Sales are the life-blood of every business. If your business provides real value then there is no reason for sales failure but if sales suck chances are you are not doing the fundamentals!
Here are 7 reasons your sales might be falling short!
1. No business plan
A speedboat without a driver will simply travel in circles. A business without a clear, defined, written plan becomes increasingly inward looking, becoming more and more focused on the process of the business and less focused on growth. A plan keeps everyone’s head up and looking toward the business goals. Most businesses do not have a detailed, written business plan. Is it easy? No, it is very hard work and requires the managers to make decisions and to honestly assess strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats.
2. No Sales Process
Who are your ideal customers? How to your find them? How do you get their attention? What is your compelling offer? What is your pitch? How do you handle objections? How do you close? Do you measure your sales process? What is your conversion rate? What regular steps do you take to improve your conversion rate? Knowing the answer to these questions would suggest that you have a sales process and take on-going steps to improve every aspect of your sales process and improve selling results. Don’t have a sales process? Well, someone else will put in the effort (a competitor?) and so else will get the results you’re dreaming about.
3. Nobody is selling
Many businesses manage to find customers through networking, advertising or referrals (all great and important) but never manage to create a successful selling role within the business. These businesses can become moderately successful, however, rarely reach the economies of scale to become significant organisations. Usually, the fortunes rise or fall on the energy of the founder. Once the founder burns out (usually at ten years) or retires the business closes. When a business begins the process of hiring a dedicated sales force everything changes and possibilities broaden.
4. Poor hiring
Too many business managers do not value what salespeople can achieve and think all a salesperson needs is a telephone, a telephone book and a sales script. This is like thinking an accountant only needs to know how to use a calculator. These managers tend to hire the cheapest, most inexperienced sales people they can find. They result is a waste of everyone’s time and effort. Hire the very best salespeople you can find, invest in the very best tools and the very best training. You reap what you sow – it is that simple!
5. Afraid to Cold Call
Lots of businesses invest in marketing but then make all sales dependant on inbound inquiries – big mistake. Every business can benefit significantly by identifying key prospects, developing a compelling offer and then picking up the telephone and asking for an appointment. Many of our prospective customers are not looking for a new supplier and don’t even know that they could be do better with our amazing offer. Become evangelical about the amazing value your business offers – pick up the phone and call somebody!
6. Failure to invest in training
Every client touchpoint is an opportunity to deepen and strengthen our client relationships but few companies will invest in company wide sales training. As a result, the battle won by the sales or marketing department is often lost elsewhere. Each time we connect with a client and prospect we can help the sale – every email, every time someone picks up the telephone, collects a bill, or fulfils an order is an opportunity to do better.
7. Thinking more is the same as better
If our cold calling campaign is not getting results then increase the number of cold calls! Wrong! More is rarely better than better! If you are not getting the results you want from your sales efforts then measure, test and refine. Once you start improving results then invest in quantity. The best businesses measure everything and are always testing new ideas and approaches. A great approach that is five years old may have lost all of its value – if you don’t measure then how do you know?