For most, the thought of actively selling a product makes their hair stand on end. The dreaded sales task, or worse, networking event, leaves little to be desired. Funny, considering every product and service on the market requires an active sales strategy and selling at some point in their lifecycle, if not all the time. So, what are the steps to make the process more enjoyable and more rewarding, ensuring you get the desired outcome?
Sharon Davies is the Founder and Managing Director of Sales2Success – a consulting and mentoring firm teaching business owners and sales teams how to confidently sell their products and services. She shared her top tips for setting your sales strategy for 2022, calming the networking nerves and the core ingredients to ensure your strategy succeeds. Here’s what we learned.
Know thy customer
Sharon says that one of the common mistakes business owners make is not knowing who they’re talking to – and who they’re not talking to. By identifying your target market and your customer type, you’re eliminating a lot of the people you might otherwise waste time trying to convert.
Sharon says you should be “target focused” – this might be down to the industry, a demographic, or even a specific company or person within that company. And don’t lose sight of this target.
“Stay in your lane when it comes to your service or product offering,” she says. “Don’t try to be everything to everyone. Just focus on your offering and what you do well for that specific audience.”
Once you know your target market and your customer, you can then put a strategy in place to find that new client or new business. You’ll find that once you’re talking to the right people, they’ll be more open to hearing about your product or service, meaning less rejection and better return on investment.
Know your value proposition
According to Sharon, the key to taking out the nerves around sales and making the process easier is having a really solid value proposition and knowing it off by heart. Your value proposition should be at the heart of your sales strategy.
To help craft your value proposition, Sharon suggests asking yourself three questions.
- What’s in it for your customer?
- Where have you done it before?
- What are the problems that you’re going to solve for them?
Your value position is not an elevator pitch about your product or service, but rather the problems it solves for them, and your experience in the field. Once you’ve crafted your value proposition, make sure you know it back to front – as well as the answers to all the possible questions that could come out of it.
In Sharon’s workshops and mentoring sessions, she role-plays with her clients to go through the various scenarios and questions that a potential client might ask. She says that after doing this, her clients are much more confident in pitching their product or service, or striking up a conversation at a networking event. They can replay these conversations and have answers ready to go.
The four Cs to sales success
Sharon’s Sales2Success methodology includes four Cs: communication, clarity, consistency and commitment.
- Communication – Knowing and communicating your business value proposition, both internally within your teams, and externally with potential and existing customers.
- Clarity – Knowing your sales strategy and the events required to meet the targets within that, knowing the value you can offer, and having the answers to your clients’ questions on hand.
- Consistency – Setting targets for 30, 60 and 90 days and reviewing your strategy quarterly, while ensuring you’re doing the things you need to in your strategy throughout this time to meet these targets.
- Commitment – Putting in the work required to get your desired outcome, setting goals and working back from there to establish what you need to do to get the desired results.
Where businesses go wrong
Having a sales strategy is one thing, but hitting the pavement at networking events and the like is another, and Sharon says a lot of the time, this is where strategy goes out the window.
“If they have a strategy in place but they’re not getting results, it could be a number of factors,” she says. “They may not be doing what they’ve identified they need to be doing in their strategy, or they might have set goals that are unrealistic.
“I work backwards with my clients. I ask what they want to sell for the year and the dollar value of the services. From there we identify how many prospects they need based on their conversion rate, and what they need to do each quarter to get those results.
“We also put KPIs on these events – an ROI on your time. So you’ll have an ROI on your networking, your marketing, and any other time you spend selling your products, including phone calls and appointments.”
Sharon says sales strategies should be reviewed every quarter and aligned with KPIs.
“There are so many things you can do to unlock sales potential in your business,” she says. “Start with strategy, communicate it with your team, and make sure they’re bought in and understand what their drivers are from a leadership point of view.
“If everyone is on the same page and performing, you start to see the outcomes you’re looking for. Usually that’s profit, sales or growth – but customer testimonials, referrals and case studies are also all indicators of success.”
At the end of the day, everyone is a salesperson – so Sharon says you may as well enjoy it.
“Communicate your message, build trust and have fun along the way.”
Sharon joins a panel of Brisbane business strategists at the Brisbane Business Hub for The Ultimate Business Strategies to Empower You For Success in 2022 event on 18 January 2022. Find out more and register here.