Sales Optimization Expanded
The 10 key elements of a successful sale:
- Determine your target market, find them, and make sure you have a product or service that meets their needs and focus your energy on developing a sales and marketing program that reaches them, screens them, and holds their interest long enough and strong enough to start the relationship process. I go over this in much more detail in the Marketing Optimization page.
- Persistence and numbers. Even though you may have a perfect product or service for your target market and a great program to screen and open up the sales process, only a very small percentage of your target market are ready to buy at any one time. Moreover, you don’t know if they are interested until you ask. Meaning you miss 100% of the shots you don’t take. Therefore, once you have screened for the clients with the most potential, you must systematically go through a process of contacting them in a persistent and consistent manner until you either get the sale or determine that this client is not going to buy your product/service. Did you realize that the average sales is made after 5 contacts with a potential client, however only 10% of sales people make 5 or more contacts with a potential client.
- Develop a relationship with your client, meaning create a bond between you and them where they like you, trust that you are honest, and know that you are an expert at your product or service or can easily and quickly get them in touch with someone that is.
- Find out the needs, desires, challenges, and problems of your clients, and the only way you can learn what these are is to ask probing questions and LISTEN. I have found out that one of the most valuable sales skills, and one of the most neglected ones, is listening. First of all, when you are talking you are not learning anything about your client and in many cases if you just listen, your client will tell you what they need. But secondly, listening is one of the best ways of building a trusting bond between you and your clients. As you listen take written notes both to remember what they said, but more importantly to show your client that what they are telling you is important to you. Also, ask questions for clarification and elaboration on what your client just said; this will make sure you understand exactly what they want and also show them that you are really listening.
- Determine exactly how your product or service will help your client to meet their needs, desires, challenges, and problems. However, because you spent the time to get to know what your client’s needs were, you can explain to your client exactly and very specifically how your product will meet THEIR needs, and not just the generic needs of your target market. Now retaining your target market is a marketing issue so click there to learn more about how to be on target with your target market. Your clients have their own very specific issues, and trying to sell them with Wal-Mart generic will not make you a trusted advisor.
- Ask for the sale. It is amazing how many salespeople do not ask for the business, they expect their client to just say I will take __ of these, just put it on my corporate credit card and send it to this address. However, this does not happen very often, so the best way to close a sale is to ask for the sale. Now asking for the sale does two things; one, you may get the business directly right then and there, however, more importantly, you can now get an objection from the client.
- Getting and overcoming the objections is very important because you now have some idea of why they feel they can’t buy from you. There is a saying in engineering world; Once you know what the problem is, it is halfway solved. Therefore getting the objection gets you on the road to know what the problem is. You then have to dig down and determine what the real objection is, after which if you can solve that, and it is a real objection, you most likely have a sale. Many times the sale goes to the sales person with the best objection handling skills. Meaning if you are not good at handling objections, and don’t close the sale, then the next sales person who is better at handling objections, with the same type of product or service gets the sale.
- Follow up, follow up, follow up and follow through. If the average sales is made after the fifth contact with the client, then for you to be successful, you need to determine which clients are worthy of your following up with them, and which ones are not. There is as much skill needed in the follow up process with the client as there is in determining who you should continue to follow up with so that you waste the least amount of time possible on clients that are not going to buy.
- Close the sale, get the money, sell the product. What ever you call it, you need to ask for the sale through out the follow up process until you make the sales or decide to not continue the follow up process because you have determined that this client is not going to buy from you.
- Client Satisfaction and Service. Every department of the company needs to understand that they are part of the sales team. Meaning, after the sale is made the baton is pasted to the other company departments, and you as the owner need to make sure that every employee realizes that making the client happy with your product or service is their number one task. All employees need to understand that without buying clients, they do not have a job.
- You get what you reward. As needed, I will spend a lot of time on this topic, but the main thing to remember is in the area of sales, you get what you reward. Therefore be careful how you set up your reward system. You may end up not getting what you expected because you rewarded the wrong goal or result.
- Monetary rewards are most Important, because most good sales people only care about monetary rewards. That is why they got into sales. The sales profession has the highest average income of all other types of professions, and the highest number of CEO's and Presidents of large corporations come from the sales ranks. This tells you that good sales people are driven people that are willing to do what it takes to make a better lifestyle for themselves and their families. Therefore the most important need of a strong sales team is a strong compensation program for those sales people that sell a lot - which must be based on sales made.
- The best sales people are more emotional. Therefore, understand that your top salespeople will be a little different, and they are likely to be much more emotional than average. They will feel the higher highs and the lower lows, and they are most likely people that have a high need for positive relationships with their supervisors, and a strong need for encouragement and approval from them as well. Why all this, because for a sales person to be the best, they most likely will have a lot of driver in them mixed up with compassion. Meaning they push, push, push, but then at the same time they relate, relate, relate.
- Time flexibility is important. One other important thing to remember about a good sales person is that they are most likely entrepreneurial in nature and have a high need for a flexible work schedule to perform at their best. However, if you give them more flexibility you need to directly connect their income to their results. Therefore for the best sales people, they feel that if they produce, that their time does not need to be watched closely, meaning you need to give them a little more time freedom than the typical employee. To the best sales people this time flexibility is sort of like a perk. Therefore, the best sales people will produce the best under this model. However, if you have a sales person whose sales are falling you need to tighten the reign and determine what the problem is.
As we work together I will, as needed, spend more time on this topic and detail it to the specifics of your sales organization.