Let’s take a closer look at sales as a vital part of the business paradigm.
I’ve talked in the past about the importance of the sales function for pretty much any business. Without good and consistent sales to fuel the fire of the business, everything will soon grind to a halt. It doesn’t hurt to have a great product or service to begin with. One that people will buy – again and again. The trick is to not only let them know about it but to not forget about it. This is not revolutionary new information but it certainly merits reminding ourselves often and in all seriousness.
Even a retail store that is in front of people all the time needs to pay attention and groom sales to generate that all-important revenue. Customers are drawn to incentives, bargains and quality. They are also drawn to staff that is attentive, good-humoured and a joy to deal with. In effect, the staff members are the sales force; at least the front line ones anyway. People need to feel great about their purchase to the point where they will return.
As many businesses require a concerted effort to generate, maintain and grow sales, I feel it is worthwhile to bring it forward and discuss it.
Many of you will have heard about the concept of networking. In essence it involves starting and building relationships with people to your mutual benefit. Human nature would indicate that people are most comfortable buying from people they know and trust. As an extension of this, they are more inclined to refer others to people or businesses that they know will service their acquaintances properly. Whenever they make a referral, they are effectively placing their reputation on the line. You don’t want to let them down. Lastly, people in general are willing to help others as a means of self-fulfillment. All of this is powerful stuff.
In essence, this whole concept of effective sales involves building a network rather than just putting out an endless number of sales pitches. In many cases, a cold sales pitch is often given to a people who have no immediate interest in your product or service. Delivering your pitch to an already interested party is a different thing. In this case, the person is starting off motivated and is looking for the “education” and whatever else they need to make an informed purchase – including pricing. This is a different game altogether.
Another upside of having a solid network in place is that these people effectively become part of your sales force. The understanding is that you will do the same for them if they have products or services to offer. A well-known networking organization called BNI (Business Network International) has even coined a phrase to sum up this philosophy: “Givers Gain”. We actually belong to this organization as part of our own sales initiative. It gives us access to like-minded business individuals.
Rather than delivering an unsolicited sales pitch to someone you meet in an effort to close, try establishing a relationship. By all means let them know what you do or what you provide but do so with the intent of establishing a solid and long-term connection. Instead of asking them to buy in, ask them if they might know of someone who would benefit from your product or service. Ask them if they could pass on your card or even provide an introduction. If they or their referral are actually in the market, the door is open and you are off to the races. Don’t forget to reciprocate.
The business economy revolves around sales and I’m hoping you will consider approaching it from the standpoint of establishing a solid, long-term network. Quick sales will no doubt happen over time but it is the relationship, including after sale follow-up, that should prove to be most effective at providing a solid base for your business to grow and thrive on.
Here’s looking to the renewal and vitality of spring. Stay well.