Lesson 1 :
Sales should be on the top of your business plan!
Do you remember the 4 P’s of the marketing mix?
3 out of the 4 factors refer to sales, only 1 to the product. The sales plan is as important as the product and the financial plan! Sales, as product development, has its cost. Never underestimate it and take in account from the very beginning.
A product doest NOT sell itself, however unique, all-performant and appealing it may look. There is a whole process to go through before a contract is signed and an invoice paid.
- AWARENESS needs to be created
- INTEREST needs to be triggered
- DESIRE needs to be cultivated
- ACTION must be provoked
Every step requires significant time, effort, expertise and communication skills.
Last but not least : competition is always behind the corner! So you’d better stay informed about the decision process.
A high-level introduction is far better than no introduction but it is….just an introduction; no more, no less…
A warm introduction does not equal a closed deal. It may however bring you at the start in a favourable position. The real work only starts after. See lesson 2.
A purchasing process and thus a sale takes longer, brings many more hurdles to overcome and costs more than forecasted, always. It is extremely important to start well prepared. A good old market research, providing you with market insights and client/prospect
feedback can help you anticipate on customer needs and requirements. It can equally help you to refine your prospect base and put your focus on the real opportunities. A small initial investment can result in significant cost-savings along the road.
Sales does not equal medicine. “No cure, no pay” – engagement with sales agents may look cheap and risk free. Such an engagement however is bound to be unsatisfactory for both sides and will seldom turn into successful sales. There is no mutual commitment
and no incentive for investing the time, the effort and the skills to push/pull a deal through the pipeline to a successful close.
Let me end with a quote from INC.com’s Gordon Tredgold :
“Sales are like oxygen, without it your business suffocates and dies.”