Fact, the success of your business depends heavily on your ability to sell.
To help entrepreneurs understand and maximise their sales function we invited Karabo Songo, Group CEO of Brave Group as well as Thabo Kobokoane and Grace Otieno from Black Maven Consulting to share their expertise at our July Entrepreneurship To The Point networking session.
Songo says that every small business should develop its personal story, culture and community so that clients, staff and suppliers feel as if they belong to a single mission.
“Entrepreneurs must be brave and bold when defining their value proposition,” Songo believes. “Who owns your story better than you? You are the best advocate for telling people who you are and who your company is. Here you are, this person asking to take from your clients their hard-earned money and yet you don’t have a great story to tell.”
Songo says that in his experience as a marketer, there are simply too many businesses seeking to captivate customers, but because they don’t have a defined story, they simply don’t stand out.
Entrepreneurs, advises Songo, must define their value proposition in the simplest terms by answering the following questions. “What are you doing for the world? How are you solving the ills of society? How are you changing the industry? How are you giving a better product experience? What are you trying to leverage to take things to the next level?”
“So, if you begin to think about your business and your brand in this way, you will realise why some businesses are remembered. Think of local brands that have gone global and the ones who have not, and you will find the successful ones had a story. They will tell you how they climbed mountains, fought lions and tigers to make it and people bought into that.”
Once an entrepreneur has defined their story, they have laid the foundation for an effective marketing strategy, says Songo.
Khobokoane and Otieno believe that a successful sales programme depends on planning and discipline to implement that plan. The Black Maven sales model is based on four phases:
- Step 1: Strategy on paper: Develop a strategy that takes a long-term view of where you want to be; define your target customer and identify you value proposition, and decide what success means for you.
- Step 2: Develop a sales plan: Your sales plan will underpin your strategy. Determine what sales tactics you will use to reach your customers. Channels used to reach customers include social media marketing, cold calling, traditional advertising, your sales plan will help you decide which one will serve you best.
- Step 3: Sales management process: This step is about what needs to be done on a day to day basis to implement your sales plan. You have to develop a structured way of moving target audiences from potential buyers, to taking action for your product or service. Understand that for every 10 conversations you have you might generate one client. This step takes patience and persistence to gain results.
- Step 4: Tracking performance: Entrepreneurs must keep track of their plans and the outcomes. Remember that at each step you are gathering data, and it’s important to take note of these actions so that you can learn from them and improve your chances of success. How many phone calls have you made; how many meetings have you set up; how many rejections have you had; what were the reasons for the rejections; these metrics will prove invaluable in the sales process.
10 Steps to Better Sales by Karabo Songo
- Tell a compelling story: Give customers a reason to identify and believe in your product or service.
- Develop innovative products: The digital revolution is now no longer a trend or innovation or something that’s going to change the future. It is the new norm.
- Make sales planning a part of your DNA: Most successful businesses have an aggressive sales planning culture. Its 70% research, planning, deliberating, qualifying and 30% execution and post sales strategy.
- Don’t neglect the post sales experience: Once the sale is successful the real sale starts. Most experience of being onboarded as a client are bad and great companies make it an unforgettable experience.
- Prioritise client relations: The people who work with the client are just as important as the team that sells. I could argue more important for purely retention purposes.
- Strive for shared value: Good value in the deal must be for both parties or else it is unsustainable. In most cases bad deals such as overcharging customers costs the business more in reputational damage.
- Communicate value consistently: Make sure you are extremely clear about the value you are adding at all phases for the client engagement. It makes retention discussions easier.
- Focus on your product not on your person: The aim is to make the service/product the hero and not the individual. One can only scale something that can be transferred and reproduced. On your own, you are simply not a good sales plan.
- Build Real Relationships: Authentic relationships take time to develop so put in the effort. My personal goal has been to stick with winners in my generation and grow together.
- Appreciate the Experience: In any sales process you are either collecting clients or collecting feedback. Look for the free quality consulting and don’t take it personally.