The Kentucky market place for business owners is dynamic and difficult. There are over 340,000 small businesses operating in the Common Wealth today. That’s more than at any other point in our history. During the last 15 years, an additional 72,000 companies have opened, making the already difficult challenge of landing more clients, bringing in new sales and growing a business even harder. The reality is … it’s getting tougher out there, not easier.
During the five years leading up to 2014, more than forty-thousand (40,000) Kentucky companies went out of business. Often, owners doom themselves by believing they can just wait out a downturn. With more competition than ever, waiting it out means competitors get the time they need to get even more of an advantage over you.
To stay ahead of your competition and thrive, you have to sell more consistently, not just have a good month here and there. The secret to getting consistent sales is to have a consistent approach. Without a repeatable plan, you wing it and reinvent the wheel every day, which leads to falling further behind your competition, under-performing your capabilities, and ultimately withering away.
I’ve written a report, entitled The 3 Costly Sales Mistakes that Hold You Back and How to Fix them Once and For All. In it, I discuss the mistakes that I’ve seen owners and salespeople repeat that keep them from getting consistent, repeatable sales results. I’ll share briefly what those mistakes are, hopefully, you’re not committing them.
The mentality that anyone and everyone is a viable target, once was a foundational part of selling. Today, with the accelerated pace of business, increased demands on our time and the elevated results expectations we all shoulder, people have little interest in a general sales offer. Therefore, focus in on a target. Learn exactly what they struggle with and how you can help them. And then organize your sales effort around them. If you will go small with your focus, you will win big with your sales.
Being a “me too” provider is the second big mistake. Without the ability to stand out from your competitors, it will be hard to thrive. Words matter, so choose well how you introduce your company and service. Talking in terms of you and your company is obvious and simple, but it’s not the most effective way to attract new opportunities. Most people are inwardly focused, so it’s best to talk in terms of what your offering means to them. Think for a moment, in the beginning, does your prospect really care more about how long you’ve been in business over what you can do for them? It’s about them, not you. Stand out by introducing what your offer does for them. Avoid talking about you or your company out of the gate.
Lastly, guard against getting so excited about a deal that you take leave of your senses and commit to providing additional information, conducting a presentation and/or a follow-up meeting with someone that you have not qualified fully or at all. Bloated pipelines can make you feel good, but they are a trap! Big pipelines don’t mean big sales are just around the corner. Slow down and protect you from you. Follow a strict process that includes understanding exactly why they qualify for your pipeline. Get clarity on next steps and why they will happen. If you aren’t able to get that information at first, re-qualify them. After that, if you still don’t have vision and understanding it’s time to move on. Otherwise, you will waste your valuable selling time chasing long shots instead of ringing the cash register.