by Dr Greg Chapman
The story is so common. A business’ sales are down, so they hire a sales person. After a couple of months with little or nothing to show for their efforts, they let the sales person go. Was the sales person not up to it? In my experience, it is usually not their fault.
In most cases, the owner has done little more than explain what their products are, and given the new sales person a list of names for the person to contact. In many cases, cold calling potential buyers who probably had just seen off their competitor moments beforehand. What sort of reception do you expect them to receive?
These owners have sent their sales team into battle without armour. There is no artillery to soften resistance. It’s just them. Their sales people are wearing no clothes. The artillery that should have been fired before they sent out the sales team (the infantry) is their marketing campaign. Marketing raises the awareness of consumers that you have an answer to some problem they need solving. It’s encouraging people to call you about your products and services. It’s about creating a compelling offer that will attract buyers to your business. Marketing also creates a position for your business where you are the logical choice for anyone in your target market. A defended position.
When you use marketing before your sales, the sales person is no longer making cold calls. In many cases, the buyer has actually contacted you first. This increases your sales efficiency and conversion rates, and reduces your selling costs.
But before you send your sales team out into the battle field, you need a plan (a sales pipeline)
A basic sales pipeline has four stages.
1. Generating and handling the initial enquiry
2. An initial consultation
4. Sale Close
Having a well-defined sales pipeline enables your sales person to be properly equipped to engage in battle, but if your strategy is to find a super sales person, someone who can sell ice to eskimos, you are unaware of the best known Secret of Sales.
The best armies invest in equipment for their infantry and properly train them to use it.
So it’s much better to invest in a super sales pipeline and train your average sales team to achieve super results.
If you want to make sure your sales people are properly dressed for battle, you can learn how you can construct your own super sales pipeline here.
May Your Business Be –As You Plan it!
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Dr Greg Chapman is the Director of Empower Business Solutions and is Australia's Leading Advisor on Emerging Businesses and provides Coaching and Consulting advice to Australian Small Business Owners in Marketing & Business Strategies Planning & Systems. He is also the author of The Five Pillars of Guaranteed Business Success and Price: How You Can Charge More Without Losing Sales.
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