Here are four strategies that you can implement immediately to give your company a jolt in sales over the next 100 days.
Build a Competitive Awareness Committee. You should regularly set up a committee to research your competition. They should evaluate and rank competitors and competitive alternatives based on which costs your firm the most business. For the highest-ranking competitors, have your committee build positioning worksheets for each competitor. This will include input from your customers and prospects about what they see to be the advantages, equalities and weaknesses of BOTH you and your competitor, and how your customers/prospects specifically compare one against the other. Have your committee build out repositioning points around each of your perceived weaknesses. For example, “Our prices are higher than competitor x and yet the overall annual cost of doing business with us versus them is proven to be 50 percent less by our customers who formerly used competitor x as a supplier, and here are a half dozen references that will testify to that fact…”
Foster Competitive Modeling. Every industry has its leaders. Who are yours? Rank those who have ANY type of advantage from which you might learn, duplicate or out innovate. I have had clients who made it a regular practice to meet with at least a few competitors every quarter. They were careful never to divulge critical information but invariably they would glean great insights from nearly every visit.
One client ended up building the largest company in his region because he was able to recruit and consistently attracted the best talent from competitors because as the best sales reps from the competition would put it; “I consider Kevin a trusted friend and one of the best in our industry.”
Another client of mine would ask his competitors what the best business books were that they had recently read. Eventually after asking if the book was really that good and applicable, the competitor would usually share what specific ideas they had gleaned from it. This client of mine was never leapfrogged by any business strategies in his competitive market and as he and those he met with saw it, they were only discussing ideas in public domain not confidential information, yet these types of ideas like all the ideas in this book are the stuff of advantage and growth.
Scale Your Own Best Practices. Every team has its top performers as does yours, but do you require your top performers to systematically share their secret sauce? I don’t believe sales training works. People from outside your industry coming in to tell your people how to sell, give me a break. But I have experienced firsthand, consistent success around interviewing the top performers of a sales team and sharing those ideas.
At many national sales conferences, I will publically interview the top sales performers around their best practices. I know in advance through preparation, which best practices are being followed and which are not, and usually the gap is quite wide. Setting up a process around which your top performers are consistently sharing their strategies and tactics for success can become the most effective learning process you’ll ever experience inside of your company. Some best practices can be easily scaled and managed and even continuously improved.
Use Team Calls for Growth. Again, instead of having outsiders training your reps, consider one-on-one pairing throughout your team to have reps occasionally ride together to walk through a well outlined call evaluation exercise after every call.
Discuss the above with a growth committee and put dates to each strategy and see how much you can grow sales in the next 100 days!
This column is an excerpt from Mark Faust’s new book, “Growth or Bust: Proven Turnaround Strategies to Grow Your Business.” Bulk discounts available direct from Barnes & Noble at 513-791-5158.