Article #11, June 24, 2003
Organize Your Sales Effort
Sales is probably the most important component of a successful business. Most entrepreneurs, however, do not enter into a new endeavor because they have stellar sales abilities – they enter the new business because they have a passion for the product or service (product).
This passion is critical to the success of the business, and specifically the sales effort, but passion isn’t enough. An organized, consistent sales process must be developed through planning, trial and error and analysis. This may sound like a lot of work, but it doesn’t have to be.
Planning includes a thorough understanding of your product’s features (what does the product offer) and benefits (how does the customer benefit from your product), and what problems your product solves for your ideal customer. Also, what differentiates you from your competition? After detailing this out, then identify your ‘target market’ – those customers to whom you plan to sell your product.
Investigate where you find your customers, and list the different ways you contact them. Write a script for each of those points of contact. For example, I meet customers at my local chamber of commerce and need to know in advance what to say to them when we first meet in person. Then when I call them to follow up, I need another script, etc. I use an outline format, but some people need a word-for-word script.
Once you have planned all of this, then you take action! (And isn’t that what coaching is all about?!) You contact your potential customers and talk to them every way you can and at every possible opportunity. Keep track of who you contact, where you meet them and what happens. While I encourage you to try new things, it may be necessary to stick with a technique awhile before you really know if it works or not.
Take time periodically to analyze what works and what doesn’t. At first contact, you may need to sell the appointment, not the product. What techniques got you more appointments? Then, who said yes, and why did they buy? For those who didn’t buy, why didn’t they buy? Find trends and exploit them. See what your competitors are doing and what works for them. Once you have identified what works, do it over and over, consistently.
This is a very high level view of the sales process – there have been many books written on the subject, so there is obviously much more to the process. If you can learn from reading and have the time, I recommend you head to the bookstore. If you are like most people, including professional salespeople, having a coach can make the difference between mediocrity and excellence. Which do you choose?
Call me for your complimentary coaching session. I promise you will receive value in this first session, with no obligation to go further. 818-508-1678 or mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org.