There is a renewed state of enthusiasm for companies large and small this year. The same rivers that were a dull trickle over the past few years ago have the potential to be overflowing with just a few tweaks in your sales systems.
Through the recent years of economic woes, many companies responded by becoming leaner and meaner when it came to their costs. However; many weren’t as diligent when it came to increasing efficiency in their sales processes. The good news is that by implementing a few strategies, you can see a dramatic increase in your revenues. In many cases, it’s not so much about adding new channels as it is maximizing the streams that already exist.
Here is a list of the top ten areas where businesses of all sizes are inadvertently limiting their sales potential:
1. Poor Lead Stewardship
The number one reason sales are lost is that they are forgotten. So many companies have poor systems, or no systems, in place for tracking leads from the moment they first appear to the time the customer’s check clears in the bank. Seal up this “lead leakage” in your business and you’ll see sales climb quickly.
2. Eeyore Attitude
One of my favorite lines from author Brian Tracy is “Sales is a transfer of enthusiasm.” You must be enthusiastic about what you are selling, or you need to sell something else. The truth is no one likes to buy a product or service that appears to be on the descent. If you or your people are channeling more Eeyore than Pollyanna, then don’t expect things to turn around anytime soon.
3. Lack of Urgency
The most important question in sales is not “Why should I buy your product or service?” Instead, the most critical question is “Why should I buy your product or service NOW?” People are more cautious than ever, so coming up with compelling reasons why they shouldn’t delay making a commitment to your products or services is critical for sales success.
4. Death By Bullet Points
One of the toughest questions for most business people to answer is, “So, what is it that you do?” Even some of the most seasoned sales people will respond with a series of bullet points in response. The reality is that your prospects don’t care about what you can do. They only care what you can do for them and why you are the best one to provide this solution. You must spend time understanding exactly what your core value is to your customers and develop powerful messages to communicate this effectively.
5. Fear of Sales
Unfortunately, many of us have bad experiences in our life dealing with overzealous, disingenuous and obnoxious sales people. These bad apples have given the noble vocation of sales a poor name and it’s made many people reticent to admit they are capable of selling. In actuality, we’re all in sales. We’re just each selling something different. If you are a business owner or executive with a fear of sales, you will need to get over this phobia ASAP or your chances for success are slim.
6. Sales Departmentality
The fear of sales drives businesses to a more deeper rooted shortcoming. It’s called Sales Departmentality. Healthy businesses know that EVERYONE in the company is an important part of the sales teams. Unhealthy businesses feel that they must hire a “sales guy” to do the job. In larger businesses, this takes form as a “sales department.” Although, there is nothing wrong with having staff who spend more of their time working on sales than others, everyone must play a role and be equally committed to the company’s success in this critical area.
7. Lack of Sales Accountability
Due to human nature, accountability is one of the most important ingredients to making sure sales activity is humming along. Sales can be difficult for most people and in the process of gathering leads, developing relationships and closing deals, your team can face quite a bit of rejection. To encourage those who are moving forward despite challenges and to prod those who are not, putting in different layers of accountability is vital. The key is breaking down the sales process into easily measurable steps (i.e. lead development, proposals, closes) and setting up systems of accountability and encouragement throughout.
8. The Back Door
Each business has its blind spot and for most it’s the back door of the company. We can spend so much time on developing new business that we fail to keep in close touch with our existing customers and make sure they continue to be thrilled with our products and services. Putting in systems to communicate, provide ongoing customer service and to seek new business from your current clients will dramatically assist your revenue efforts.
9. Selling 8-Track Tapes & Phonograph Needles
Technology is not only changing the the services and products that are being offered, but it’s changing the way people make purchases. You need to constantly be measuring the relevancy of what you are selling and making adjustments to keep it up with the times. Additionally, you need to make sure you are adjusting to HOW people are buying. Your sales strategies should be taking every advantage of the latest in communication technologies such as Web, mobile phone, digital video, e-commerce and social media.
10. Winging It
When it comes to your marketing efforts, being cheap can be extremely expensive. It’s amazing how many companies spend a fortune in time and cash developing their product or storefront; yet don’t allow for a budget to seek professional assistance with their marketing strategies. You wouldn’t hesitate to hire an architect for your custom home. The same should be true when it comes to developing a blueprint for your sales and marketing success.