Sales is massively important! Especially for any small business.
If you have decent sales skills as a job owner, you can keep enough business coming in the door to take care of yourself. You can probably even get to the point where you have a real brand, real marketing, afford to hire people, and eventually be running a full-on business!
But without sales skills, you're going to struggle to get past that very first obstacle in business: getting from job owner to business owner.
If you’re ready to create stable sales for your small business, here are the three keys you need to master.
One Big Sales Caveat: Sales is not the “end-all-be-all silver bullet” to success in business. The other aspects of a solid business have to be there too (Check out my blog on those aspects here)!
I worked with a client a few years ago who was incredibly talented at sales. She could close essentially every person she sat down with. Every time she got tight on cash, she would go find a new client to bring on.
The cash crunches never ended and we finally realized that she actually losing nearly $.07 for every dollar she brought in! The more clients she brought on, the more money she lost!
Your business still needs to be priced for profit. If you aren’t sure how to do that, check out the previous article in this series on Cashflow & Financial Management For Success.
The Three Keys You Need...
Clarify Your Differentiator
What differentiates you from your competition?
When there is no difference, you become a commodity. The only difference between you and them, is price. Now you’re fighting the “What will this cost me?” battle with your prospect, and both of you lose! Without great margins, you will struggle to provide the quality of service your customers want, and you both will be unhappy!
Your differentiator may be who you take care of and who your target market is, or may be an actual difference in your product or service. Or both!
When you stand out as the only option for people in a specific group or lifestyle, you're going to have a much easier time getting past the actual close. You help them to not see you as a commodity, because you're the only viable option when you're the only person who focuses on their demographic.
Design a Great Sales Funnel & Strategy
Sales funnels and a strategy for moving people through them is imperative.
Too many small business owners have a sales strategy of attending networking events, telling people what they do and hoping someone says “Oh my gosh, that sounds great! How do I buy it?”
That’s not how sales works.
Instead, create a specific strategy for how to move prospects through the sales process.
This requires extensive understanding of sales.
To start: a sale is just the transfer of value between two individuals. E. G., if I give you a ribbon and you give me money, we've transferred value and that is a sale. You can do whatever you needed with the ribbon and I have money that I can use.
You’ll need to make three sales to convert your prospect to your client.
Contact information is valuable. Political campaigns buy your contact information all the time! They exchange money for your information. Getting your prospects contact information is valuable too and you’ll need to figure out what value you can provide to them in exchange for their contact info.
Time is money! It’s an old slogan that still rings true. Your prospect’s time is valuable. In exchange for them agreeing to give you some of their precious time, you need to give them value once again!
Getting someone to sign on the dotted line is clearly a sale, and your prospect needs to feel like the value you’re providing in exchange is greater than the money you’re asking for in return!
The cool thing is, when you understand that your basic sales funnel is going to break into these three sections, you can start to fine tune each of those areas and streamline the process.
Track Your KPIs
These are Key Performance Indicators that you use to hold you and/or your team accountable.
Mountains and valleys are way too easy to go through in business and sales in general; where you’re selling a ton one week or month and then selling nothing because you’re so busy fulfilling. This creates a vicious cycle which is exhausting, mentally tiring, and hard to break.
Having a set of key performance indicators that you track every week will help you start to level that out. You’re able to see whether your pipeline is going to dry-up if you’re tracking how many leads you generate each week! You’re able to pinpoint whether you’re having trouble with closing deals, or setting appointments if you track how many appointments-to-closes you track.
I recommend tracking at least:
How many leads you generate
How many appointments you set
How many appointments you run
How many deals you close
When you go in every Friday and add these to some variety of a tracker, it allows you to see where the gaps are. You can start to notice things like not generating enough leads, which means inability to close enough deals down the road because you just don’t have enough prospects, and more.
When you start hiring a sales team, you can hold them to the same activity tracker to help them be successful in selling for you and your business.
Setting these things in place will help you build one of the five key foundations for a scalable business that won’t suck the life of you!
About the Author:
Stephanie Scheller is a TED speaker, a two-time best-selling author and the founder of Grow Disrupt: a San Antonio based company dedicated to disrupting the way the world does business through training. In just under a decade, Stephanie has been behind the scenes with nearly 2500 small businesses. She has worked in groups and one-on-one to create total business transformation & help business owners live the life they got into business to create!