doing the basics better.
Here are a few more ideas you could add to the basics:
- Increase your number of clients. This means finding more quality leads; optimizing your leads sources and improving your sales conversion. I use the image of scaffolding for sales conversion. The first level is to gain the attention of the prospect; the next is to stimulate their interest in your product; then, provoke a thoughtful process; finally, prompt action. In this scaffolding process, you apply consultative selling combined with a light amount of NLP (Neuro Linguistic programming)
- Increase transaction value. Here your intention is increase the size and profitability of transactions. To do this you work with price points and “selling on”
- Increase transaction frequency. For this point, you devise strategies that enable more contact with customers
- Increase sales efficiency. Your aim is to generate timely information that will help the sales process. Your CRM should be reporting; prospects to purchase ratios; response times; objections and how many follow ups made to customers.
- Always have a 10-second, seed planting, elevator pitch for those times where you are confronted with a brief opportunity to promote your business. In this instance you focus solely on the difference that makes you better than the opposition
- Most of all develop your mental toughness. Manage rejection as a direction finder. The previous ideas are some of many contained in a mind for sales. Once you apply the components of mental toughness, you will truly have a mind for sales.
Dr Steve Harris. Motivational speaker, team building, conference speaker, keynote speaker