When I first started in business I developed an important mantra to follow: make saleable things and sell them.
I can’t tell you how happy I am to have gotten this revelation early in life.
Without it, I most certainly would have struggled to survive, let alone grow my business.
What’s one of the biggest problems that stop businesses from growing quickly? It’s a failure to focus on making sales.
It’s not uncommon to find situations where everybody in the company gets so focused on their own little job, each person in their own little cubicle, that they collectively place the needs and preferences of the customer dead last on their list of priorities.
In large companies, the bigger a business gets, the more likely it is to be infected this way.
In smaller companies, where each person has multiple (and often conflicting) responsibilities, the customer becomes the interruption, perceived as an annoying distraction to getting the work done.
With entrepreneurs running solo, they put longer and longer hours in, trying to wear too many hats. As a result they end up with “sales” near or at the bottom because they don’t have time to give it the attention it deserves.
When you carefully analyze the majority of companies that get into financial trouble or that are stymied on how to grow their company, you will discover that they have sacrificed effective sales methods and customer service in favor of the convenience and preferences of employees.
If your sales are shrinking. Or if you are struggling to make sales. Or if you feel you are too busy to focus on sales. Or if you are putting sales at the low-end of the spectrum. I suggest you stop what you are doing right now and evaluate. This is a sure sign you are headed for trouble.
The absolute top thing you need to focus on is making sales. It’s the fastest and best way to grow your company. It’s is the engine that drives your company. Ignore it or let it slide and you will shortly be on the side of the road, broken down and frantically looking for help.
Here are three recommendations for keeping your business focused on sales:
Employ those who are exclusively salespeople. Sales is too important. When you hire someone make sure they are not splitting time between sales and some other role. It often leads to sales getting the short end of the stick. And sales production will quickly drop off.
Hire other people to worry over every imaginable detail and potential problem. They become inside marketers, troubleshooters or customer service reps. Make sure every sales person on your staff is devoted solely to sales. They should be 100% dedicated to selling or causing sales.
Your company CEO should never be a “numbers” person. When sales are shrinking, people with financial backgrounds tend to cut investments in the things that drive sales, like marketing or promotions. It is better to have someone who knows how to make money in this position.
Create “miracle salesmen.” In 1937, W. Clement Stone energized his sales force by hiring Napoleon Hill to conduct sales training classes. Hill concentrated training on the thirteen principles from his book THINK AND GROW RICH. In Stone’s words, he and Hill built “miracle salesmen.” What he discovered is that many sales managers and companies have forgotten or were under-valuing the fact that motivation is more important than technique.
About this training Stone said, “My sales managers began to be builders of miracle salesmen, and our salesmen began to make such phenomenal sales records that the results achieved seemed unbelievable to those who had not learned the art of motivation.”
Most modern sales training is heavily weighted to process, with barely a nod to attitudes. The truth is most salespeople can sell—but don’t. They have sufficient skills to sell—but don’t, because they are not sufficiently motivated or self-motivated to overcome the inherent rejection and frustration of selling.
In other words, you can teach people all the technique in the world, and they’ll still fail if burdened with unproductive attitudes or lacking successful attitudes.
If I had a sales force, I would implement a continuing, multi-faceted system of “attitude training and improvement” to build self-images, confidence and ambition of my salespeople.
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