As business owners, we depend on sales to provide us with the cashflow and profit we want and need. Whether you do the selling, have others sell for you or any such combination, your revenue, profit and income will always reflect how well you turn prospects into paying customers.
So why do some owners and sales people struggle while others find easy success?
No, the answer is not that they were born salespeople or they have a natural ability to sell. The truth lies in the fact that sales success comes from three things – Attitude, Activity and Ability.
Attitude is more than just self-confidence. Yes, you must believe you can sell before you will successfully do it! But attitude is not just about you and your personal beliefs, especially if you have others selling for you.
What is your attitude about the products or services you offer? Do you and your team firmly believe you fill a need in the market? Can you deliver what you promise every time without fail? Do your customers get real value by working with your company or purchasing your products? If you or your team cannot confidently say YES to these questions, selling will typically be a challenge. So how do you fix it? Focus on improving the delivery of your service and get clear on the benefits so you (and your team) always have the WE CAN DO attitude.
Activity is all about DOING and involves marketing to generate leads and sales to convert those leads to paying customers. If you do not generate enough activity, you will not generate enough sales and revenue. So how much activity is the right amount? It depends on the sales and revenue goals you have set (and yes, you must have specific, measurable sales goals).
To start, ask yourself two questions. What strategies, such as cold calling, advertising, direct mail, networking, referral programs, are you using to generate leads and how consistently and frequently are you using them? All too often, small businesses rely on one or two strategies and do them when revenues drop or they get around to it. Next, look at the sales management system – or process you use to convert leads to sales and ask yourself what activities, such as follow-up calls, setting up meetings, doing estimates or proposals, making presentations, must be done to turn a lead into a sale?
Finally, set activity goals to support your revenue goals. The best way to do this is to start with the end in mind – revenue goals or number of new customers. Then, using your conversion rate, develop the number of appointments, proposals and/or leads you need to achieve this. Note, if you do not know and track your conversion rates, start doing so immediately. All successful sales people know their conversion rate(s) from lead to sale and you should too.
When we talk about someone’s ability to sell, it is all about how well he or she can uncover customer needs so they can provide the best possible solution (i.e. make the sale). To do so effectively, we must recognise two important things: First, buying decisions are primarily emotional, a desire for gain or fear of loss (or pain avoidance) and second, people buy benefits, not features. Therefore, success in sales requires that you know more than just the features of your products or services. You must know the benefits your products or services provide and understand the true emotional motivators for YOUR target customers.
Once you understand these two important facts, selling is much easier because you do not sell; you simply provide solutions that meet their needs.
So how do you uncover emotional needs and build desire for your products or services? Brian Tracy says it best – you question skillfully and listen carefully. So ask yourself this: How much of your time is spent building rapport and asking great questions? When you do ask a question, do you stay in the moment (and really listen) or is your mind focused on how you will close the deal?
A wise man once said “God gave us two ears and one mouth so we should listen twice as much as we speak.” This is great advice, especially when you are in sales!
So now you have the three keys to sales success and higher income – attitude, activity and ability! And here is the good news. All of these skills can be learned and developed if you have the desire to be successful – a passion for learning and a willingness to invest the time to make it happen. So get started – and watch your revenue and income soar!
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