Tags – Drive Sales – How to Increase Sales Volume
There is something beautiful about fresh starts.
You get the time to be reflective and focus on smaller details within a bigger role. In addition, you get to express topics with a clearer offset.
From a business perspective, given that this blog is one of the first we are writing for Sorev, while talking of driving sales, we have the freedom to express with added clarity in terms of our own philosophy. To begin this journey of fresh starts, we look at sales as more of a psychological challenge, rather than a material one.
So, in this blog, we will cover the general perceptions around driving sales, before talking of building structures at organisational level that enhance your sales output.
Instead of going into the pop-culture versions of “The Psychology of Sales”, for instance Brian Tracy’s book entitled “The Psychology of Selling”, we are more concerned here about the science behind the topic.
This focus on ‘real’ science then eliminates the need to mention, now seen as cliches, the 80/20 rule, along with all the self-fulfilling mixes of it, and boosting the egos of sales people with empty fillers, e.g. salespeople are the most important in a business. In short, we are more interested in sharing knowledge that will help you focus on what makes your business successful.
Sadly, when you do a Google search on the topic, you get a bunch of results spinning “Psychology” for business gains, throwing in lucid claims. Therefore, we had to dig deep to find something useful, even though one of the main writers of this blog is on his way to getting a doctorate in Applied Psychology.
To begin, when we talk of sales, we imagine sales people.
However, being a salesperson is suitable for a specific kind of people.
To begin, most sales people are motivated by money. We are not saying that ‘sales people are motivated by money’ in a negative tone. Instead, even though many of us now see money as a necessity, rather than a motivation, if you see money as a motivation to work harder, chances are that you will do well in sales.
Secondly, sales people are excellent at listening to and absorbing information. You may see ‘good listening’ as a positive in itself, but it leads to bigger positives in terms of sales. For instance, if you are a good listener and absorb the information well, chances are that you ask the right questions at the right time, and are able to provide the right solutions. This provision of right solutions is what generally makes the sale. In addition, if you can back listening with speaking well, you have found yourself the right match for sales.
Thirdly, sales people tend to be givers. In general, this overarching behaviour of giving may come from a place of being a pleaser or just a downright feeling of wanting to help others. In both these cases, sales people tend to provide while creating an undertone of taking back. However, the good sales people do not expect the ‘getting back’, at least from the set go. They are willing to plant multiple seeds and wait for it to reap later.
However, above all this, if the product being sold or the organisation selling is weak, no amount of individualised sales input is going to help your case. Here are the 5 steps that we have used to create the necessary organisational structures that drives sales.
This may sound subjective and narrow, but, putting a scalable structure is the step number one for enhancing sales. (We will clarify the ‘narrow’ claim in the next section).
In fact, true personalisation only occurs when the structure is there. In most cases, plotting the last few edges of your product or service is what constitutes the personalisation, based on the specific customer needs, from one sale to another. This view of using personalisation as the final touches is different from the general perception.
In the general perception, personalisation is now seen as customisation, i.e. developing products as per the needs of specific clients. Even from a practicality perspective, unless you have a million dollar contract with a giant, this level of customisation doesn’t work in the real world. And, we have endless examples here.
For instance, Microsoft, even when working with CIA for a recent $10 billion contract, will not develop their products from complete scratch. We are not denying that Microsoft will personalise the products, based on the needs of the CIA, but there are logical limits to personalisation here.
There are more general examples too.
For instance, we have the example of McDonalds in the food sector. Apart from a few changes, on the basis of localised tastes, the overall service of McDonalds is standardised to the core. However, you are able to add or subtract ingredients from your order as you please, constituting the needed personalisation.
Now let’s clarify the ‘narrowness’ of the presented suggestion.
Like most things in life, when structuring your business, there is a major consideration for finding your balance.
This need for finding balance is paramount when talking of business structures. We are saying this because of the major human element in business.
In other words, over structuring in business is restricting in more than one way.
Apart from the killing of creativity of the workforce, over structuring leads to the confinement of roles. This means that the people working on each job in your business can become mere role fulfillers. Given the changing shape of market, this level of restriction is quite harmful.
