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Starting a Sales Strategy: step 3

The anatomy of a sale – who, how, where

This is the third part of my series covering a few of the basics of developing a sales growth strategy. I’ve talked about what you’re selling and who you’re selling to. But this piece is all about you and how you’re going to sell.

This is all based around what I consider to be the four fundamental pillars of good sales growth:

  1. What are you selling?
  2. Who are you selling to?
  3. How are you going to sell the product?
  4. How do you create Fame for you, your business or your product

People are the most important part of any sales process. Getting and giving people clear action plans with realistic expectations is a must. If you don’t, everyone expects someone else to do the work. What I call the Mystery Department is suddenly expected to pick up all the work.

Calling on the Mystery Department

What is this, I hear you cry? Well every business has one. It’s the department that does all the work and actions from the strategy meeting. It exists behind an invisible door, down some forgotten corridor – perhaps it’s next to the cleaners’ cupboard. Here is where you’ll find all the doers with the initiative to handle those actions you’ve agreed to without assigning. When everyone in the meeting nods along, it’s the Mystery Dept. that will be in charge of the new business work.

Of course, when the next new business meeting comes along and you discuss how the strategy is working, you’ll find that the mystery department isn’t actually pulling their imaginary weight. Nothing has been done. Because (and this may surprise you) it turns out the Mystery Dept. is actually you. For an achievable plan, you need actionable steps – and that means names against tasks.

How you are going to deliver your plan? All my sessions include work on developing a two-page mini business plan and also an excel work sheet with action plans. It has to act as your aide memoire, when you hit the wall (which you will), it’s there to put you back on track.

#Helpful note 3: The telephone, and other vital tools

When I worked at the Guardian we had card boxes. We all filled in the notes part and put as much detail as we could about the person at any given company we either worked with or wanted to work with. They could be simple notes about the person – did they like cricket, did they have kids, etc, – to full notes on what kind of response they expected from their advertising. It was easy to fill a card because we would speak to them. You know, actually phone them!

This is where most people shrink back into their chair. Phoning? No chance. I’m not doing that! It is often the biggest stumbling block with sales strategies as people don’t want to call anyone any more. It puts the fear of god into most management teams. And, as vital as it is, it’s not the only thing. We have lots more ways we can contact and raise our Fame levels with people. It is about having a good plan and only giving the phone calling to people who want to do it (they might even be external!)

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