Are your sales figures unsatisfactory? Perhaps the problem lies, not in your marketing, but in your strategy and attitude towards sales. Fiona Clark reminds you where to put your focus in 2018.
If I was to mention the word ‘Sales’ to you, what would your immediate thoughts be and what image would come to mind? Would it be of a professional, successful business person helping clients to find a solution, or an unsavoury character trying to ‘close the deal’ and make their commission for the month?
We know sales is the lifeblood of every business and there is no money without it, yet a lot of business owners don’t seem to wake up in the morning with excitement and passion to ‘sell’ something every day.
If sales is one of THE most important money generating activities in business, then let me ask you a question: how much time are you spending each week dedicated to closing more sales?
I’ve worked with hundreds of small to medium business owners over the years and have found that a lot of people would rather focus on other things – for example, marketing, digital strategy, social media, internal systems, staffing, etc – rather than spending time on selling each month. And while I also teach on marketing, I can certainly say that you can market all day to clients, but if you can’t convert that into a sale, there is no money in the bank account.
So why don’t we like Sales?
Why is it that a lot of the time we have a negative perception of this word ‘sales’. The minute I mention sales, I often have people provide me with a variety of reasons why it’s not their favourite past-time in business.
• Don’t talk to me about sales – I don’t want to be pushy.
• I’m not a born salesperson.
• I’m not good at sales.
• My staff do the selling.
• I don’t have time for that.
• I don’t have a sales team.
• I’m not in sales… I’m the business owner.
But one of the big challenges is: who teaches you how to sell?
• Has anyone ever shown you how to ‘help your customers to buy’?
• Has anyone ever given you the exact critical steps so it flows in a conversation and feels good and natural for you and your client?
• Have you ever been given the tools, strategies and know-how to feel confident making a sale to help you grow your business?
If you’ve been trying to figure it out on your own, then no wonder you may not love ‘sales’ and could have opportunity to improve.
There are many strategies to help you increase sales, and here are three popular tactics that are low cost, successful and proven to work!
1) First of all, relax and stop selling! That might sound counter-intuitive, but stop focusing on trying to sell your products or services, and focus on your client instead.
You will often sell more when you relax. Just ask questions, find out what your client needs, and then establish if and how you can help them. A client is never interested in what you need, it is always WIIFM (what’s in it for me), so first of all find out what they need, and then how you can provide the solution.
2) Another strong way to increase sales and grow your business, is through referrals and word of mouth recommendations. This is because there is a higher level of trust; people are pre-qualified before they’ve even met you, and they are interested in what you do.
So make this another part of your sales and marketing strategy. Do you have a strong referral program? And what do you do to encourage the referral of potential clients and to say thank you for new referrals and clients.
3) Sales before marketing. In order to increase sales, businesses often focus more time and money on marketing and generating more leads. However, I would challenge this, and feel this is in the wrong order. The focus needs to be on conversion of the sale instead. Let me explain this a bit more. If you are filling the top of the funnel with leads, but there’s poor conversion, you’re losing a lot of prospects, losing money and losing results. Focus instead on converting your current leads and develop a good strategy around this. You may think it’s a numbers game and you need to meet with ten potential clients in order to make one sale, but I think a different approach would bring better results.
It seems good business sense to meet with ten potential clients and convert five to six of them – so it is less work, there’s a higher number of new clients, and no added expense.
So I would challenge you to look at how much money you are spending on marketing each year, versus how much you have spent in the past 12 months to upskill yourself or your team with sales skills.
Focus on money-making activity for 2018, and focus on helping your clients, and as you transform your sales, you’ll transform your business!
If you would like to know more about sales training for your business, please contact Fiona on: