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Marketing a New Business – Selling & Distributing Products/Services

Our last article looked at marketing and promoting a new business. Once you have your name out there in the marketplace and you have found a marketing strategy that works, you need to focus on producing sales.

There are many different strategies that can be deployed in order to increase sales and profits but it depends entirely on your organisation, products or services. Are you selling services directly to the end user or do you plan to supply your products wholesale? You will have to develop a sales cycle that works for you.

What is a sales cycle?

A sales cycle is the approach that is taken when selling a product or service. The cycle runs from finding clients to closing the sale and delivering the goods. A well-established sales cycle has to be put in place in order to minimise risk for both the vendor and the buyer.

There are many complicated sales patterns that are extremely confusing because of the jargon used. Simplified a sales cycle generally follows the following pattern:
1. Prospecting
2. Direct approach
3. Identifying a need
4. Presentation
5. Overcoming objections
6. Closing the sale
7. Customer service to encourage repeat sales and referrals

For a successful sales cycle to be achieved and fulfil its potential you need to analyse your steps and correct any areas that appear to be problematic. It is important that management establishes key targets for each phase of the sales cycle to ensure that these are met.

Are you having problems with prospecting potential customers? Do you struggle to close a sale? Is your customer service up to scratch? You need to identify the strengths and weaknesses of your staff members at each stage of the process so that you have chance to develop optimal sales phase metrics and analytics.

One of the keys to success in the sales world is the ability to identify and nurture a prospect. How many of your sales reps are able to identify prospects accurately? The ability to identify a hot prospect will mean you are able to pre-empt any objections and have a strategy in place to overcome them. An accelerated process for resolving objections will speed up the sales cycle thus increasing your turnover.

Objections really separate the “men from the boys.” Do your telesales executives stumble at the first hurdle? If your sales people cannot differentiate between an interested party and a timewaster then you need to act on this and provide specialist sales training. If you make a call and someone says “I’m a bit busy right now, can you phone me back in two weeks and we’ll talk then?” it is most likely a smoke screen objection and they will never answer your call again – some may log this as a warm lead because they are unaware that they have just been fobbed off.

Improving your qualifying process by overcoming smokescreen objections will enable you to weed out the customers that have a genuine interest in using your services. A natural salesman will have the ability to override objections and identify opportunities thus turning the objections into valuable opportunities!

The number one goal for any salesperson, however, is closing a sale but this will not happen until a need has been established and a customer’s objections have been resolved – all part of the sales cycle!

Unfortunately, and it happens more often that you think, a sales person will fail to gain a commitment even when a prospect has shown all the right buying signals. Can your sales reps identify open signals on the phone and close their prospects? Sometimes it is better to better to leave the sales to the pros and outsource. Seriously, you get an entire team of hardened sales people for a fraction of the cost of housing your sales internally. Those guys can ride over objections like they are surfing the crest of a wave and close a deal using tactics they have honed to perfection after years of weeding out promising prospects.

If you do have doubts about the effectiveness of your sales cycle you should consult with an outsource provider even if it is for the purposes of comparison – you can compare the performance of your existing team with the performance of the pro’s. Cost wise, outsourcing is a no brainer.

Bearing in mind the last point in the sales cycle, customer services, if your existing sales team is better at the after care and repeat sales element you should maybe consider employing the services of a specialist trainer or outsource your new business sales.

Customer retention is as important as getting the new business in – not only will you get repeat orders, you may also get recommendations.

Remember – stick to the cycle and make sure it works for you!