The #1 reason new businesses fail within the first 2-3 years is lack of sales. Every business owner or salesperson needs to continually add new customers and increase sales volume in order to grow their respective businesses. However, in today’s selling environment this has become much more challenging.
Today’s buyers are highly educated, and the Web provides consumers and corporate decision-makers with access to a broad array of resources and content so they can be better informed when making purchase decisions.
So, what can you do to improve sales effectiveness and be better prepared to sell to a more sophisticated buyer?
To be effective in selling to a more sophisticated buyer, you must be able to match or exceed their level of knowledge of the products or services you’re selling, and articulate how they will benefit them and their organizations in meaningful ways.
6 proven ways to improve sales effectiveness and prepare your business for future success:
Get your books. Make continuous learning a priority. Read the sales classics (contact me for a recommended reading list), industry publications, business journal, sales blogs, annual reports, etc. Expand your knowledge of internal and external factors that could impact your customers.
Go to school. Attend a formal sales or skills training program. Role play and put what you’ve learn into practice in order to build upon the training experience and improve your sales effectiveness. Check on Google to find the sales or skills program that best addresses you area of need.
Call on decision makers. 60% of a salesperson’s time is spent in front of people who can’t buy or will never buy their products or services. So, identify the key decision makers and influencers very early in the sales cycle and work directly with them to improve your success rate. (Don’t forget your sales message.)
Build a sales pipeline. No sales forecast, no sales pipeline = no business! Think of your sales pipeline as a production line where raw materials (new leads) go in at the top and the finished products (sales) come out the end of the assembly line. Build your sales pipeline to keep new projects on track and moving to closure.
Stay the course. On average, 48% of sales people never follow-up, and only about 10% make more than three contacts with a prospective buyer. However, 80% of sales are made on the 5th to 12th contact. Stay engaged through closure to improve your win rates on new proposals.
Ask for the order. “We miss 100% of the sales we don’t ask for.” – Zig Ziglar. Be prepared to close the sale at any point during the selling process when the prospect shows clear signs they are ready to buy.
In closing, recognize that we’re all in the H2H (Human to Human) business. In order to improve sales effectiveness make sure your focus is on helping customers succeed and building lasting relationships, and not just the next sales order.