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Get down to the bottom line with 3 sales essentials


sales team making decisions

Sales and advertising

By Sue Barrett

Everyone in a business is responsible for selling some aspect of it, responsibility doesn’t just lie with the sales team. This is why business owners must ensure every employee has access to the resources and skills needed to boost bottom line results.

The Australian business world is anxiously awaiting news of how the global economy is expected to hold up for the year ahead. Retail businesses have slowed and many corporates and SMEs are cutting staff. The bottom line has never been more of a focal point for business owners and sales teams.

At Barrett, we believe that everybody lives by selling something. This rule is often forgotten or neglected by small business owners and staff when they have so many conflicting responsibilities. It’s a juggling act that never lets up. As business owners and leaders, remember that everyone in your organisation is selling your organisation – not just the sales teams. It’s a group effort and for this reason, emphasis needs to be placed on making sure everyone has access to the resources and skills needed to boost the bottom line results.

All too often selling is left to chance and businesses lack a robust sales process that works. I find this alarming because sales is crucial to business success. Without sales, there’s no business. So why is it that so many are happy to wing it?

We’ve has been mapping the knowledge, skills and insights needed for successful selling for over 17 years now and has developed three essential processes to guide successful selling. By following these essentials you can make sure your business is on the front foot for effective selling for the year ahead.

  1. A Sales Planning process – to create an actionable Go-to-market sales plan
  2. A Sales Prospecting process – to prospect successfully
  3. A Sales Communication process – to have productive dialogues with clients and prospects

We’ve seen a dramatic shift in sales capability and performance from organisations that have employed our sales essentials. These processes lay the foundations for effective sales team which in turn results in a boosted bottom line.

The first essential step is to develop a ‘go to market’ sales action plan that clarifies who you need to be in front of, how you need to get in front of them and how often you need to do this to make it all worthwhile. Once the plan is ready get prospecting.

Prospecting is the first thing you need to do to make a sale. Make sure you and your sales team knows how to make an effective prospecting call. Better yet, make sure everyone in your organisation can make a prospecting call.

Daily prospecting when done correctly delivers sales results. Only 20 percent of sales people are effective at prospecting but it can be done well by anyone who practices. To get the ball rolling, offer your teams a sales script. Hundreds of thousands, if not, millions of sales people around the world use sales scripts. Here are the top five tips about using a sales script:

  1. Work out why exactly you are calling someone before you pick up the phone;
  2. Be human. Use simple language that the customer understands;
  3. When writing your script, keep your customer in mind. It’s not all about you, it’s about them. Communicate with potential leads by asking people about their priorities, problems and aims before discussing your own.
  4. Be brief. Don’t talk their ear off. Allow for questions.
  5. What do you want from the call? Make sure you aim to achieve a result be it a meeting appointment, follow-up call, donation, purchase, etc.

The really good news is that prospecting fears can be unlearnt. Research indicates that productive sales teams are highly trained. Give your team access to prospecting skills training or invest in coaching. The results are worth it.

The last essential step is to communicate effectively by asking people about their priorities, problems and objectives before you talk about yourself and what you have to offer.

When you give people what they need they start to get traction and grow.  Do yourself a favour and make sure you and your sales people are well equipped with the three sales essentials.

Check out the Annual Barrett 12 Sales Trends Report to see what’s in store for your business in 2012. Click here to download it.

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