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Posts tagged “SMEs”

Do you recognise this pattern as a small to medium sized enterprise? You start a business with a great idea and a lot of passion and excitement. You package your idea into a product or service, create a proposition and join a networking group like BNI, 4N or a Chamber of Commerce. You get a trickle of leads, and over time, the referrals grow. You have established a business that, whilst not earth shattering, keeps the wolf from the door and has bags of potential. You have many ideas about how to grow it moving forward. 
Recently, during my sales courses, I find myself answer more and more of the delegates questions with the same answer. Regardless of what area of sales is being discussed the response that keeps occurring to me is; “It’s to do with how you turn up” 
It is rare in these times to meet consistently exceptional sales people. According to statistics recently presented in Sales and Marketing Management magazine, 80% of successful sales are credited to only 20% of the entire sales team. This indicates a serious issue in the area of appointing the right people in the sales profession. 
Ignoring the extra 's', for many people, sales is a four-letter word. But it needn’t be. Sales has developed a reputation over the years that it simply doesn’t deserve. 
 
Due to dysfunctional sales techniques and misguided sales management, companies often underestimate what is required to establish a foundational base for consistent sales performance. As a result, mediocre sales performance has become accepted as the norm. 
During a recent field accompaniment program for a software development company, I met Brian, who invited me to join him on appointment with a medium sized company. This lead came through Brian’s company website and stated an urgent need to purchase his type of product offering. 
Recently, I asked a group of 20 SME business owners and sales professionals what I believe to be an important sales question: ‘What is the first question your customer is asking themselves when they meet you to discuss your product or service?’ 
Over 80% of the room thought the first question the buyer was silently asking was ‘Can they solve my problem?’ 
Having conducted hundreds of field accompaniment programs over the last three decades with sales professionals of all standards and numerous SME business owners, I feel strongly about the ‘sales conversation’ challenges that too often prevent positive outcomes for both parties. 
The Most Vital Business Function 
In business, nothing happens until someone sells something. You can make the best product in the world, and lots of them, but if someone doesn’t make a sale, the company is doomed. 
In order to make the sale, companies need to equip sales people with a broad range of skills and behaviours and the sales person needs to equip itself with the right mindset. 
Most SME’s I meet don’t have a sales strategy. They prefer to focus most of their time tinkering with their day-to-day operations and their approach to selling tends to be more random and scattergun. They admit that sales in on the critical path, but they have never taken the time to put a plan together or create a repeatable, standardized process that forms the foundation for consistent sales success. 
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