Many business owners during our initial meeting announce that they cannot not sell and know absolutely nothing about marketing but rather than being embarrassed seem to be actually quite proud of this lack of business skills.
They think of themselves as the brains behind the business leaving sales to others or simply depend on prospects finding them to finance their efforts. They are often so tied up with worrying about the delivery of their products and services they ignore the most important fact – all companies need to sell successfully in order to survive.
So what do they do? They hide away concentrating on what is happening back at base and let others worry about sales. And although I believe that the art of running a successful business is about hiring the right personnel, there are a lot of issues with this scenario but for today’s blog I want to point out just two.
- Sales is based on developing a true understanding of what a product and/or service offers to a prospective customer. If a business owner is not out talking to prospects and customers how can they understand what value their offering has? And more importantly allow them to make the right decision on what direction they should take the company to achieve the desired growth. There is no better way of researching the market than trying to sell, listening to why someone would or would not buy, what they find compelling or what concerns them. Feedback from a sales team will only give a glimpse of the state of the market and where a product and service fits in and in some cases this feedback is ignored by management who only want to hear what matches with their own beliefs. And if there is no sales team and the business is relying on people buying off their own back the same rules apply. Online retailers for example by the very nature of the sales method distance themselves from their potential customer base never really knowing why people choose to purchase or not. This can be dangerous, one minute sales might be healthy the next not so and then panic sets in without really knowing what went wrong.
- Managing a sales team of whatever size can be a challenge if a business owner does not understand what is involved. Just looking at sales figures and either celebrating or panicking does not give enough information to make informed business decisions and help the sales team achieve. If a business owner puts themselves in a sales person’s shoes they will soon understand what works and what doesn’t and this will give them the information they need to improve sales. Changes in products and services, pricing, marketing materials or investing in the sales team with training. Many areas might need to be looked at but without knowledge the wrong decision could easily be made.
If a business owner really believes that sales is not an area they want to embrace I would recommend that it is time to give it a go and if needs be get some training so it is not the scary prospect that non sales people believe it is. Nobody can sell a product and service better than the person who passionately believes one hundred percent in what they have on offer. They might never be sales person of the year but it will help them make the right choices on what they should sell, at what price through what method. This will also help direct marketing initiatives, product development and the position of the company in the market.
But if you believe that whatever I suggest sales will never be for you then make sure you have the right help in place. When I work with business owners that simply cannot get out there and embrace sales I make sure that I open their eyes as to why they are doing well or not so well and then help them make informed decisions as to what would be best for the success of their company with my company delivering on those decisions.