Develop a sales plan

7Welcome to our course on sales performance. Successful sales people bear in mind their audience, their potential buyer or purchaser. This course will help you to get into the mind-set of a buyer, as it is written by a professional buyer with twenty years’ experience. I have observed the many and varied sales techniques people use, and understand which is the most effective, and why.

It has been said that businesses face two problems

  1. Sales
  2. Everything else

While this may seem glib, it is true that if the sales function is performing well, then all other problems are solvable.

OIf your product is not selling, then there is no future for the company and all the other functions cannot perform effectively, however brilliant they are. They have no revenue to spend to achieve their objectives, pay staff, run marketing campaigns, no cash flow to control. No point existing!

Of course your product has to be something that people want to buy, however niche the market. Otherwise even the best sales people will struggle to achieve great results.

There are many ways to hone the performance of other departments, and we will consider some of them in future lessons, but sales are the driver of any company’s development, so let’s start there.

Wherever you are in sales there is something for you to learn. A different aspect of the problem, a new way of approaching the issue.

If you are a novice or a trainee, you can develop a plan to impress future employers, and you can hit the ground running in your first job. If you are established, it is always good to look at things with new eyes. Even if you have a presentation, compare it to this process, maybe make a few changes?

We will look at situations from the point of view of a professional buyer-how do they view the ranging process and their suppliers? How can you find out what they need? Show them you can definitely deliver that?

We will consider all the classic points-objections, testimonials, but maybe from a fresh point of view. Do you dread client’s objections or do you welcome them? You should welcome them – find out why!

How well do you know your product in the context of the marketplace and your competitors? Do you review the competition frequently?

Do you completely know and understand your product and what it can deliver to your client? Know how to sell them what they want, not your product?

As Theodore Levitt, a famous business school professor once said, “People don’t want ¼ inch drills, they want ¼ inch holes”.

We will think about what your client wants to buy, not just what you have to sell. How you can show them that your product will fulfil their requirements, and so improve your closing rate.

We will look at how people’s minds work when they are listening to your presentation, when to make your key points, how to make them memorable.

And in every lesson we will be building on your sales presentation.

If you do these exercises seriously and properly, you will need an hour or more a week to do the set work, as well as your reading time.

As we go through this course, the set exercises will enable you to develop and implement a sales plan. If you complete the exercises, you will end the course with a ready to go sales presentation.

Given that your product is something people want to buy, then there are only two reasons why you are not winning more business. Either you are not very good at selling or you are not using a presentation that is good enough to convince people they need your product.

So as we work thorough the lessons you will build a new presentation, step by step.

We will look at the things that make your customers want to buy your product – Unique selling point (USP) as many people refer to it. Or Buying Reasons as I prefer to call it.

Then we will consider why they need to buy that product from you. Who else can offer similar- why is yours better?

We will look at your competition, and analyse their product and performance. We will evaluate your strengths and weaknesses, threats and opportunities available to you.

We will consider what your client wants. And ensure your presentation is crystal clear about how your product will deliver that for them.

You will be able to say to them, in closing, “This is what you want, and I can definitely deliver that”.

But for this course to work for you, you need to put the work in. It’s your product, your company, your presentation, your sales results.

And at the end of the course you will have a presentation that will work for you.

Exercise review your existing presentation. If you don’t have a product or presentation because you are still learning your trade, spend some time producing one for a real or imaginary product.