Think Your Sales Are the Problem? Think Again

October 24, 2014

Written by Debbie Mrazek

If you are struggling to increase sales revenue, you may think the answer is just to get more sales. Or maybe the answer is to sell more. However, as a sales consultant and coach, I can tell you that isn’t always the answer.

Sometimes when sales are the focus of declining profits, it’s helpful to work with a sales consultant with business knowledge and understanding. With both sales expertise and business know-how, we can identify when the problem really is sales — and when it isn’t.

Let me share with you a story about a client. Recently, we sat down and looked at his business. It was going well, but not great. It seemed like every time he would turn the sales corner, something would push him back. It didn’t take long to see that it wasn’t his sales efforts that were impeding his success. It was his team’s inability to deliver his company’s services. He had some employees who were very nice people, but who were just not cut out for providing his service. When we fixed that part of his business, we could more readily focus on the business of his sales. His company has grown more than 30 percent in the last year. Needless to say, he’s ecstatic.

So how do you know when you’ve got a legitimate sales problem and when your problem might be somewhere else?

There are some tell-tell signs to look for:

  • Actual sales figures are up, but profits aren’t
  • Referrals are drying up
  • Clients don’t return from one year to the next
  • New clients come but they don’t stay
  • The amount of sales is decreasing

Any or all of these can indicate that something is amiss somewhere else in the customer delivery system. Like it or not, if you are in sales, you are also in the business of customer service. After all, if your customer doesn’t come back because they aren’t happy with someone else in the company, it’s not that someone else who pays — it’s you who pays.

One way you can keep a pulse on customer satisfaction is to build into your sales system a ‘check up’ with new customers. You might check with the new customer at 30 days and again at 120 days. Don’t let too much time pass between you and your hard-earned customer. It’s you they trust so be sure to cultivate that relationship.

Entrepreneurs who wear both a sales hat and customer service hat will appreciate that there’s more than signing contracts, the signed contract is when the real work begins of keeping that client for life!

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