Key Concept ~ The seeds for sales growth are sewn long before you make the call. Here are five strategic sales tips you may wish to consider as you prepare for 2019.
Remember all those manipulative selling techniques we were taught in the 1980s? Do yourself and your prospects a favor and try to forget them. If you really want to ignite sales growth in the coming year, be authentic, be transparent, focus on building relationships, and strategically position your sales efforts for success. Here’s a list of five things you can start doing today to prepare yourself for a fantastic 2019:
1.) Review Your Prospect Targeting Methodology ~ In order to qualify a buying influence as a true prospect they must have the intellectual capability to embrace your value proposition, the ability to pay for your product or service, and the authority to make the purchase. If a target only has one or two of these attributes they are considered a buying influence and not a true prospect. By focusing your energy on true prospects you will achieve greater efficiency in your efforts to drive sales growth.
This doesn’t mean you ignore buying influences. In many cases, especially with high-priced products or services, a group of individuals will have input into the purchasing process. But by focusing first and foremost on the final authority you’ll be able to accelerate the sales cycle by not spending excessive time trying to cultivate buying influences that cannot make the final decision. Learn their concerns, and look for the secondary emotional gain they will achieve by doing business with you.
Remember, the lessons from the field of Applied Behavioural Economics have demonstrated 70% of economic decision making is emotionally-driven, with the remaining 30% based in rational thought. Research published in the Harvard Business Review supports the strategic nature of this perspective. Companies that embrace the lessons from Applied Behavioural Economics were shown to experience 85% greater revenue growth and 25% greater profit growth over their competition that doesn’t embrace this perspective (in a one year period of measurement for the study).
2.) Assess Where You Achieved Sales Traction ~ Take a close look at the profile of the prospects you converted to customers in 2018. Can you identify why? Knowing where you succeeded and where you didn’t, and why, will help you fine tune your efforts going into next year. Was there are certain market segment that embraced your value proposition faster than others? What resonated with your new customers? Have you followed up with them to truly understand why they went with you, or even more importantly, why they didn’t go with you?
3.) Look For Correlations ~ With this information in hand, can you discern if any correlations exist? Are there similar reasons certain prospects went with you or decided upon another vendor? Try to gauge customer resonance from their perspective. Remember, while you may be in business to sell your particular solution, your customers are in business for an entirely different reason. Compare and contrast your customer base and look for commonalities that you can leverage elsewhere as you move forward.
4.) Prioritize You Focus ~ Once you’ve conducted this analysis, decide where you’re seeing your greatest return on investment and prioritize your efforts going forward. This is probably the single most challenging decision small business owners must make. It is so tempting to chase every dollar, but when you mindfully evaluate where you’re seeing the best traction and why, and discipline yourself to focus on prospects that are in alignment with you, you’ll move your firm towards sustainable growth.
Why? You’ll build a base of customer-advocates for your firm. The power of word-of-mouth, peer-to-peer endorsements, and cultivating a source for future referrals is invaluable. You literally cannot buy that kind of press. Stay focused, get as close as you can to your customer base, and listen to them to help guide your growth.
5.) Employ Execution Metrics ~ The old adage, if you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it, is especially true in sales. While we lead people, we manage processes; and sales is one of your most critical processes. Use the identified correlations, sales trends, and other tangible gates to measure and manage your sales pipeline.
As you begin doing this, you’ll develop keener insights into your marketplace and how you’re sales processes are aligning and motivating desired behaviours with your prospects. This process improves over time, but it is imperative that you initiate some sort of metric to provide visibility of your firm’s sales trajectory.
I’m confident if you begin employing these five tips you’ll quickly see an uptick in sales and a lower cost of customer acquisition.