Despite Sunday’s snow here in Halifax (which I have to admit I thoroughly enjoyed – it’s the Timmins, Ontario in me) Spring is here. We have officially ended the first quarter of our business year and I have to ask “How were your sales? And what are your predictions for this quarter?”
I know these feel like “personal” questions, but they’re not – they’re factual, logical questions we all need to be asking, whether we are the owner of our business, or a member of the sales team.
I’ve been inspired to ask them this week because of three television business shows – Dragon’s Den, Shark Tank and, new this season, The Big Decision. If you are an entrepreneur – or thinking about being an entrepreneur – these shows offer amazing insights into what it takes to be successful. And if you are part of a sales team, these shows will boost your morale, solidify for you the importance of your role in the life and success of any company.
In Dragon’s Den and Shark Tank the panel of investors always asks the question “What are your sales?” And they know right away, usually through evasive words and body language, when sales results are minimal – or even non-existent.
Why is that?
One of the main reasons given is a variation of “I can’t/don’t know how to sell”. When these words are uttered the investors, in the majority of cases, lose interest.
If you are passionate about something, if you believe in something, if you have identified your target market and understand the value of your product or service to that market … you can sell.
Admittedly, you may need some help with the skill set of selling but that’s the point – it’s a skill set. It can be taught. It can be learned.
The other main reason is fear, which I’ve talked about often in this blog – the fear of rejection that creeps up on us and makes us incapable of promoting ourselves.
If you visualize fear as a person, having a televised debate with success (however you define it) who should win? The answer’s pretty obvious isn’t it? Or put another way, do you want to close your business or lose your job because you were afraid? I don’t think so.
I think the majority of us want to do our best. If we don’t succeed, there isn’t anything to carry forward to our next project other than lessons learned. If fear wins the debate then we carry forward guilt, damaged self-esteem and definitely more fear. Unconquered fear breeds more fear.
If fear is getting in your way, you can find help for that too. There are a myriad of coaches and courses and workshops that can help you move through it and start generating revenue with confidence.
Sales also falter when those with the skill set, and even proven results, get distracted by other business concerns. The importance of this lesson is made crystal clear in CBC’s show The Big Decision. (You can learn about it and watch episodes here: http://www.cbc.ca/thebigdecision/)
Both Jim Treliving and Arlene Dickinson consider investing in companies that once had strong sales but are now facing closure. The reason – the primary salespeople have allowed their time and energy to be swallowed up by management tasks.
This can happen to anyone, from a solopreneur to a salesperson in a large multinational. There is always more paperwork, more correspondence, more meetings, more project planning than can ever fit in any business person’s life, so it is important to remember that …
there is no company without sales!
Keep potential new customers at the top of every “to do” list. Whether you are approaching them by phone or email, or direct your efforts to in-person networking, don’t let a day go by without connecting with at least one new potential customer.
Your company is depending on you for its next successful quarter – and a prosperous future!
One last thought:
“Wisdom is knowing what to do; virtue is doing it.”
— David Jordan, scientist
Enjoy your phonework everyone! TPL