4 Tips for Perfecting Your SalesBy Ron Cocquyt on July 28th, 2015 /
Nothing happens until a sale is made. This is a mantra that I lived by when I was building and owning businesses. It is also a mantra I preach with entrepreneurs, inventors, and Stage 1 business owners. It matters not what product you build, what service you offer, or what app you create. If it can’t be sold, it has no value.
Uniting Sales and Your Business Plan
When I read business plans, the most frequent glaring omission is sales. There are vital questions an entrepreneur must ask including: How will the product or service be sold? Will it be sold directly? Through distribution channels? Over the Internet? Will the sale be consummated in person, or can it be completed electronically? How many sales are necessary to break even? To make a profit? To attain certain levels for discounts on raw materials?
Businesses need to understand the sales process that will be successful for their product or service, and they need to create the protocols that will govern how this process will be implemented and managed. With the last company that I built, we sold products to hospitals; in particular, we sold to the surgical areas and the instrument processing areas. It required an understanding of surgery, instrument processing and sterilization, and instrument management. Failures in any of these categories ??” and there were several ??” resulted in disaster. We were able to recover from our failures and proceed successfully.
Identifying The Perfect Prospect
In order to be successful in selling, a business owner needs to understand who its Perfect Prospect is. A Perfect Prospect buys. These are not prospects, leads, or opportunities; the template for a Perfect Prospect must be clearly defined, and it must be followed meticulously. The other important questions that need to be answered in order to create a successful sales program include: Where is the Perfect Prospect located? How will I get myself directly in front of a Perfect Prospect? What is the compelling message that will drive the Perfect Prospect into becoming a client? These are four simple questions that require very sophisticated, in-depth answers. Failure to answer any of the four questions accurately will result in “no sale.”
Understanding Your Close Rate
Once a company has identified its Perfect Prospect, it needs to understand what its “close rate” is; in other words, how many presentations to Perfect Prospects are required to generate the number of sales needed to be successful? Failure in this area can also lead to disaster. Understanding the close rate is a significant contributor to building effective quotas and sales budgets and to managing time. Successful sales requires outstanding products or services, accurate price points, quality messaging, and a true understanding of the customer. Again, there is opportunity for multiple failures in any of these areas, so these areas must be quickly understood, revised, and new programs initiated. A misstep in any of these areas requires immediate attention and revision.
Keeping a Balance
One of the other areas with which I continuously challenge my coaching clients is balance. I have them envision and sometimes actually purchase a three-legged stool. As entrepreneurs or intrapreneurs, their lives are similar to three-legged stools. One leg represents personal activities, focus, etc.; it’s all about “you.” The second leg is about family, friends, and community. The third leg is about business and professional pursuits. If any one of the legs is missing or substantially uneven, the stool is not functional. The longer the stool is non-functional, the more likely the client is to suffer a total disaster. I have often encouraged clients to purchase a three-legged stool and keep it somewhere close, where they can see it, appreciate it, and remind themselves of the importance of striving for, even if rarely achieving, balance.
Ron Cocquyt is an entrepreneur and an inventor who together with colleagues built several successful businesses between 1974 and 2002. Since 1995 he has also been a Business Coach, even before there was an official career category known as “Business Coach.” Mr. Cocquyt’s contact information is firstname.lastname@example.org; www.hylandermanagement.com; 586-246-4503.