‘Sales’ is not a dirty word…

I’ve been spending a lot of time speaking at workshops and events for business owners.

I always like to ask attendees about their perception of sales. In many cases, I hear that sales is not held in high regard — it’s not seen as some highly respected discipline. It’s even viewed as a ‘dirty’ thing to do.

This is a problem that many business owners face. You create a business based on something you love — a passion you have, a skill you can’t wait to share with the world and with your prospective clients — but … what? You have to sell? Somehow this comes as a surprise to many.

Yes, you have to sell.

But you also have to remember what makes a ‘good’ sale and what makes a ‘bad’ sale (want to hear more about that, then sign up for my Brilliant Sales Tips). But the basic fact of business is you have to sell your product, service or expertise to make money. And without money, you are not running a business, you have a hobby — one that takes up all your time, energy and, well, your life.

So time to shift your mindset and to repeat after me: sales is NOT a dirty word. It’s an important part of your business and one that you have to actively pursue.

Looking to really shift your attitude, behavior and commitment to sales? Join me for my next 60-day Brilliant Sales Challenge.

Patience and the need to nurture sales

Do you think there is a need to nurture sales? If not, you may be sabotaging your own revenue opportunities.

It’s important to recognize there’s a need to nurture.

Many startups are driven  by ‘revenue panic’ while other, more established businesses may be driven by the demand for quarterly revenue increases  – in either case they need to practice nurturing — and to not simply walk away from prospects that aren’t buying immediately.

Time versus Nurturing

In many cases sales may deem certain prospects unsuitable because they aren’t going to buy in the next quarter. This short-term view, driven by panic for cashflow or relentless revenue goals, needs to shift to a solid nurturing approach, with opportunities and prospects being added to a long-term nurturing process which is reviewed, measured and a part of the marketing plan.

Trust goes hand-in-hand with Nurturing

The importance of trust is well documented in the transactional sales cycle. Numerous studies over many years draw attention to it’s importance in winning more opportunities, prospects and ultimately new customers. But how do you build trust?

By relationship, little by little, via nurturing. Relationship building is good for everyone – good for both seller and buyer. We have all heard anecdotes of the customers that follow a good sales person elsewhere? That is the power of relationship – and the importance of nurturing it within the sales cycle.

As well as dissolving uncertainty and risk for the prospect, it ensures that you, the seller, are really listening. Whether it is the messaging you create, the communications you send or the calls you make; take the time to listen, nurture, build relationship.

How patient do you think you are with opportunities to nurture sales and to help your prospects at all stages of the sales cycle?

Want to ramp up your sales and shift your business results?  Sign up now for our 60-Day Sales Challenge.

How technology helps sales

Customer Relationship Management (CRM). Sales management system. Lead tracking software. Sale Management System (SMS). There are many names for the technology that supports your sales. And as software vendors extend capabilities and add modules, the future is likely to reveal new definitions, not to mention more acronyms and blurred lines.

Whatever you call it, if you have any kind of spreadsheet, database or application that you are using for your business, there are some important points to remember:

1. Invest in a system that will support your business and grow with it. Finagling a system based on a range of free- or half-baked feature-set is a false sense of economy

2. Set objectives for the system based on your sales process (you do have a sales process, right?). What do you need your CRM to do? Not to do? Does it need to integrate with other systems? How many of your staff need licenses?

3. Set roles for every user. Who will have system admin access?

4. Ensure that everyone uses the system. And I mean everyone – this is the central source of your prospecting efforts, a way to monitor nurturing and the one place where you are going to check the status, results and actions relating to sales. If everyone doesn’t use it then there’s a problem.

5. Management (if you’re the founder, then that’s you) needs to reinforce this use, by using reports, status updates and customizing dashboards within the assigned system

6. You need to train everybody on how to use the system and how it has been customized for your business

7. When implementing a new system, spend time thinking how you want it to work with regards to lead workflow: cold prospect, warm prospect, lead, customer, repeat customer – what is relevant to your business?

8. If you have areas of your business that you want to change then one common area that a lead-management system can transform a business is to address (and lower) email volume by replacing email-based communication with system-managed email templates, individual actions and tasks. This means that someone logging into the sales system can plan their day and eliminates a frantic ‘where’s that email to copy/paste’ or ‘who is doing that emailed task’?

9. Set up a system for you to ‘score’ leads – and communicate this to everyone in your team

10. Track lead status. If you can’t grasp how this could help you prioritize and close deals, then please get in touch then please get in touch!

In summary – the right technology, used in the right way by the right people won’t just help streamline processes, it will also reinforce a sales-orientated mindset within your business.

Want to increase your sales and shift your results? Please join us for one of our in-person workshops or for a online sales training event.Technology and sales: Hazel Butters