Sales make the (small business) world go ’round

 

Every company, regardless of product or service, is driven by sales.

Sales can come from a variety of sources, and in the past few decades marketing trends have been greatly impacted by digital/electronic presence. But there’s no doubt that personal communication and presence will always trump any kind of internet or email approach. That human-to-human connection continues to make a profound difference. There isn’t one among us who hasn’t signed a deal because we were swayed by liking the sales person.

Take the time to discover what your customers truly value about doing business with you. Don’t guess or assume that you know – ask them. Talk to employees and people who know your business well. Then, reduce what you learned into a sentence or two that you can use to articulate the value your business provides to prospective clients, current clients, and colleagues – and that you can use in your marketing materials and strategies.

As you grow your business, continually develop your sales and branding programs. Imagine your business as a living thing. Branding essentially is your business’s personality / identity, and it should be expressed consistently at every touch point a customer has with you personally – phone call protocol, email writing format, even the way you dress!

It’s always a good idea to set new goals for personal and professional growth, and to have benchmarks on your calendar every month.

Here are four ideas that sales representatives should consider.

#1 Embrace Your Ratios:  Knowing your call-to-close ratio is a number that you can work from to stay on track towards your budget.  Determine for yourself how many calls you need to make to get a meeting. Then, determine how many meetings you need to get to a closed deal. From there you can figure out your call-to-close ratio.

On the 15th of each of three consecutive months, write down this ratio. If by the third month your call-to-close ratio hasn’t improved, formulate a plan for changing that downward trend.

#2 Change Your Patterns: If you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you’ve always gotten.  For changes to be of any true positive value, they’ve got to be lasting and consistent.

What are you doing that’s not yielding the results you desire? Perhaps you’re not getting calls back from the voice mails you’ve left… so change the way you leave your voice mails. Try changing your message format on the first of every month for three months. Which style got the most positive results?

#3 Critical Questions Rule The World:  What are the 5 questions you need to ask each client to get to a point of mutual understanding?  These questions are different for each sales professional, regardless of the type of company or product sold. Selling style is personal. Write down the 5 questions you use most often and then share them with your sales team. Ask other members of the team to do the same so you can share best practices and learn from one another. One question that is old, obvious and does not set you apart from the crowd is, “Tell me about your marketing plan.”

Be more creative than that. Set a goal for developing and critiquing these five questions for the 10th of every month for three months. See how you can spark enthusiasm with your sales team.

#4 Personal Growth Is Essential: Your personal development must be constant and never ending — that path will greatly impact your success in sales. What will you do to make your sales strong?  Perhaps you should plan to read one business book per quarter. What about watching one sales-related webinar per quarter?  How about learning more about the industries/individuals you sell to? Set up a personal growth plan for yourself and stick to it.  [Check out the importance of individual development plans here.]

As old fashioned as it might sound, write down your goals — personal and professional. Set a date every month to revisit to your list of goals. Put them in a place you will often see them. More importantly, place reminders in your Google or Outlook calendar to remind you of these goals.

Frequent reminders are key to your accountability. Don’t sell yourself short!

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Ryan Dohrn
Ryan Dohrn is an internationally recognized internet consultant and business speaker. Contact Information: Ryan R. Dohrn President & Founder 360 Ad Sales Training and Strategy Brain Swell Media LLC Follow him on Twitter for daily tips and advice. Connect on LinkedIn.
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