When people are confined to a restricted role, you are not truly benefiting from individual and collective talents, let alone drive sales. On the other hand, your team can be your biggest asset when put in a structure that works.
A structure that works for a business has both the needed ingredients. A level of structuring that brings consistency, while allowing your team to be nimble and solve problems as they come along. When over-restricted, solutions become confined to a closed set of options, which doesn’t work in the real world where each problem can be quite different from the next.
If you want to expand your understanding of structures further, we suggest looking into the postmodern philosophy and critical management theories. All this discussion so far connects well with the next topic.
Our next suggestion is a bit more obvious.
Simply, there is no scaling business without a team of sorts.
However, how we look at team development can be modified, at least to a certain degree?
Hiring and staffing costs generally make up the biggest financial commitment from a business. Therefore, especially at the beginning of a business growth journey, even when there is a need for cutting down on tasks by an entrepreneur or business partners, the first thought is unlikely to be hiring a full time staff member. On the other hand, outsourcing is a more valid option for a growing business.
In current times, with the extending digital options, the extent of outsourcing is also on the rise. Specifically, it’s not just the accounting or legal help that gets outsourced, but the number of options are ever-increasing. Therefore, dependent on your business and industry, look around for what can be done better through outsourcing.
Then, when you are ready to hire full time employees, get into the act. We are including this suggestion because teams are a physical representation of your business and value. Based on the kind of business you are running, chances are that your potential sales targets will come across your team in one way or another. Therefore, make sure that your team makes the right impression.
But, keep the potential overcommitment issue, while hiring, in mind.
For successful entrepreneurs, especially in the beginning of the business journey, hiring people feels like an exciting time.
However, as we said before, hiring and staffing are also one of the most expensive parts of running a business. Therefore, hiring for the sake of hiring, especially when backed with mere ‘potential’ growth can be a business killer.
Keeping such situations in mind, you need to have contingency plans, even when you are expecting the best of times. One way to minimise your risks is to keep outsourcing until there is enough money in the bank. However, if you are looking to hire and build a team based on some good numbers, you need to have processes in place that minimise the impact of redundancies too.
Communication within the business team forms the backbone of continued growth and to drive sales.
In the present discussion, we are not painting communication as an abstract, managerial concept. Anyways, by this time, you should already have realised the importance of dialogue and information sharing within your business.
However, away from day to day communication, you also need the right structures in place. By structures for communication, we mean tech additions, mostly in software form.
You may be thinking at this point that you are already using emails, texts, or similar forms of communication. But, we want you to get organised and go a step further.
For instance, if you have been using emails or the more popular, Whatsapp, for communication, you are losing valuable information in text trails. Simply, put yourself in the shoes of someone who went on a holiday and came back a week later. Now imagine the length of those Whatsapp messages within a group.
Not only is information all mixed up under these circumstances, but there is little context to the whole discussion in the first place. In addition, humans have a tendency to value an ongoing action, rather than an action from the past. In particular, we are talking about actions that may have an impact on the future direction of an organisation, even though they began in the near past. At the end, you end up having team members who are not on the same wavelength, if not having missed out on information altogether.
What if you had the option to break down information, based on discussion topics. For instance, what if you can break down the communication by a certain client, or a specific product of yours, or one section of your service process? Now apply this great option to drive sales.
Wouldn’t this break down of information be more useful? If yes, you have multiple options to just do this.
For instance, Slack is amazing for simply breaking down discussions by topic. In addition, you also get the option to mark some topics as higher priority. For multiple users, each team member, based on the level of involvement in each discussion, can prioritise one folder over another. Further, you can also integrate other apps to Slack, for instance Google Drive. This makes added file sharing much easier.
On the other hand, Trello is great for dividing tasks among teams. Here, again, you are able to divide your discussions by topic and then add actions to each topic. From here on, each member in a team can have access to discussions and tick off tasks as they are completed, allowing you to track progress in real time.
In addition, Trello has also partnered with multiple other apps, now allowing tasks integration. For instance, we use Semrush for our SEO purposes and after analysis, we are able to move the required task to Trello and track their progress as we go through them.
