Too often we are reactionary as sales people. Companies too often talk about the importance of inbound enquiries rather than having a sales strategy that has already qualified the suitability of the customer, hence boosting the likely interest in your product solution and services. Outbound targeted sales approached reap bigger prizes, do not often take more time and will be more profitably fruitful for your organisation when you really maximise the strategic propositions your organisation can make.
An inbound enquiry may sound easier, but actually the time it takes to convert one smaller sales to another can be little but the rewards in a selective approach, targeted and well qualified will give your company future much greater sustainability.
Outbound identified sales targets allow you to duplicate previously successful work, to reduce the strain of operational burden on your company and accelerate growth success as you resist the disaster of meeting every client’s specific needs. Small companies too often dare to say yes to everything and in so doing make fatal mistakes which slow growth and put stress on the administration and system of a fast growing start-up. Resources become stretched, suppliers become frustrated, flexibility over delivered causes strains and then you will loose those great people whom have helped you come this far.
I am not suggesting you do not react to the incoming recommended customer, nor am I suggesting they are all poor leads but the hunting of the right kind of client can allow you to better control your pipelines and conversion chances – hence results. Well planned sales pipelines with you in control will allow better resource allocation and planning and will reap more profitable results to allow speculation and further controlled growth.
Every person in your business should know whom the perfect fit profiled custom is and what they should look like. Do they?
- Do they know the size of account that appeals to your service terms
- Do you know in early stage enquiries whether you are talking to the decision maker or at least do you know what the decision making tree is and whom you have to influence in it? This will become more complex perhaps as you grow but easier if you do network within your industry. Something I should have done better.
- When you know a customer has a valid enquiry do you clearly define the terms of business you trade under? Or any concessions you have to yield, treat this negotiating phase as give and take. Each time you surrender something, get something in return? Sometimes extended term contract can be the easiest trade at a time when all things are going well.
Selling is an active participatory process, the more planned and clear you are about the strategic sales targets you have the better you will fare. Every part of your organizations resource should be targeted at these pro-actively and efficiently learning and sharing as you go to eliminate ruts in the road – speeding the conversion progress is part of the battle to improve profitability.
So no matter how your sales conversations begin, regardless of how tempting it is to dive straight in with selling something, spend time up front continually prioritising the size of the prizes and focus accordingly. Yes said more often is a poor excuse when more profit comes through the bravery of a no.
Stop reactionary habits, or put a process in place to qualify the potential fast whilst you spend a disproportionate amount of time chasing the best sales opportunities and refining you perfect niche proposition for which you become market expert.
By Lara Morgan, an award winning entrepreneur and international best-seller of ‘More Balls Than Most’. She is the founder of CompanyShortcuts.com, a source of practical advice and frameworks to enable businesses leaders to achieve accelerated growth.