Do your sales results look like a roller coaster? High spikes followed by steep declines? Here are five ways to avoid peaks and valleys for better sales results.
Set Goals — Without clearly defined goals, you will achieve very little. Since your sales success directly impacts your personal income, this is always a good place to start. Ask yourself how much you want to earn – then how much you need to sell to achieve this income.
Don’t stop with sales or revenue goals. Since results come from taking action, set some activity goals — how many calls, meetings, proposals, events do you need to achieve your sales objectives? Break them down to daily, weekly or monthly goals as appropriate – and focus!
Be a Prospector — While your website, advertising and other marketing efforts will send leads your way, you must be willing to generate some of your own – by prospecting. Put a system in place to regularly find new customers through referrals, networking, social media, past customers, etc. Build and maintain your database – your pipeline of current and future opportunities. Don’t wait for leads to come to you – go get them!
Qualify Before You Invest — Qualifying prospective customers is crucial to managing your time and getting more from your efforts. We have all had situations where we invested a lot of time and other resources trying to sell to someone who will never buy, for whatever reason.
Your success here starts with being clear on your ideal targets — those who need and value what you sell and have the ability or authority to buy now or in the future. Without clarity, every prospect looks like an opportunity. So be clear on what you want, screen out what you don’t and watch your sales improve. Do you have 4-5 good questions to help qualify customers? You should.
Use a Sales System — People buy from those they know and trust, so building relationships is an important part of sales. But relationship building in business and in life takes time. For most people, it won’t happen with a five-minute phone call or a brief conversation at an event.
A system is the best way to ensure a consistent approach to nurture leads and build relationships – from the initial point of contact to the eventual sale. Depending on the business, it may take a week or months, a few contacts or a lot of them. Use your past experience to select what works best for you, then be consistent. Stay connected and choose methods that appeal to your targets. I recommend a combination of methods, including phone, email, mail or social media. Linked In is a must for sales professionals – so make it part of your sales system.
Follow up — Follow up is a key to converting more prospects to customers AND getting customers to buy more. So why do so many sales people fail to do this or give up after one or two attempts? When you consider that most sales are made after seven or more contacts, the gap is obvious. No need to hound prospects. Just follow-up until you get a decision – yes or no. Be relentless with your follow-up and your sales will improve.
Follow-up is not just for prospects. Incorporate a system for customers too! It is the first step to the next sale or referral. Whether you mail a thank you card note, call to determine satisfaction with a recent transaction, or provide them with a token gift, your follow-up after the sale can pay big dividends.
Sales don’t just happen, they require effort, persistence, and consistency. So try integrating or improving these five elements into your sales efforts and get off the sales roller coaster.
New Monthly Article & Business Tools
For additional ideas to improve your small business, visit my article library. For new business improvement articles, exclusive tools and insights on entrepreneurship, click here to subscribe to my monthly eNewsletter. When you do, I’ll also send you my free eBook, 7 Steps to Build a Better Business.