Sales like we had a couple years ago are not going to happen again. Everyone agrees that we’ve already hit the high-water mark. We never had much of a sales organization. We just got calls from people who wanted what we had. But now they have what they need and we’re up against a wall wondering what to do next.
THOUGHTS OF THE DAY: Consider the size of your pipeline. If you were once in high demand, you can be again. Look for extensions on what you’ve already sold. For the next round of growth, consider buying what you need. Figure out which sales challenges you really need and want to solve.
Don’t think the better customers trust anyone but us. It’s our fault. We’ve created our own problem. Few of our employees deal with clients. We wanted to be sure customers could get the answers they needed right from the horse’s mouth – us. We also wanted to be sure that customers wouldn’t follow a departing employee. And, of course, no one can do pricing except us. But now we’re bogged down. We’re not growing the way we used to. And we can’t take time off the way we’d like.
Thoughts of the Day: Sales, like every other part of the business, benefits from a team approach. Practice by working together to accomplish group goals. Train employees to handle prospects and customers correctly.
We haven’t had good experience turning things over to salespeople. We give them leads and they don’t turn that into business. Later on we find out that they didn’t do a good job on following up. Or they followed up but couldn’t turn the lead into a sale. Not sure how to better manage this.
Thoughts of the day: Your job includes managing both salespeople and sales activities. Make sure that you have the right people in place doing the right job. Save time and effort by knowing the profile of who you want to sell to. Get salespeople involved in the effort so that they place greater value on the leads. Check out the ROI on sales activities.
Our salesperson likes to discount things, especially add-on services, which are a really big profit margin for us. He’s even told some clients we would do it at cost. We need to fix this now because he’s starting to make headway in sales. Bigger accounts are coming in and we could end up losing a lot of profits.
Thoughts of the day: How much does your salesperson know about how your business makes a profit? Is your salesperson calling on the right class of customers? Equip your salesperson with an effective information-gathering approach. Check that everyone is clear on what the goals are. Use reporting to evaluate and learn from results. Make sure there’s a plan to get more referral business from the best customers.
We are absolutely getting beat out on jobs. Even with referrals we are losing bids to a competitor who is doing shoddy work, making mistakes on estimating, installing the wrong materials and billing clients for significant upcharges. Obviously we need to be doing a better job selling ourselves. Help!
Thoughts of the day: Figure out if you’re calling on the right prospects. Help prospects discover your value through questions. Make sure you’re working with prospects who will do more than collect bids. Ask your referrals to get involved in more than vouching for you.