If your business goes through feast and famine when it comes to sales you are not alone. Many businesses suffer dramatic swings in sales. Yet these swings could be reduced or even eliminated by introducing simple changes to the way in which there sales are managed.
From the moment the lead is generated to the moment the sale is closed you have to be meticulous about the sales process.
- Ensure that your company generates enough leads to keep sufficient business in the pipeline. You must have a target for the number of prospects in the funnel at any given time. Too many business people get so tied up with everyday tasks that they forget where the next orders are coming from. This is down to efficient time management. At the beginning of the week plan the number of sales meetings you want to schedule, this part of the job is a must if you want to get a consistent and steady flow of sales.
- The type of business you are in will pre-determine the time scale between the first sales meeting and the closing of the sale. This varies enormously from one business to another, so therefore you need to know exactly how long it takes your business. You can do this by simply looking at the last few successfully completed sales and writing down how long each one took then work out the average. You can also use Customer Relationship Management software which will give you a much clearer picture of how the sales process is doing and will identify top customers, as well as identifying blockages in the pipeline.
- As well as the sales cycle time you also need to know the minimum number of prospects needed to just maintain the sales pipeline. Take the number of closed sales you need every month, what percentage of clients actually end up buying and how long your sales cycle is. Then you can set targets accurately.
- For example if your business needs to make 6 sales per month and the sales cycle is 2 months and 1 in every 4 leads becomes a sale then you will need 24 leads in the pipeline every month. If however you decide to increase the number of sales to 7 per month then you will need 28 leads in the pipeline.
- If the sales cycle is 4 months then you will need to have 96 leads in the pipeline to maintain 6 sales per month. By using this method business owners can set accurate targets rather than just telling their sales team to “do more work”.
- Get lots of referrals from satisfied clients. If you don’t like directly asking for referrals, you could encourage your clients to talk about their customers, and then when you have identified a potential customer, say would it be alright if I gave him a call and mention that we spoke.
- When calling that prospect you can then name drop and say that they thought it would be good idea for us to meet up. This gives you more credibility and warms up a cold call.
- When making calls you must focus on making the appointment, do not start the sales pitch on the phone. Prospects can be put off by being sold to over the phone; they are busy people, so just secure that appointment.
- When you have met for the first time try to get a second meeting, this gets you into their calendar and on to their radar
- Get Ready for the usual objections and have clear replies prepared in advance, you may hear responses like:
- I’m too busy,
- This isn’t a good time,
- I’m dealing with another company,
- Send me something through the post.
Prepare exactly what you going so say or you will lose the prospects interest, accept their objection then reframe it in a positive way, turn it into an advantage.
If they say they are too busy you could reply with “well let me help you with that, I have a product that will save you time”.
Build up a strong relationship with your client’s, show them that you are interested in them, and not just in making sales. Take an enthusiastic approach at meetings and always take notes; it will prove to them that you are taking the time to learn about their problems. Prospects will appreciate being listened to and offer more information.