This morning I’ve been exploring Sales Phobias again, this time on an extended workshop. Today I introduced to my audience some ways that you can control your sales activities, rather than letting them control you.
It’s a problem for many business people; how do you make sure the sales come in when you want (and need) them to? How can you keep track of what’s in the pipeline and how do you convert that potential business into a sale?
There are a raft of ways to approach this; you can run round begging for business when it’s quiet, offer things at a really low price to get the work in (but then you’ll need to get in twice as much) or you can take a methodical structured approach. The two former could be rewarding in their own ways but I suspect we’d all prefer to be a bit more in control of things in business.
So what does a methodical structured approach to your sales activity look like?
First of all you need sales targets to aim for. Having a target will help you to measure your performance, set your expectations and help you define the amount and type of selling that you need to do. It can also help to keep up your motivation; if you require 50 cold calls to get 10 meetings, and if you calculate that from those 10 meetings on average you’ll get one sale it makes the no’s when you cold call easier to take. At a 5:1 ratio you know you’re going to get 4 nos to each yes for a meeting and every no is a step closer to the next yes!
Then you need a way to track, measure and monitor your activity. To do this, first define your sales funnel or pipeline; it could look something like this:
In this case you expect to convert 20% of your cold prospects into business, 40% of prospects that you’ve qualified (i.e. confirmed they are the right person to decide and that they are interested in your product), 60% of the people you’ve presented to etc. The % figures are different in every case – what are they in yours?
Then you should list out all your current prospective clients and define where they are in the funnel and how much you think their business is worth. Your sales task now is to find ways to progress them down the funnel and increase the likelihood of winning their business. When the situation changes update the funnel list to see where you at and which prospects you should be spending the most time on.
Finally, consider how you can keep up your motivation. Whatever anyone tells you sales is hard work; there are days when you wonder why you are bothering and on those days you need coping strategies that help you keep up your morale. Identify people who can support you and give you critical yet constructive feedback and let them know that you need their help. Consider things that keep you happy and practice them when it’s tough.
Above all, celebrate your successes; however small, they are probably hard won. So reward yourself accordingly.
Managed well and professionally sales can be enjoyable and rewarding. By taking control of what you need to do to achieve your sales targets you are on the right track to making it a success.