How to Become a Sales Master
Being a business owner requires a broad range of skills and experience – the most indispensable of these skillsets is the ability to sell your product/service. However, if you are like most people, you may not consider yourself to be ‘natural’ salesperson. Even those that come from a sales background may not consider themselves great at sales – and those that do will eventually have to build a sales team of people who may not be as good as they are.
The bottom line is, if you can’t sell you won’t succeed. Your success relies heavily on careful research and planning, authentic communication, tactical persuasion/negotiation skills, and the ability to close. A standardized sales process should outline the main sales steps for your business, but also the tasks that need to be accomplished successfully at each stage. Do you have a sales plan?
Following Accelerate ActionCOACH’s proven method “Four-Steps to Successful Sales” can help avoid the sales rollercoaster experienced by the average salesperson. Hence, building an individual selling system, like the one described below, will guarantee great results for any business:
Step 1 – Goals:
In order to achieve great returns, it is important to first set clearly defined, attainable goals which can be measured by a specific time-frame. Start by defining an annual sales goal for your overall company, as well as individual sales goals for specific positions in your organizations. From there, break each goal down by quarter, month, week, or even daily. Determine your KPIs for measurement to ensure the goals are being accomplished.
Step 2 – Prospecting:
Sales is a numbers game. The more prospects you add to the top of your sales “funnel” the more paying customers fall out the bottom. The level of success achieved by your salespeople will always be determined by the number of customers generated that are in addition to floor traffic or telephone inquiries generated by the business’ advertising. Do you know who your best customers are currently? Start by developing an Ideal Customer Profile and based on your current “A+” customers. Make a list of other prospective clients that match that profile.
Step 3 – Qualifying:
Qualifying is the factor which has the greatest impact on your time management. You must become skilled in sorting prospects based on their relationship to the Idea Customer Profile mentioned above in step 2. The greatest stress in a salesperson’s career will come from working with unqualified prospects, be it someone who refuses to buy at your required price or someone who is not ready, willing and able to buy at all.
Ask open-ended questions during an initial meeting to help you build rapport with your new customer, and help identify their challenges to find which of your product/service is uniquely suited for them.
Take a few minutes and write down the specific, actionable steps that you take each prospect through to get them familiar with you, your business and your products/services. Is your sales process lengthy or a well-oiled machine? How can you improve the process so it is easier for you and your customer?
Once you have your current process steps written down, ask yourself, is everyone in my business doing it the same way? If not, why not? For a company to provide a consistent customer experience from start to finish, all salespeople need to follow the same process. Sure, personalities and relationships will vary based on the salesman’s skillset, but ultimately the process is the same.
Establish your specific selling process steps, train your team to follow the selling process, support it with the necessary marketing materials, and measure the results of each specific step. Make changes to your sales process based on the results of your measurements. Test and Measure. Test and Measure. Again and again. Make incremental improvements and hold yourself and your team accountable for the results. This is the recipe for success.
Step 4 – The Close:
Now it’s time to seal the deal! Don’t be afraid to ask for the business. Some salespeople are so afraid to ask for the money that they end up missing their sales window. The key is to have a defined series of steps with processes and approximate timelines within each step, leading the customer through the sales funnel. A good sales process will not only lead to more sales but also higher profit and greater customer satisfaction. Word to the wise – before you begin providing services to your new customer, be sure to follow your company’s payment policy and get credit approved before-hand. Nothing can take the wind out of your ‘sales’ like a customer who doesn’t pay.
Service after the Sale:
Out of sight, out of mind. Following up and staying top-of-mind, without hovering, is the first step to your next sale or referral. Inform your customers regularly about new organizational policies or procedures, new products or services, success stories, market conditions in other industries that might impact them and any important bits of information that is of potential value. Stay in touch through e-mail newsletters, direct mail, telephone calls, meetings and/or social media.
Accelerate ActionCOACH offers educational workshops on how you can build, adjust and implement a sales process in your organization. Our expert coaches will meet with your leadership and sales team to walk you through how to set up your personalized sales process, or how to make changes in your current process to start seeing greater results today. Contact us to learn more.