The question “How do we grow sales quickly?” is asked in every business on a weekly basis. The easy answer for us is that you would not have to ask that question if your sales function was doing three simple activities on a regular basis.
Asking for additional business from existing clients
When was the last time you met with your top clients to review the current business you were doing with them, showed them what else you could do for them better than others, and asked what they were planning that you might be able to help them with?
Asking for referrals from existing clients
Your clients have stayed with you for a reason. When was the last time you asked them who they knew in the industry that you could help as well and who else they do business with where you might be a fit?
Asking for new business from other “ideal” future clients
Can you identify your best clients and why you have been able to be a partner with them? Take your success and replicate it by producing a marketing piece about why people do business with you and send it to other “ideal” prospects with a call to action about engaging you.
These simple activities are often overlooked because businesses get caught up in their business and do not focus on them. Make these activities part of your regular sales meetings and their will be no need to have conversations about how you can grow sales quickly.
A mentor recently reminded me that the word “sales” is not always perceived well when used in a conversation. It is unfortunate but true because some “sales people” have ruined the reputation of all of us through non-standard practices that are remembered and shared with others. Even those companies and employees that I coach have trouble being called “sales people” even though what they do does have an impact on company revenues. Maybe that is why most businesses do not even print the word “sales” on business cards.
The primary duties of anyone in the business development field is to create opportunties for their company by finding a need in the marketplace and filling that need the products or services that their company offers. How do you do that without being “sales’ like? I would offer that the activities that you do have an impact on how you are perceived and that some of the best sales people I have know have never been described to me as “sales people”.
What do these people do differently that leads to increased opportunities for their companies?
- Perform strategic business reviews with current clients that helps them understand how you have added value to their business and what other services you offer
- Conduct lunch-n-learn sessions for account managers in other companies that can refer you to opportunities in their client base.
- Schedule breakfast and lunch meetings with centers of influence that are secondary stakeholders in targeted companies you want to work with.
- Focus your free time and champion a non-profit by volunteering your services to help with their fund development.
- Ask current clients for referrals.
- Introduce your clients to prospects, strategic partners, and other service providers that help them grow and improve their business.
- Make sure all of your family and friends know what you do.
Working any of these tactics into your activity calendar will help you increase your opportunities without the traditional sales tactics that are taught in videos and highlighted in the movies.
What does you organization support and how have you integrated that into your marketing?
With 75% of soldiers returning home have some form of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. They are truly returning home broken after bravely volunteering and serving our country out of a sense of duty. Until now, there has not been a location dedicated to veterans connecting and supporting each other in our community which is why SalesTechnik has joined forces with DryHootch of Waukesha County to raise enough funds to build a permanent location.
Having experienced what the lack of support can have on our returning soldiers, I decided to purpose my own sense of duty to improve things and help companies focus with their selling efforts if they make a donation to the organization. You can learn about our offering here.
It is called “Cause Marketing” and I would suggest that every company discovers the “why” in them and finds an organization to align with. This alignment has increased awareness for DryHootch of Waukesha County in the business community and has increased awareness for what SalesTechnik can do for individuals, organizations, and companies. We have developed a sustainable revenue source for this cause and without much energy, built a pipeline of clients that share similar values, extreme gratitude, and concern for our returning soldiers.
With charitable donations at an all time low, this tactic should be integrated into every marketing plan. It has led to a much higher level of conversation with business leaders, gives a risk free and tax-deductible introduction to our services, and has helped individuals, organizations, and companies develop a high level focus on increasing their opportunities in the market place.
Feel free to contact me should you want to learn more about what we are doing to build a DryHootch in Waukesha County.
Ask any sales manager about the need for continuous sales training and you instantly get agreement that it is important. So why isn’t there more of it going on? The fact is, most money spent on sales training is wasted. Typically, it annoys the sales team, disrupts your sales opportunities, bores the talented team members, and is totally forgotten within 30 days.
This is true for three reasons:
1) Credibility – “Who is this sales seminar leader and why on earth should I follow his/her advice?”
2) Relevance – “Maybe this stuff works in the X industry, but I don’t see how it applies here.”
3) Reinforcement – “I’ll implement these new ideas just as soon as I have the time.”
You can get around these issues and realize a greater ROI from your training budget with an internal “Sales Excellence Committee”. Put the best of your best sales talent on it. (i.e., those who are most respected by the rest of the team) and that alone will take care of missing links one and two.
Next, provide proof that you’re serious about using the knowledge of these folks for the benefit of all your reps. In other words, provide funding for and relentlessly conduct monthly 1/2 day “SEC” meetings. Their objective is to identify, clarify and communicate sales best practices and integrate them into tactical actions that produce the fastest, most tangible results for your business.
At the risk of being repetitive …the mission of your Sales Excellence Committee is to:
1st – Identify the best sales practices of your best reps
2nd – Clarify – write them down in specific detail
3rd – Communicate – make sure ALL your reps know how to replicate the power of each best practice.
Many firms find it helpful to use an outside facilitator to start and keep the ball rolling. This person would need all the classic qualifications of a sales trainer PLUS expertise in knowledge management and process engineering. Your best reps will always be the best source of sales tactics and strategies that work. Don’t waste time and money on standardized sales training. Tap into the gold mine you already have on the payroll. Fund it. Plan it. Do it.
If your company is a typical company, you have a series of sales people that you expect to operate autonomously and efficiently in the best interest of the company to help increase revenues. Is that the best practice to move you forward in the future?
Have your sales increases kept up with the market increases? Are you bringing as much new money to the bottom line as you are to the top? Are you retaining all the new clients that are closing? Do all of the other departments know who your clients are?
If you answered yes to all of the above questions, then congratulations, you do not need to have a learning session about where you want to be three years from now. However, if you did not answer yes, then there is a great opportunity before you.
In today’s economy, companies have to sell smarter as well as make sure that they are 110% successful in executing delivery and customer service in the manner that the customer expects. By making sure companies have the right people in the right positions with the right procedures, companies can sell their extra capacity and position themselves for further growth.
As companies have built new production capacity through the implementation of LEAN principles over the past few years, their weakest link is now the sales process that is still being managed by principles from the 1950’s. “Outside” sales people are only selling 20% of the time because of the way the organization is designed. If a company is serious about growth, they need to evolve their company to a customer orientated model that allows more sales to happen. Placing the right people in the right positions with the right procedures will allow a company to increase their customer retention and maximize their selling opportunities.