We all know that sales growth is critical to sustained profitability and income. But often we attribute our poor sales performance to things outside of our control – like the economy or competition. Maybe it’s time to look internally.
The reasons for less than stellar sales results in many small businesses is often linked to focus, systems, collaboration and time management. Fix these areas and you and your team will achieve better sales results.
Lack of Focus. You won’t sell anything if you don’t make it the focal point of every day, week and month. The best and easiest way to turn this around is with written goals – tied to both results or outcomes and activities, the stuff you must do to create the results. Here’s a few my clients find helpful:
- How much revenue or sales do you need to generate or produce each month to achieve your annual goal?
- Based on your average sale or transaction, how many customers do you need to achieve that revenue each month?
- Using your conversion rates (and you should know these), how many calls, events, meetings or proposals do you need to make, attend or generate?
While this may seem obvious, it is not often done. What we measure and track, we can and often do improve. In fact, I’ve seen clients achieve double-digit sales growth simply by using this technique. Focus on the results, do the activities and watch your sales improve.
Inconsistent System. Prospects don’t become customers overnight. And it rarely happens by chance. It requires a step-by-step approach which often includes a variety of touch points and methods to uncover needs, build a relationship, earn their trust — and ultimately the sale. A good nurturing system often includes a variety of methods from calls and emails to social media and print. What is your system to nurture prospects into sales — and do you do it consistently each and every time?
Not sure or don’t have one? Then think back to the last few ‘ideal’ customers you acquired.
- How did you connect after your initial discussion?
- How did you follow up? At what frequency or how often?
- What critical events need to happen to move to the next step?
- What questions did you ask to uncover their needs?
- What messages (benefits) resonated well – and how did you reinforce it?
Write it down. Now define your system, step-by-step, based on what you learned and start doing it consistently for every lead. Tweak if needed – then do that consistently. Test alternative options – and implement them if you find they are successful. A quality system is developed over time. But it pays big dividends – makes selling easier, more effective and productive!
Lack of Collaboration. Did you ever notice that selling an idea to someone is much easier when he/she is engaged in the process? Well, the same is true when it comes to selling your products or services. If clients help you ‘build’ the best solution, they feel a sense of ownership and the confidence to invest. So how do you collaborate better with your prospects? Ask more and better questions. Seek to truly understand the problem, then ask questions that help the customer come up with the best solution – yours!
Poor Time Management. Building relationships and creating sales requires a big investment of time, so you must plan your activities and execute efficiently. Goals for focus and a system for consistent conversion will help improve your time management. However, you also need a system to prioritize tasks and schedule the work, then do it. Take advantage of technology such as video conferencing, smartphones, online presentations to minimize travel time, make meetings more productive, schedule your appointments and related tasks. An earlier post, Why To-Do Lists Aren’t Enough, may also help.
Now It’s Your Turn. Little improvements in each of these areas can make a huge difference in your results. If it feels overwhelming, then pick one to start – then another and another until you’ve conquered them all.
Ready to Put Your Business on the Path to Success?
Would working with a business coach help you take your business to a whole new level? Then let’s explore the possibilities with a complimentary consultation. It’s a chance to get to know each other, discuss your goals and the obstacles that hold you back. Together we can determine if there is a good fit between your needs and my services.
To learn more or schedule an appointment, call me at (856) 533-2344 or drop me an email Joan@HybridBizAdvisors.com