Why business owners need to get serious about sales

No one just buys stuff. You need a concrete sales model based on what the product does, what its advantages are and the values it brings to the marketplace

My first sales experience was in high school, selling chocolate bars door to door as a fundraiser for a school club.

Not much interested in the club but interested in the prizes for top sellers, I hit the pavement. Each day after school, I knocked on doors and sold chocolates to starving mothers and their teenage kids.

Succeeding took determination, persistence, the lure of prizes, and competition between myself and two others (we outsold the rest of the school combined). I won a big prize for top sales.

 I realized recently that I’ve spent my life in sales of one form or another. Whether it was advertising, inventions like the Winetux, books, recreational services, houses, investments, vitamins, gifts, cleaner air and water, or coaching services, it’s been sales.

I’ve never had any formal sales training but I wish I did. Proper training in sales can go a long way to ensuring your business is successful. Sales training can ensure you know how to deal with customers, and their questions and objections. Pick up any sales book or take any sales course and you’ll almost immediately reap the benefits in increased sales and happier customers. Sales are a science, not an art.

According to my friend Dennis Bonagura, whom I consider the king of sales, the key to building huge sales in a short period is having a great sales model that uncovers the customer’s needs. If you don’t understand their needs, how can you offer them a solution?

Sales techniques can be learned, but many businesses fail because they haven’t mastered the sales model and fulfilled their customers’ needs. According to Dennis, a major reason businesses get into trouble is that owners think they’ve built the best mouse trap and that like the movie Field of Dreams, customers are just going to flock to them.

That’s not reality. No one just buys stuff. You need a concrete sales model based on what the product does, its advantages and the values it brings to the marketplace.

I often work with owners who were successful with great sales techniques, but now seem stuck or slipping backwards. One key way to turn your business around is to think of all the things that brought you to the level of success you have today. What sales model got your business to this point? Has that changed? Or has the business environment changed so that sales technique is no longer effective?

Chances are you just forgot your reasons for success. Once you start focusing on those key ingredients, you’ll be effective.

There are two types of sales staff: those who know they’re in sales and love the process, and those who are in sales but don’t want to think they are.

The second type is usually in a service-based industry – perhaps retail, hospitality or food service. Because of the perception some people have of sales reps, these staff might not want to be associated with sales.

But every one of your staff needs to understand that they’re in sales, just as you are if you’re the owner of any business. Every business needs to sell something to stay in business. This is the business model you need to sell and to profit.

If you have customers banging your door down, you might forget the need to develop the selling skills necessary to ensure your long-term success.

If you’re fortunate enough to have a great location, unique product, or a commodity that’s always in demand, you might get a certain amount of sales just by being lucky.

However, developing a proper sales system for your staff will ensure your long-term profitability and increase the value of your business. And by training staff in sales and customer service, you’ll have happier and more loyal customers, and prevent the loss of revenue to your competitors.

Training in sales leads to more profits. Find a good sales training company and start moving some product. It’s good for your staff and great for your bottom line.

Troy Media columnist David Fuller, MBA, is a certified professional business coach and author who helps business leaders ensure that their companies are successful. David is author of the book Profit Yourself Healthy.

The views, opinions and positions expressed by columnists and contributors are the author’s alone. They do not inherently or expressly reflect the views, opinions and/or positions of our publication.

3 Responses to "Why business owners need to get serious about sales"

  1. Avatar
    Sir Victor Green KGCStG   July 16, 2017 at 1:53 pm

    I am very fortunate to have had the very best sales training in my career, but I am aware that many don’t. The profession still isn’t held in much regard in many industries. The classic story of the 2 directors talking about Fred, the production manager who has had a nasty accident and cannot perform his normal duties springs to mind. “Make him the sales manager until he recovers” was the suggestion.
    In my industry of financial services, nearly all of the training is targeted towards helping an individual pass his or her licensing exam, when they become licensed, many of them can’t even pick up a phone and make an appointment, they can’t prospect, close or answer common objections. It is a ghastly waste, and these are peoples lives that are being played with. This is the reason I set up my website http://www.chevalierofsales.com which contains a video library, designed to give the intrepid sales person a fighting chance of survival.

  2. Avatar
    Deborah Wasylko   July 16, 2017 at 5:14 pm

    David, You bring up several good points in your article. However, sales is more than a science. It is very much an ART! Top performers in sales understand the “nuance” of working with different personalities, picking up queues, letting your prospects actually do the closing, engaging/staying top of mind in creative ways.
    I was a process/quality engineer for FDA regulated devices who turned entrepreneur starting a corporate gift company where we offer touch gifts (NOT promo items that are typically perceived as marketing) to appreciate, engage with prospects/clients. This is an example of a creative way to stay top of mind and build relationships.
    A balanced approach of art + science is what is needed in 2017; among other things in the sales process.

  3. Avatar
    Will   July 17, 2017 at 6:18 pm

    Unfortunately, most companies approach sales training as a data dump of product knowledge and basic selling skills, which is just a portion of what successful salespeople need to master. Skill AND will need to be actively addressed. Do your people believe in the organization and the products they’re selling? Do they believe in their own capabilities?
    You have to impact the attitudes, beliefs and values so that salespeople embrace WHY they sell and feel comfortable and confident in what they’re doing. Research shows that sales leaders believe that motivation drive, attitudes and beliefs are as important- if not more so- than product knowledge and selling skills in their salespeople succeeding. Yet only about one quarter of the same sales leaders say their company is effective at training their salespeople in this way. A huge gap- and a significant missed opportunity.

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