I talk to a lot of CEOs and it's interesting but sad to see entrepreneurs in denial. You know the ones who say, "Nah, I do not need any help in the sales department". This is after a 20 minute conversation about how bad business is. Look, I am an expert in this area. I have run a business for the last 13 years and 12 of those years I sucked at sales. I can relate, trust me!
I can also relate with money being tight and thinking that times are too slow to afford hiring a sales professional. Back in late 2010 I hired a sales professional. It cost $1000 just to get an evaluation before I got any training, wow that is pretty salty. That's what I thought at the time. But as 2011 comes to a close I see the amount invested in sales development, although costly, was worth every penny. I have been able to triple my business in one year. Yes this is easy to do when things are slow, but at this rate I am landing business that will allow us to scale the business and grow. This should easily allow me to double business next year.
So is it worth investing in sales? Only if you are going to do the work. I talked to a CEO today who told me business was down, times were tough in the worst city being hit by the recession and that he could not afford to invest in marketing or sales help. If business is slow, I'll tell you why, you can't sell! I know, because I've been there.
As a matter of fact, I am not a sales master yet, but heading down the right path and getting better every day. One thing I know is that you must take responsibility for your position. If times are tough, it is your fault, not the economy. A great sales person can close deals anytime- good or bad economy.
Let me give you an example: I had things humming right along this year. I made the mistake though of servicing my customers, marketing my own firm and running the business. These are the easy things for me to do. The problem is, several clients left at one time. Within a 2 month period we had a handful of clients put things on hold, quit or get fired. This is fine if your clients aren't a big percentage of your business. Sadly, 2 of them were a good percentage of the business. So we took a big hit for 2-3 months to regroup and get back on track. Who's fault was this? Just mine because I wasn't making sales calls or emails everyday. I wasn't keeping my pipeline full.
So now I learned my lesson, I'm calling, emailing or meeting with people everyday. Prospecting is a huge part of a successful sales campaign. If you want to grow, you need to learn these habits and practice them everyday. The point here is this. If business is down, then you suck at sales. The sooner you except this and do something about it, the sooner the business will be booming! How many calls have you made today? Yesterday or this week?
Set a goal and do it. My goal is 100 calls a week. Last week I reached 37-40, this week I'm at 45-50. If I continue at this rate I should have 4 new clients by months end. What are your sales goals? What are you doing to do to reach them? Hopefully not complain about your location or the economy.
Get calling! Apply some new tips, Or hire a professional to help!