Ramping up your Sales Planning - the Importance of a Softly, Softly Approach to Restarting your Business
A guest blog by Julie Futcher, The Sales Manager - sales training and consultancy experts.
If you’ve been following The Sales Manager for a while now, you’ll know that I spend a lot of time talking about planning and the importance of having a sales plan in place for your business. Now, regardless of your predictions, I can’t imagine your stats look much like those in your 2020 plans right now. Some industries have gone incredibly quiet while others have found themselves with higher than ever demand.
It can be tempting to throw your original plan out the window and just go with the flow for the rest of the year.
Please don’t do that!
It’s more important than ever, when things are looking a little hairy, to get some goals and plans in place. And now is the perfect time to do this.
Goal setting doesn’t have to be scary. Start by really looking at where you’re at now and how your revenue has fluctuated over the last quarter, year and couple of years. What kind of growth do you typically achieve? Then take into consideration how your industry is faring under the current restrictions and how likely it is that you’ll be able to match previous levels of growth. Once you’ve got a sense of this, start laying down some targets. When you’re setting goals, always remember SMART:
- Specific - be as specific as you can with your targets
- Measurable - how will you know when you’ve hit your target?
- Achievable - don’t set yourself up for failure, set goals you’re able to achieve
- Realistic - remember things are not normal right now, be realistic with your figures
- Time-bound - when do you plan to hit certain goals?
Get to Know Your Numbers
Do you know exactly what you need to earn to cover your costs?
Do you know which of your products or services has the highest mark-up?
Do you know which products or services sell best in bulk or on repeat and which tend to be one-off purchases?
These are the kinds of questions you need to answer before setting goals and laying down your sales strategy. If you know your baseline figures and you know how many of a certain product or service you need to sell in order to reach them, you’re vastly better equipped to set yourself goals that are genuinely attainable.
Ok, so I’ve set my goals, but how do I go about starting to sell again?
Softly Does It
It’s important right now not to dive in with a really hard sales approach. People are still vulnerable, and our reputations still hang pretty lightly. How you treat people as things begin to ramp back up is going to make a huge difference to where your business is in 6 months or a years time. You want to take a soft sales approach which looks something like this:
- “Hi [Client Name], how are things for you?”
- “Is there anything I can do to help you right now?”
- “Ok, it looks like our current contract isn’t quite working, here’s what I can do to improve that”
- “It’s good to catch up, I’ll give you a call back in [x amount of time] to see how things are going”
Start by contacting your current clients. These are people you need to keep happy and on side. They’re also people who already have a relationship with you, and who trust you with their business. If you are able to pull in a few pounds right away, this is the most likely source. After you’ve spoken to your current customers consider reaching out with the same soft approach to businesses you have quotes out with or with whom you’ve recently discussed a product or service.
Only then, do you want to scale up to approach new prospects or cold leads. These are likely to be harder to win right now. However, you’re sowing the seeds for your future revenue and, if you treat people well now, they’ll remember.
Don’t Forget Your Marketing
Remember the power of marketing. Continue to feed information and support to your audiences through your website, social media channels and email lists. Marketing like this works because it reinforces trust and reminds prospects that you’re there. When they’re ready to buy, they’ll know where to find you!
Having a solid strategy and plan for the coming months will make a huge difference to your mindset, your day-to-day decision making and your long-term revenue.
Julie Futcher has nearly 25 years' experience within a sales role, both in business to business and also business to consumer. During her career she has successfully trained many individuals to sell by developing their own style but using tried and tested sales techniques. She understands how daunting it can be to have to pick up the telephone or meet with clients/customers face to face with the view of interesting them in the product or service that is being offered. Julie established The Sales Manager to support and train business owners to increase their revenue.
If you’d like to know more or find out about our training and consultancy services, head to thesales-manager.co.uk.