How to Sell: On a small budget
SELL ME THIS:
I know what you are thinking, “sell me this pen”. Yes 20 years ago it was that easy to sell. However, times have changed and so have the methods of selling. The fundamental process of this great skill, remains the same. As a business owner, if you cannot sell your own product/service, how do you expect others to sell it? If you know your idea is amazing and that’s why you have made so much sacrifice, then you can sell!
A standardized sales process steps outlines not only the main sales steps but also the tasks to be accomplished successfully at each stage - which are absolutely necessary for effective sales pipeline management. Leverage these steps in the sales process to increase win probability, influence customer deal size and speed pipeline velocity.
NEVER EVER GO WITH THE MENTALITY: “I’LL HIRE PEOPLE FOR THIS AND THAT”, unless you are already a billionaire entrepreneur. This applies for a business idea to selling your idea. I have had a client who's background was in medicine who didn’t know how to use an iPhone, start a e-commerce company…..and guess what, it failed.
STAGE OF SALES PROCESS:
Be intelligent with your sales opportunities, but don’t spend all your days on it. I once worked in a company where they had a 187 step process for a successful sale….it's true you can’t make this shit up!
Keep it simple, these are the basic things all sales people/processes will need. And no I don’t believe in all the new titles “Account Manager, Client Support etc”. Think of every client/prospect/sale as your baby, unless you are a soulless being, you wouldn’t want them being taken away from you. You give birth, you are the first person they relate to and trust, how would you feel if they were handed to new parents in their teens. I have always taken care of all my accounts, even if the company had account management in place. They would call at any time, I would have time for them. Respect every client.
WHO DO I NEED TO BE?:
Yes there are natural born sales people, this doesn’t mean you can’t learn it or at least know the basics. Making a sale is about as euphoric as a sky jump or surfing on a great white shark. Listening to advice, taking criticism and using your personality, is what will make you a good sales person.
Knowledge: Know your product inside out. I had a great experience recently with a bank sales staff, who was trying to sell me some policy on insurance protection. I quizzed the crap out of her, every point, I was even testing her on areas that were not relevant to the sale. She answered them all. Unfortunately for her, I already had a great insurance policy. No umms, no let me check, no no’s, she could have been making it all up, but to me it made sense. If you don’t have answers to your own offering, you are not prepared and it shows lack of understanding, so how the hell will the client feel comfortable in your hands?
Desire: All sales people wake up and work for that monies. Anyone who says I do it for the love, is a great sales person (cos that it bull). You have to always have the desire to make that close. Make that commission and to challenge yourself to do better the next day. On top of all that, just like an athlete, stay on top of your game by training. This doesn’t mean go all rocky like, this means understand your industry, your product/service and all your clients industries. When you call up, you start talking about everything you have found out about their industry….unless you want to be a PPI or “have you had an accident lately” sales person.
Organisational: Plan yourself. From the way you look to the desk you work on to how you plan your day. All has to be meticulous. Get yourself a process and method and stick to it, whilst on the call, make sure you are hands free, so you are completing notes, entering details where needed, on the call, so that it frees up your time to do more important things, like make sales. Don’t plan meetings and say, “sorry my meeting ran over” shit excuse, your poor time management is costing me, why?
You are not going to be fed to sharks, you will not lose your life, you will probably never meet the person that tells you “fuck off” – you will only hear this if you have done it wrong.
One way to deal with those butterflies is breathing exercises. Another is practice. Another is just simply put, know what you are selling and why Bob will find it irresistible.
You can not recreate a person or Hollywood star. The best sales people are those who are themselves. Try and be someone else and you will fail, the effort needed to be someone else, will destroy you.
TYPES OF SALES PEOPLE:
Hiring and management, don’t be deluded or arrogant in your expectation, no matter how big you think you are, no one will ever change their well paid jobs for your start up. You will never get an experienced sales person for even 60k - 80k a year. On the other scale, hiring someone with no experience or straight out of Uni, you will have to be knowledgeable on how to sell.
Normal Sales Department Structure: Sales Director – reports to CEO/MD, a number of sales consultants (you can have team leaders, if you are that big) and some companies like to have lead generators (this is usually a ponzi scheme method, would not recommend). Then there is the Account Managers/Client Relationship Managers/Development Training etc etc.
A good, experienced sales director will set you back anywhere from £80k to £150, basic + expenses, + comms + bonus + profit share + equity. A good sales consultant starts from £40k - £80k + comms + bonus + expenses + goodies (phone, laptop, car). Account manager will set you back anything from £30k to £50k + comms + bonus + goodie.
One person for each of these areas will set you back around £250k basic a year and it will never happen…why? Because no Sale Director will take the job, if they don’t have a team building budget. They will never be happy with a 1 or 2 person team.
So unless you are extremely wealthy, this option is often either beyond reach or you will get the team and realise you have been fooled. So how do you create a sales team on a small budget. Get someone who is experienced in this area and allow them to build it for you. You don’t have to do it yourself, if you are not competent in this area. But make sure they give you deliverables. Don’t take on the challenge yourself, why? Because you will not know expectations, you can either go too high or too low. Also if you don’t know how to do it, how do you expect to teach it? Budget for a small team, which you would be willing to train and mentor.
This is the consultants job. Grads make very good options, but the real stars can be found in apprentices & interns. I have worked with some amazing sales people, even better than me. But if you are not able to harness their power and realise their abilities, you are wasting your time, their time and your money and potential sales.
INFECTING THE TEAM WITH PASSION:
Once you have a team in place, making sure they are well taken care of is essential to the continued growth of your business. Just like a chef, you can’t work with a blunt knife.
This can be as simple as taking them out for a meal, providing free training workshops, or even thanking them one to one for their hard work. Giving people ownership of anything, will instantly make them feel responsibly and power, but also allow them to see a future.
The more you can instil time and energy on the development of a team member, the more likely they stay. Just like a footballer who wants to win trophies, they will always want to stay and build on trophies. Without a good coach, a progressive company as well as new opportunities to grow, why would they stay. You have spent all that time to train and develop, only for them to move on to the greatest team in the world.
You don’t have to be great at sales, you just have to share in your excitement and belief about your products/service. Doesn’t mean talking about it night and day, but like a great leader, you need to be the most admired in the company, lose this and you lose respect and that’s when all goes to shit.
LOOKING AFTER YOUR CLIENTS, NEW, CURRENT AND OLD:
So you have a billion new clients. Managing them is essential to your continued success. Yes I previously mentioned that a sales person should be doing this and I always do. It doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t have a watch tower. Someone who will be there to keep an eye on your baby, whilst you are away making new clients.
This particular role doesn’t mean just sit and watch them. It means you contact them to see how they are doing? If they need anything else? Provide training on whatever you have sold them, this could be a piece of software or a piece of cheese.
Now that you have these great new clients, how do you make sales from them. Up selling is so much easier at this stage and an easy opportunity for you to make additional revenue. Make sure it is relevant, rather than selling global services to a one person band in a village. Up selling doesn’t just mean to that particular client. It is the role of the account manager to fish for potential others within this clients portfolio, can they recommend? Do they know of others who would be interested? Can they make an intro?
Keep your clients in the know about what is happening in your business. Don’t use pointless and irritating newsletters. Call them, email them, send them a letter, but make it personal. Make sure they believe they are your only client.
Most importantly reward them. Discount on additional services/products. First to try before hitting the market. Or even a party with an open bar.