Tags: Branding, Marketing, Sales
We all know what it means, but it can be hard to define. I think it is important to sometimes reframe what we are doing – take a look at it from a higher level and this can help inform our perspective on what we do, how we do it and how we can improve it.
Essentially, “sales” represents the transfer of credibility from the seller to the brand.
A sales person starts with nothing – perhaps a cold call, and they work through the sales process by establishing and reinforcing their credibility to the point when the buyer feels they trust and believe the seller and agree to sign off. At that point – the seller has worked hard individually to the point where credibility has been built and then has been successful in transferring that credibility to the brand they represent – A tall order for sure.
Now, sure – of course marketing can help with building that brand (either in advance or during the sales process), but it really comes down to individuals. People connecting with people. For that very reason, sales people are one of the most important hires that an organization can make. These people are walking and talking your brand every day.
Who says sales and marketing do not understand one another? They are different sides of the same thing.
Tags: Closing, Sales, sales process, Sales Tips
Sales is a numbers game – how many times have you heard that?
Managing sales by numbers is part of it, but these metrics are more applicable to early sales process functions like business development activities.
X number of calls – Y number of appointments – Z number of meetings
It makes a lot of sense to track these ratios as they will indicate strengths, gaps and required efforts to keep a sales funnel on track. Later sales process management by numbers is focused on average sale value, closing ratio and funnel management.
Here is where I am going with this… Sellers have a direct impact on their numbers early in the sales process, and their ability to control and affect the sale decreases as it moves along… Sellers have direct control over their own production, but buyers have control over the dollars (by and large). Too many sellers try to take back that control far too late in the process – at the close.
The Math Analogy
Closing is simply like the “=” in sales. It is a function – a result. Mathematics does not happen at the point of “=”, it is a process that results in a value and the same goes for sales. In order to achieve the correct value in math, the process needs to be completed by following the rules and doing them in the right order. The calculations are similar to qualifying in sales – I have said many times that in order to be a better closer, you need to be a better qualifier – either way – if you rush through the calculations or the qualifications, you will get a result, but likely not the correct one. Sellers who focus too much attention on the “=” are missing the point of sales as it has already happened; the “work” of sales is complete, closing is simply the result of a competent sales process.
This math process analogy can help sellers envision what closing is all about. Math is like sales in a vacuum – a repeatable process. In the real world, sellers are using psychology, presentation skills and benefiting from good timing.
Tags: Brand, Entrepreneurs, Marketing, Sales
It’s always different working with entrepreneurs vs. sales people.
I recently taught a class here in Toronto focused on social media at MicroSkills. For a lot of “new” entrepreneurs, selling is the last thing they want to do. Many of them see sales as a necessary evil – as if it is only a matter of time until the market finds out about them and the phone begins to ring. They have the vision, but are not prepared to put in the time to find customers/clients (and the skills to pull it off). They focus their skills gap on the brand… i.e. “if only the brand were stronger…” vs. “I’d like to be better at selling.”
On the other hand, sales people often miss/overlook the vision of the business – both their own and their prospect’s businesses. They have the skills and can pound out calls and presentations, but have trouble with the big picture.
Now – these are generalizations, and there are some great sellers with vision and some entrepreneurs who can work it on the streets. Ultimately, I think it is rare for individuals to be strong in both areas. Success doesn’t come easy.
Bottom line = $. The efforts of any business – your own or selling within someone’s business needs to result in sales. Sales continues to be stigmatized while functioning as the life blood of any organization. I see both entrepreneurs and sellers alike continue to wish that their brand could help them sell, or better yet, sell for them.
Selling is a fine art – marketing is an applied art.