Boosting sales performance is possibly the one thing a small or medium-sized business can do to increase their profitability, but managers may have to adjust their ideas about what sales are all about.
In the past, sales courses have focused on “closing”, getting a signature on a contract, or money in the till. But modern sales is about building relationships to drive ongoing, repeat business. The economics of making a single sale to a customer often no longer add up, and are unsustainable.
The biggest challenge right now is pressure on margins – everybody wants a discount and salespeople are “dropping their pants” to make a deal. That’s not a sustainable way to grow a business! Sales staff often don’t understand the value of their company’s products or services, and therefore struggle when asked for a discount to explain why a price is what it is, and why that represents good value in the market. For some, a discount is offered at the very first sign of an objection.
Too often, sales people talk instead of ask. If you think about the negative stereotypical salesperson, they’ll be talking too much, and talking about a product’s features. Customers want to know what’s in it for them, and how the purchase will make their lives or their businesses better. If you’re genuinely interested in helping the customer to succeed, and you’re showing them how your product or service can do that, then you’ll make your sale, regardless of the price.