Sales often take longer than you expect.
Even if you give a great sales presentation, you may find that your prospect needs to go through channels requiring additional presentations or has to wait for a new budget cycle before approving the purchase. Always establish a day and time for your next contact with each prospect – and always follow through. Once you have figured out the typical sales cycle, make adjustments to the revenue and expenses in your business plan.
Understand your prospect-to-sales ratio.
Keep track of how many sales calls/presentations on average, you need to make in order to get one sale. Multiply your planned sales number by your ratio to get the total number of prospects that need to be in your pipeline. Keep in mind that it’s okay for people to say no when you ask them to buy – it is part of the process and you need to move on. If in measuring your sales ratio, you find that you close one sale for every 20 calls, then you can expect 19 people to say no for every one that says yes. Once you make a sale, you need 20 more prospects to make the second sale.
Getting a new customer is time consuming and expensive.
It’s easier to grow an existing customer than it is to add a new one. Focus a good part of your sales effort on recurring business from your current customers and on ways to increase the total purchase level for each customer by cross-selling other items. Banks are good at this. You may walk in a bank wanting a simple checking account, and leave with a bundled package of checking, credit card and business loan. Cross selling and recurring purchases are essential to on-going profitability – and can be good for your customers if you are saving them time or money on products and services they need.
Make sure you will make money on the sale and be willing to walk away if you don’t.
Keep client accounts current.
Prompt payment is essential to your business maintaining a healthy cash flow. A delay in getting paid can kill a business. Be sure you have someone following up regularly on delinquent accounts.
Be consistent in prospecting.
Prospecting is an on-going process. You have to be at it day after day after day. It is critical to keep your pipeline filled at all times.
Make it easy for others to buy from you.
Have a user-friendly website with information on what you sell and how they can purchase it. Get feedback from customers on their buying experience and look for ways to improve it.
The sale is only the beginning.
Client satisfaction is everything – especially if you want recurring revenue. Here are just some of the things you need to do:
- Ask the customer if everything was to their liking.
- Thank the customer.
- Communicate with the customer so your business stays top-of-mind.
- Get referrals from your customer.
For help on developing a consistent sales practice, contact the Economic Development Collaborative-Ventura County. Conveniently located in Camarillo, California, we’re here to help.