How to sell more by Mark Blezard
This sounds like a good idea, yes? Who wouldn’t want to sell more? However, I think you all know that it isn’t that easy. Board members do not simply issue a memorandum titled ‘Sell More’. No, you need a plan.
In this blog, I’m going to join together several initiatives from previous blogs and try and outline the planning steps.
To kick off with there is your product or service. This must first come under review. Questions to ask are:
· Is it still fit for purpose or does it need a makeover?
· Could it be sold into other markets, and does it have additional applications?
· Can it be repackaged or bundled up to make for a more exciting offering?
· What is the scope for additional sales? What is the market size and your current market share?
· Are you too cheap? If you raised the price, would it move you into a more affluent marketplace or simply yield more profit?
With these questions answered, you’ll begin to see if you actually can sell more and to set a realistic target. Another 5% perhaps? Another 100 units? Whatever you decide upon, you need to have some reasoning behind it.
Then we look at your sales force. Are they fit for purpose? This is a big question and could result in its very own book, so forgive me if I simply highlight the key points.
· Selling skills. Don’t assume anything in sales. Your top performer might simply have the best accounts. Run a properly validated sales skills assessment and reveal the truth.
· Sales training. This is not a pill to be taken only when sales targets are missed. This should be a plan, based on scientific analysis from your assessments, which is structured to target the precise area of needs and focused in those areas most likely to yield a sales uplift. These first two actions need to become a regular annual event. Put it in the diary come bull or bear markets.
· Get scientific in your sales performance management. Document two measurements in a spreadsheet for all execs: i) percentage to target, ii) their skills percentage score from your sales assessment tool. These will almost certainly correlate and therefore guide you on what individual actions to take. We have a sample spreadsheet for you to download here and read this.
· Sales force structure. Review who sells what. Is it the best structure or is it one of default from organic growth? Look at who has which accounts and territories. Sales executives don’t like change but so long as you are transparent in your ‘sell more – earn more’ programme, they should support you.
Next, it is time to re-invent yourself and your organisation. By this, I mean looking in detail at every customer ‘touch-point’ your sales executives and online presence has and re-inventing them. Sales executives, and corporates, are often guilty of using the same old tired copy, emails, web pages without checking what their customers first see.
This is not a ‘Spring clean’ this is a new habit, a new corporate philosophy. This should be a weekly task for everyone in sales. Produce one new, interesting, sharp, colourful and humorous ‘touch-point’ content piece. It will keep them focussed on what they are actually selling.
Finally, take a look at the sales support staff – the customer support team, marketing team, social media gang, lead generation team, etc. – and run them all through a ‘back to basics’ sales training course, incorporating the full ‘consultative selling’ journey. Why? Because if they understand the basics of how to sell, they will start supporting your sales force in a more meaningful fashion.
So there you have it – how to sell more. One thing is for sure, if you run through these simple steps you certainly will not sell less!