How to approach ‘sales’ is different for different types and sizes of businesses but there are some common themes and thinking where I can hopefully shed some light and provide some food for thought.
Every business leader needs to have an idea of where they want to be in 3 years, even if it’s just the back of napkin plan, but something to aim for will give you 2 key things (1) an aspirational end goal (2) a position to work back from to where you are now and allow you to envision the steps necessary to get there in reverse order.
When it comes down to a ‘Sales Strategy’, I write them regularly for clients, it’s part of any thorough marketing strategy and ties in with a company’s positioning. Who you are as a brand and your business’s core values in combination will dictate who you work with and vice versa; who you want to work with will influence the brand’s TOV. A good sales plan needs to be ‘SMART’ and rigorously monitored to keep you accountable to it. If the sales plan is well designed but sales are not converting, it is usually because the business is not staying on top of its leads, pipeline and deal closing. You will know your weaknesses, and if you need to outsource tasks or even the writing of it, make that decision for your business, to help you get to your 3 year goal.
Next, (as mentioned in my earlier article* <add link here) and I can’t stress this enough, you must make time for your sales! Make time to research and cold call new prospects, make the pitch relevant to their business, ask open questions, chase up proposals, chase up leads and catch up with your network. Get on top of all SQLs and MQLS, you’ll be glad you did! For every proposal I write, I expect about a 50% success rate. If you’re losing more than that, look into why and always ask when you have not been successful, but don’t take it personally, there’s always something to gain whether it’s a contact or knowing they aren’t the client for you.
Pricing Strategies – this is a big topic and one I can hardly get into lightly, but there are a lot of philosophies and thinking here. Heard of Blair Enns?! He is passionate about value-based pricing, but that won’t be right for every business and potentially not during a recession and not always for a brand new client. Know your value and stick to it. Be consistent. Know what you are and what you are not, do not try to be what you are not it will dilute your brand and reduce the effectiveness of your client delivery.
Closing strategies – the phase ‘always be closing’ some may say is out-dated but I think the message behind the technique is fundamentally valid, and, if used with robust emotional intelligence, will more often than not convert leads into clients. Once you have a client, it’s up to you to keep them loyal by constantly reaffirming why they work with you through the value you consistently add.
You are done. No need to say more, no need for small talk – so many get the sale then talk themselves out of it with irrelevant chit chat. Do not commit this cardinal sin, instead: be professional, concise and above all respectful of their time and your own.