‘How do you eat an elephant? ‘ My old sales manager used to ask us each Monday morning at the sales meeting. ‘Bite by bite,’ we’d answer, disregarding the fact that a lot of people may choose not to eat elephant meat at all! What she meant was, what do you need to do to meet large sales targets, which at first seem unattainable? Here are a few strategies to help you meet; even exceed your monthly sales targets.
Fill the funnel continuously
When business is thriving, and it seems that you can’t keep up with the orders, it’s easy to let the marketing of the business slide. You become busy selling to existing customers and servicing them and there doesn’t seem to be enough time to find new clients. And what do you need to find them for, you ask yourself? Your existing client base brings money today, and a good income it is.
- However, there are several factors you should take into consideration:
- A finite need for a product What happens when your most faithful clients have received they need from you and don’t need anymore? If the need for your product or service is finite, you need to constantly find new people with a fresh need for your product.
- Changing staff people move on to better jobs. Your most faithful customer will move onto a better-paying job, leaving you with a new guy to impress. Worse yet, the new guy may have his own list of preferred service providers, leaving you out in the cold. So, in order to keep the orders streaming in, you need to continuously refresh your client base, adding new potential customers.
- Many people in business know what they hope to make each month. They don’t however; know what they can realistically plan for, or where they plan to get that money. In order to exceed your target, you need to plan your sales campaign carefully. You need to admit what you can achieve and what you can’t, and to have a plan to improve your current status. Your plan should include the following:
- Your monthly weekly and where possible, your daily target sales figures
- This is where my old sales manager’s elephant food comes in. When you look at the monthly target, it may look huge, and perhaps, even intimidating. However, when you break it up into smaller daily bites, it may look manageable. So you are able to focus on meeting your daily sales target.
- Your products’ unit price
- How many items do you need to sell to meet your daily sales target? Add another one each day in order to exceed your target. Sometimes you will manage to do as planned, while on other days you will sell less. However, if you sell consistently, you should come out ahead.
- The list of customers you plan to sell to
- This is the list of people who expressed a need for your product and specifically said that they would like to buy the very month. Call those who made promises for this month early on in the month. Likely, many of them will fall off your list, either because they have changed their minds or because they need to postpone the buy for a few more weeks. Promises without ‘the order will be on your desk next week’ are not to be counted on for this month.
- When someone falls off your imminent buyers’ list, look through your client base for a possible replacement. If you continuously fill your funnel, you won’t run out of possibilities.
- Your daily sales strategy
- Sales do not happen unless you make them happen. Unless you own a shop and rely on walk-in customers to purchase your product, you need to know whom you plan to sell to each day; you need to know whom you plan to sell to. Focus on small orders, numerous orders. Big orders are wonderful to dream about. However, they take time to negotiate and are unpredictable, as the potential customer invariably negotiates with many more suppliers.
- Ask for the sale
- Don’t be shy. If you made sure that the people in your immanent buyer list do have a need for your product, and they have mentioned to you that they would like to buy from you sometime, it is within your right to enquire whether they are now ready to purchase. This is no hard sell: you are in fact, providing a valuable service to your imminent customer, a service that he clearly needs.
Do your evaluation each week
Each week, you need to look at what has been achieved and form your strategy for the coming week. What marketing techniques worked best? What sales techniques did not work? Where else can you get new business? Evaluate your list of potential buyers again, and rate them. 100 percent for those who will definitely bring the business A lower percentage based on what your gut tells are the chances that the business will come in. Anyone who rates between 80 and 65 percent should have a replacement handy, in case they drop further. Those at fifty or less should even be on your list.
Sell early on in the week
Do your initial sales at the beginning of the week. The rest of the week should be spent following up to get the order on your desk and to call new clients as the initial ones fall off. That way, you won’t be frantically trying to sell to someone fresh on a Friday afternoon, when you should be tallying your sales and sitting comfortably over your target.
Each day is a fresh beginning
The trick to selling well is facing each day as a fresh beginning. Yesterday is history. You can gloat a bit about the successes, but don’t dwell on the failures. You can’t do anything about them.
Rejoice in the unexpected
You are quietly plodding along, meeting your sales targets from careful planning. Then a potential client walks through the door, asks for you by name from the receptionist. He looks familiar, but you can’t quite place him. He tells you he’s John Smith, from company X. He wanted to buy your products a few months back, but what with budget problems, and restructuring within the company, it took him longer than planned to finalize the details.
But now all is sorted out, and he has brought the order through, and he came in person because he really needs you to process everything quickly. They are behind schedule, and can you deliver within a week or so? The cheque will be ready by then.
Sounds like my demented fantasy? Not a chance! It has happened to me several times and it can happen to you. Of course, you still have to worry about how your company will deliver such a large order on short notice, but hey, every business should have that kind of a problem!
But now all is sorted out