How to kick your sales efforts into high gear
Businesses can succeed or fail based on sales. There are a variety of reasons why one company may see sales flourish while another flounders. But in small businesses and entrepreneur-led start-ups, the reasons behind sluggish sales are often issues that can easily be corrected. They have more to do with focus and understanding what needs to be done rather than the market or competition, which is commonly blamed.
Here are three things a small business owner can embrace to ensure sales success.
Know What the Sales Staff Is Doing
Set clear expectations and goals for sales staff. A business owner is often the chief sales officer too (among many other things). Losing focus on sales because of the many other things that have to be done can be dangerous. To keep the focus on sales, follow these steps:
- Hire the right salespeople
- Give them great initial training
- Continue to train them
- Manage them and hold them accountable
- Coach them to continuously improve
- Appreciate and reward them
Remember that salespeople need a lot of recognition and rewards. While income is a motivating factor for any employee, it is important to understand that most salespeople do not work solely for a paycheck‚ they do it for the “thrill of the kill” and being able to show that off. They love to close. They love to hear people say “You are great.” They need to be appreciated. Make sure you provide ample monetary and non-monetary incentives to retain great salespeople.
MAKE TIME TO NETWORK
Yes, you! Of course your salespeople should network but everyone wants to know the owner and you can make headway in places and ways a salesperson cannot. Business owners generally commit two common mistakes that can prevent them from consistently attracting new business: not networking or networking ineffectively. Business owners can be a great lead source for their salespeople.
You are already so busy, the last thing you want to do is go out and network. The term “networking” often conjures up images of hobnobbing, chatting, or engaging in a quasi-social event with some nebulous business purpose pushed to the background. A total waste of time.
When attending a networking event, recognize that the most important indicators of networking success will occur before and after the event. Things to remember about networking:
- Figure out the best places to go
- Prepare in advance of the event, learn something about the event and the people
- Arrange for someone to meet you there who can make introductions
- Do not sell at the event, build relationships
- Follow-up is much more important than the event itself
As a successful business owner you will attend at least 4 networking events per month and focus on qualifying networking contacts by fitting them into one of these categories so you know how best to follow up.
- People to collaborate with
- People who can refer business
- People who can buy directly from you
Set Aside Time to Sell and Manage Sales
A small business owner has to be a multi-talented jack-of-all-trades who can manage and perform the wide variety of tasks that running a small business requires. Often, a business owner becomes so overwhelmed with the day-to-day tasks of keeping a business afloat that sales get pushed to the back burner. To avoid this, it is vital to effectively organize and delegate responsibilities in order to allow time to focus on sales. Your calendar becomes your best friend. Keep track of all of your activity for a week. It’s easiest to use your calendar to do that. Then look at the activity and determine what you can delegate to make more time for selling.
If you are doing the selling yourself it is absolutely imperative that you have a good percent of time each week dedicated to sales. If you are managing sales, determine how much time you need for weekly sales meetings, one to ones and strategy sessions and be sure to get time to do those reserved on your calendar.
Of course it is never just that simple, but focusing on knowing what the sales staff is doing, making time to network and making time for sales and sales management are guaranteed to help. If you are struggling with any of these, please call me for a free consultation 775-852-5020. I promise to give you some ideas you can use right away.
For online training that will benefit you and your company, visit our events page at: www.aliceheiman.com/events.