Now, in tradition with the rest of the blog, let’s look at the potential negatives.
In terms of communication blunders, meetings for the sake of meetings is well documented.
Jokes like ‘companies that have nothing to do, do meetings’ are thrown around every day. Such jokes have more than a hint of truth. However, there is no way around the importance of organisational communication – meetings or no meetings.
If time wasting meetings are your concern, we have already provided you digital options to enhance your communication without the need for extra physical times together. However, the digital options have not reached a point where they can replace the physical, human touch.
That is why, it is important that you keep channels of communication wide and open, only bringing additions that improve the overall experience, rather than trying to replace one option with another.
We will not throw you any stats here.
However, it is well known in business circles that not many people are willing to buy on the spot.
To improve your chances of making that sale, you can sweet talk or work on personalised pitches. But, the rate of success is still going to remain on the lower end. This brings in the need for developing long term relationships.
In terms of building relationships, until recently, I would have suggested networking in one way or another. However, the landscape of networking, at least in the UK, has taken a nosedive. In particular, we have reached a point where people take out their cards before even saying hi, during networking events.
The added sad part is, you are well aware that everyone in a networking event is trying to make a sale. So, what ends up happening? Usually, there are no takers of services and you are all wasting your time. But, there are still ways around.
No matter what you do, don’t jump into networking with a 100 physical bodies.
The emphasis here is on ‘physical’ for a reason. If you are aiming to broadcast your message, there are better options now. In particular, we are talking of social networking platforms, for instance LinkedIn.
We are calling social networking platforms a better option because of the ever-improving algorithms.
Specifically, if you spend time in developing your tone and message, the algorithms will do the rest for you. This means that, at least initially, you will need to put extensive effort into reading the market and recognising your targets. However, once you are set, the system will take care of you.
Just keep in mind that you may have to give in bulks before receiving anything back. (Remember the characteristics of a salesperson?). But, you get the idea anyways.
However, this digital connection is not the end of it. You next challenge is to convert each of the meaningful digital connections into physical ones.
In other words, make your networking micro. Get to see people one on one. This will allow you to concentrate on bigger targets at the same time, while also getting enough time to pitch your services. To further your sales potential, broadcast each of these meetings on LinkedIn and you will have bigger wins on hand.
At the most basic level, even though there is nothing basic about it, algorithms can make or break your networking game.
Specifically, if you go down the rabbit hole of connecting with the wrong people, it takes considerable effort to get back out. In the worse case scenario, you may have to scrap it all and redo the process of connecting with the right people and getting them to commit physically.
Also, when tricks get involved in any platform, you may also meet quite a few time wasters. However, all of this is a part of the learning process and you will come out well at the other end.
Just keep in mind that once you have a healthy set of connections, the rest of the process can get on autopilot and sell itself. Work towards that state in your business.
Point 5 is our business focus for a reason.
All balances listed so far come together through a physical office.
You may think that your business, especially if you are service based and not interested in developing a team, does not require an office. But, believe us, you do need an office. (We started off thinking we do not require an office. At some point, it became a necessity. And now, our true success has come once we had an office).
This need of having an office comes from our attachments to physical materials. In business, this attachment stems out as a form of preferential treatment. In particular, major businesses will only take you seriously once you have something physical to show for it.
Whether you are building a scalable model, developing a team, harnessing useful communication or building a network, having a physical office extends to all these options and enhancing, at least, your outward value. In particular, your scalability requires a show of success; your team and the attached need for communication requires a place of it all coming together; and your digital to physical efforts require a place of seeing each other.
We are so sure of the need for physical offices that we will cover the negatives in one line.
Do not overcommit and only get an office when you can sustain it in the long term.
When we started writing this blog, the idea was to cover topics that can enhance your sales.
However, we soon realised that more than the topics themselves, it is more about finding a balance in each bit. This means that if you want to extend the topics that can enhance your sales, you can keep adding, as long as you keep the need for finding the balance in mind.
As a result, we are aware that, based on the specifics of your business, you may have other bits that should have a higher importance. So, as long as there is a clear hierarchy of importance in your mind, even if subjective, you are better off than starting blind.
To learn more, get in touch with us today.
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