Before anything can happen in business, someone must make a sale. In this five part series, Alex Pirouz outlines the dos and don’ts of successful selling.
It’s a sad reality that most business owners are working in their business rather than on their business.
They develop a belief in and love for the business that’s so self-absorbing that they can’t imagine anyone else could be as passionate or knowledgeable about their product or service as they are. Therefore, they try to do everything themselves.
As a result, they often fail to systemise or delegate duties. Without attention to new revenue channels, many businesses find themselves going backward, as their sales reduce dramatically.
And as revenue decreases, so does the number of sales personnel. In the wake of the GFC, most businesses have reduced their sales staff by 25% and in some extreme cases by 60%.
Trying to run the whole business yourself is not only stressful for you, the business owner, but also for the staff, who feel inadequate and unchallenged. But how do you drive revenue and increase sales if you have a very tight budget and you really can’t afford to hire sales staff on a full or part time basis?
In short, the business owner must get more creative.
Here are seven different strategies any business owner can employ to not only increase sales but also systemise the sale process – and do more in less time.
1. Joint Venture Relationships: Are you developing them?
The quickest and most cost-effective way to increase sales is to partner with other industry-related businesses that could create exposure for your product or service through their customer database. When developing a joint venture relationship, think of businesses who your customer would go to before or after they purchase something from you.
It is important to know your outcome before contacting possible joint venture partners. For example, do you want to send an email out to their database, or do you plan to give their customers a free test of your product? Think of a strategy that is going to be a win/win situation for each party involved.
2. Systemise your Sales Training
Hiring new salespeople is an expensive project because of the time and resources it takes to train a new sales consultant in your product and company. Start systemising this part of your business by creating videos, manuals and scripts that sales trainees can study before stepping into the office on their first day at work.
By doing this, you cut down the amount of time and money it takes to train new staff and increase your bottom line much more quickly because your sales staff can start selling from the very first day.
3. How are you finding your sales professionals?
Don’t just follow the traditional way of finding sales staff. Recruitment costs these days can be very expensive and it does not necessarily guarantee you a solid candidate. There are many job boards these days that allow you to place an ad for free. Try to use the power of social media or, what I believe to be the best form of recruitment, talking to internal staff members.
4. On what basis are you hiring?
A key ingredient in hiring quality sales staff is to hire on attitude, not skill. Someone could be the best salesperson in the world on paper but his or her attitude might not be right for the current role. Generally, it is very hard to change someone’s attitude, but much easier to teach them new sales skills.
5. Staff Investments
Invest in the sales team by having every member read a book on sales each month. Purchase the book for them and let them know that you want to help them grow and become the best they can be in sales. After being in sales for over 12 years, I can tell you firsthand that it’s not always about money when it comes to salespeople; growth and job satisfaction play a major role in doing a good job while on the job.
6. Salespeople, like all people, need a good challenge
If they come to work every day and it is the same old thing then sooner or later they will get bored and start looking for another position. Think of new challenges and sales targets you can create every month that stretch their comfort zone.
7. Don’t know what they want or need? Just ask.
You need to find out what each individual sales staff is looking for by working in your business. Too many times I have asked sales managers and business owners what their team members look for in their role within the organisation. Ninety per cent of the time, they tell me what they think, rather than what their staff members think. Don’t assume what your sales staff thinks: ask them!
By implementing these seven steps on a consistent basis you will start to notice an increase in sales, staff morale and, most importantly, a growth in sales revenue. You can now spend more time working on growing the business instead of just being stuck in the business.
Alex Pirouz is the founder of RIDC Advisory Pty Ltd. A Business and Sales Advisory firm partnering with the top 1% of Australia’s largest and fastest growing companies to further increase their sales revenue. (Visit www.ridc.com.au for more details)Image by spcbrass [Shawn Carpenter]