Whether you like it or not, if you are in business you are almost certainly going to be spending some of your time selling.
So what is your attitude to sales? Is it a dirty word for you? Does the thought of picking up the phone to make a call to a cold or even a warm prospect fill you with dread?
In sales it is all about the 3 key areas – your attitude, your activities and your acumen.
Firstly, for almost all of us what we have to offer as a service or product we actually believe is of value to certain people or businesses. What we are trying to do is to match our services and products with the pains and needs of other people and businesses out there.
Building some confidence in that is a good starting point.
What this also means is that our services and products will NOT be of benefit to all the people all the time, so we need to get used to rejection!
Knowing your conversion rate for sales is important, as this means that you are clear that each rejection is a journey on a path to a sale. It actually means that each call or contact is actually worth something.
If you need to make 150 calls, to have 30 longer conversations, to get to 3 meetings to secure one client worth £1,000.00 this actually means that one call is worth £6.67. Try the calculation for your business, based on your conversion rates. If you don’t have a clear view of your conversion rates start to track them as what you focus on and measure is what you can improve.
Work on seeing sales as a positive part of what you do for both yourself and the potential clients out there – and NOT as a necessary evil. Remember you are developing relationships and not hard selling.
Also try building some form of routine in each time you start selling – whether that be positive affirmations, reading testimonials or doing something that will put you in a good frame of mind. You can then do this before networking events, sales meetings or making calls.
We started to touch on this in the attitude section, but you need to plan your sales activities week by week. This means planning in time and key actions for you and others involved in sales in your business. It also then means tracking the performance of your system and the team involved via conversion rates and other key measures.
Make sure your contacts and business cards are in a system, whether it be a spreadsheet right through to a sophisticated CRM (Customer Relationship Management) system. This will then allow you to record contacts and provide prompts for future contacts. So many businesses are based on a box or folder of business cards as their system and this will not allow you to manage your activities effectively.
So a) get yourself a system, b) plan in time every week for sales activities (possibly via your default calendar to have regular times each week) and then c) track and measure your performance.
And finally ….
Focus on building your skills, knowledge and experience. Get some training, coaching, a self study course or read books. Do what you need to do to improve your performance and build your confidence. This will be a continuous process, but observe how your performance improves via your measures as your skills improve.
Work on developing some scripts or at least a template structure for how you will approach initial meetings at networking events or calls to new or known contacts. What are the objections that may come up and how will you handle them?
Sales is a skill and it can be learned and improved. Take comfort from that. More on making calls in next week’s blog.