BY CATHY KUZE Just like a cyclist needs momentum to stay upright and keep moving forward, sales needs a process to implement and create momentum. As the Sales Expert with Small Business BC, I speak with many entrepreneurs who aren’t achieving their goals or getting the results they envisioned and no matter what business they are in, they all have a common denominator—they don’t have a sales strategy. Sales requires a strategy, a process that you can measure, monitor and apply over and over again. Sales is something you have to commit to on an ongoing basis. You can’t just try it for a couple of weeks and expect results! Same goes for when you are experiencing success, you still need to be implementing your sales strategy. I used to talk about picturing your business as a giant ball that you had to lean in and put your shoulder into to get it moving. Here in my cycle friendly city, I have an even better analogy … think of the sales process for your business like riding a bike. You start off usually standing on the pedals, putting all your energy in getting that bike to move. After your initial output of energy, you start to gain momentum and pedaling becomes much easier with less energy output. (You might even coast and rest the legs for a bit!). That’s what a successful sales process is like. But don’t stop pedaling for long. Just imagine if you stop altogether … the bike slows down and the slower it gets, the harder it is to balance until it comes to a dead stop and you fall over. Ouch! There are 5 key steps to a successful sales strategy: If I had a nickel for every time an entrepreneur said they could sell to everyone … You need to determine your target market. You aren’t going to just keep pedaling! A dynamic speaker, author and business expert with a deep knowledge of the art of human connections, Cathy Kuzel has been helping entrepreneurs succeed for more than 25 years. She is increasingly sought after as the expert in all things ‘Small Biz’. cathykuzel.com Sales Business Dynamics 9 Reach out and connect through email, direct mail or (gasp!) a phone call and ask if they could make an introduction for you. That’s it! to do business with everyone. (Really! No really!) and even if it’s possible with what you’re offering, you have to have a place where you can focus and start to build momentum. Start with a list of prospects that meet specific criteria for purchasing your product or service. 2 Reach out and touch someone. Having a list is just the beginning. How will you connect with them? Here’s what I suggest to my coaching clients and students: Once you’ve determined your target market and created the list, look to your existing connections to find a common thread or relationship they have to the people or businesses you wish to reach. Reach out and connect through email, direct mail or (gasp!) a phone call and ask if they could make an introduction for you. That’s it! When your friend or associate introduces you to the prospect, follow up and set up the initial meeting. For all the others on your list that you don’t have a connection to—cold call them. This could mean sending them an introductory letter, or picking up the phone. If you send an introductory letter, tell them that you will call to follow up – and then follow up! Be punctual and respect their time. “Reach out and connect through email, direct mail or (gasp!) a phone call and ask if they could make an introduction for you. That’s it!” 3 Ask, don’t tell. This is your opportunity to really get to know your prospect, their wants and needs. It is NOT the time for you to do a sales pitch. Create a list of questions to ask your prospect. By asking and listening, you will gather knowledge that will help you qualify your prospect so that you aren’t wasting their time or yours. Still interested? Offer to provide them with a demonstration or a quote. 4 Make good on your promise and deliver more. Of course you are going to deliver what you agreed to do for your client—the difference between a successful sales strategy and everything else is “Deliver More”. That doesn’t mean discounting or free goods, it means being the ‘go to person’ for them. Provide your client with additional information or resources. Connect them with other industry specific contacts that you have. By building a relationship with them, they will be more likely to stay with you and use you for other needs. 5 Keep. Stop. Start. Sports teams look back at each game and figure out what worked, what didn’t and what needs to change. At the end of each week or depending on your sales cycle you might choose once a month, take a look back at the previous week/month. Ask yourself these questions: What worked? (Keep) What didn’t work? (Stop) Did I achieve my goals and if not, what do I need to do differently? (Start) Asking these questions on a regular basis will give you the opportunity to adjust your sales process by celebrating what worked, getting rid of what didn’t, and initiating changes to improve. Then apply your new found knowledge to prepare for the coming week/month and start the process once again. And again. And again. As with cycling, the more you implement these five steps, the stronger you become, your confidence increases and the easier it is to keep your momentum. So what are you waiting for? Go for a ride!