Sunday, 30 December 2012

Selling Is Simple

Selling is as simple as you make it. But are you using the methods that get results, asks Robert Craven
If you knew the most cost-effective sales method you would use it first – wouldn’t you? The problem is that most people don’t know what it is.
The Directors’ Centre carried out a survey earlier this year, asking 247 small and growing businesses to name their most effective sales method. The top two were:
- Face-to-face selling
- Referrals and customer recommendations
Sales success was mostly the result of relationships and reputation – face-to-face relationships supporting the corporate brand and communicated by word-of-mouth – as the old adage goes, “people buy from people”.
If you can’t sell your product, is it because it’s a rubbish product, or because you’re rubbish at selling? Look at the table and the picture becomes clearer. Are you focusing on the best ways to improve your sales?
There are entire industries selling the least effective sales tools (email marketing, direct mail, exhibitions), and they keep quiet about the fact that the cheapest solutions are often the most effective. 
The results of the survey suggest a number of questions:
- Do you know which sales methods are the most effective in your business? 
- Do you know the cost of acquiring one new client and how much they are worth to you?
- Has every part of your sales pipeline/system been measured, tested and systematised? If not, why not?
The 80:20 rule 
Do you know who the top 20% of your clients are? What makes them different from the rest? How could you find more like them?
- Are you trying to get more revenue from poorly performing clients – the trivial many, or from high-performing
clients – the vital few?
- Should you sack 50% of your poor customers and get better business from your richer ones?
Time to evaluate 
The following questions will help you to put numbers to your marketing activity (costs, inputs, outputs, benefits) and to test, monitor, track and evaluate your different options.
- Where do you currently spend marketing/sales time and money?
- Where do you get your best results? [eg referrals and recommendations]
- Where should you spend your time and money?
- What could good marketing and selling skills do for your business? [eg an improvement of 10% in sales]
- So, what are you going to do about it?

Taken from Selling is Simple in Growing Business by Robert Craven

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