Heard the phrase “Poor planning leads to poor performance”?
Well when it comes to selling, this phrase is well up there with the 80:20 rule. The challenge for most people who need to sell successfully is what to focus on without wasting too much time. Let’s face it, you still have to make time to go out and sell.
The key to a highly successful money making sales strategy, is to keep it simple and current.
So first of all, why do you need a sales strategy in your business?
Take for example, your weekly food shopping expedition. If you walked into the supermarket with no idea what you want to eat, what food stuff you already have in the cupboard back at home, and little clue as to how much you can afford, then do you really think you are going to get everything you need for the amount of money in your wallet?
Let’s face it, we’ve all done it at one time or another.
- Failed to make a list and ended up forgetting something important.
- Not even had the vaguest idea what you want to eat over the next few days, so you either don’t buy enough, or you end up spending a fortune.
- You never checked what you paid last time to see if you were getting best value at the supermarket you visit the most.
- Oh and the most embarrassing of them all, you don’t take enough money with you.
Cringe worthy stuff!
So think about this. If you planned your food shop a little bit more effectively, how much healthier would you be and how much money could you save? The same principal applies to selling. “Winging it” with customers will not increase your sales and most certainly will not make you more money.
“Those who are victorious plan effectively and change decisively.”
Starting a sales strategy
Most importantly, put time in your diary to do this. However, don’t make it a mammoth task that takes up your whole week. Creating and documenting your first strategy make take up to a day, but updating it going forward should take you only minutes. Little and often is the key to a successful sales strategy.
5 Easy Steps
- Mission Statement and Goals – Probably the most important part of the whole document. Define clearly what you want to achieve and why. Use SMART objectives to help you with a big emphasis on the measurable element. Selling is all about getting money through the door in a way that helps the business as a whole to not just survive, but grow as well. Targets are to be exceeded in selling, so don’t rely on just hitting them.
- Internal Landscape – Document how you do what you do currently. Who do you sell to, what do you sell them and how? New ideas will spring to mind at this point, but just jot them down on a separate piece of paper and place to one side. Don’t be tempted to start changing what you have been doing in this step. You have more work to do first.
- External Landscape – Look at your marketplace as a whole and try to understand what or who is influencing it. Transportation businesses always need to be focused on the cost of fuel and the politics that could influence their price to customers, as the way they sell may need to change as a result. Think about who your competitors are and what is so great or bad about them. Remember; don’t assume you know what your customers think of your competitors either.
- Internal SWOT – This is the point where you start to review the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats that you have in comparison to your competitors and more importantly against the needs of your customers. Systematically create a list of the gaps, but don’t be tempted to start to making changes before you really think you have uncovered the lot.
- Actions to Achieve – OK so now you can put the fun stuff in place. Start by going through your list of gaps to see if there are any common themes. For example, if you find out that your customers only use Facebook to buy what you do and your competitors only use Facebook to sell what you do, but your business only uses newspaper advertising, then doesn’t that tell you something? However you can’t do everything on the list as time and money could limit you. Therefore against each action include a timescale and a cost to help you prioritise as well as stay on track.
Use it – Don’t forget about it!
A brilliant sales strategy is all very well, but next to useless if you only do it once and shove it in a drawer. Reviewing your sales strategy regularly will help to keep you accountable to both yourself and your business.
A well thought out sales strategy will also help you to hit the big numbers too, but only unless you use it correctly and remember that this is only the first step of your sales process. You still have another six to master as well.