There is no business without sales
The word sales scare a lot of people and its common to hear people make light of it with comments like ‘I’m not very good at sales, or I hate sales’. Regardless of what type of business you operate, if you want to be your own boss you need to accept sales is a BIG part of the job.
Determine your sales process
There are so many elements of a business that contribute to the sales process, and in a competitive market a potential sale starts well before you interact with a customer face-to-face. To be successful you need to consider the process. This involves thinking through the sales experience from the perspective of your customer first. Things you might want to work through include: how would you like to be treated, what would you want to know about the product/service; what experience would you want to have from interacting with the company; do you want fast or slow service; would you want the company to be highly knowledgeable and offer advice; how would you want the product /service to be presented, what would you want to see at point of purchase; what would help encourage your regular patronage and loyalty to the business? Start from the very first moment a person might come across your business to the final step of converting the sale.
Brand awareness is a huge part of the sales process, so you need to examine every opportunity to get your business in front of potential customers. Consider who your key target markets are and then research ways to reach them direct within the community. The more engaging your brand can be in their lives, the greater resonance it will have them. Consider supporting local groups, charities or sporting organisations for example.
100% sales mindset
As your business grows, so will your team and once other people join your business the need to ensure everyone has the same sales mindset is very important. Any person within your business that interacts with someone else needs to be aware of the process and role they play in contributing to a great sales experience. For example, an admin person following up an overdue invoice must always be courteous, a service exec that goes onsite for a job must be punctual and well presented.
As the owner and leader of the business you must always lead by example. The values you bring to the sales process will be shared best this way and ensure your team are aware of your standards and expectations of service.
If sales do not come naturally than education is important. Your franchisor may host training or else there are many great external courses you can attend to improve your skills. We send our staff every year to retail training, and because product knowledge is so important in our business we get suppliers to visit and teach our team about products. Again, the type of education you participate in will come from your sales process and identifying what you need to know/do to make the sales process effective.
Learning is long-term:
The longer you have a business the more you can refine what you do. Sales is something that evolves with your business and you must be willing to examine the process regularly, take feedback onboard and utilise it to improve what you do.
The good news is the longer you are in business the easier the sales process becomes because you are more comfortable in business and as a leader.