Sales Manager: Making a Sales Business Plan - Get the Key Success Factor

Sales Manager: Making a Sales Business Plan - Get the Key Success Factor

I recently reviewed my sales business plan and assessed what strategies were bringing in the business sales and which ones were not. While in the middle of the assessment I happened per chance to stumble across a guy who redefined for me the term sales. To say the least it turned my thinking around and kicked me into high gear.  When I went back to my sales business plan I reoriented the strategies around this new key understanding.

We've all heard it said that when it comes to sales you should be in the seat of your customer and think in terms of their view rather than what you want to say.

We've all heard of the term "new sales" now, which is rather old, in fact about 15 years old now. New sales takes the sales out of selling and puts the understanding and helping into the sales process. So what we do now when we sell is come from the perspective of the customer and help them make a decision rather than sell directly to them.

So that's the sales process. What about this key then that turns your sales business plan into something live rather than something the sales agent ends up wearing out through the hard sell? How is it that this new perspective changes the way we look at business planning particularly the sales and marketing aspect of it? Most people don't even include a sales plan in their business strategies. In fact most business plans stop at marketing, thinking that sales is covered. Yet the number one reason small businesses struggle is "not enough business sales."

As a sales manager or businessperson, we need to consider carefully this aspect of our business plan and actually have a section dedicated to the sales business plan. To do that we must understand this key, get our head around this simple idea, and redefine what sales means. If you don't understand the term how can you use it, least of all master it or plan accurately for success without it?

Traditionally the word sales has meant:  the total dollar amount collected for goods or services provided; the exchange of goods or services for an amount of money or its equivalent; the act of selling.  In short, sales has meant money, exchange and hard sale. Small wonder sales agents have to work hard. With this concept it also makes it difficult for a sales manager to implement a successful sales business plan because the business owner - much less the sales manager - can't control any of those processes and guarantee business sales.

How can you plan for cash if you can't control the process? You can't coerce cash out of someone for too long without gaining a barracuda reputation. Exchange is hardly sales because you haven't made on the deal by much, as you've lost something that cost you money to gain something. Hopefully you made enough of a profit to cover your costs and grow. For many this is not the case. The act of selling has no control whatsoever and dependent on the good will of the person selling.

What if the sales manager were to understand sales from this new perspective: according to the man who opened my eyes, sales would be redefined as "choice plus yes."  If your customer doesn't say yes, you have no sale. Customers don't like being bullied into or being sold to, especially if it's something they don't want. Every customer wants choice. If you don't offer your customer choice, it's a monopoly, not a sale.

Nowhere is this more successfully demonstrated than with infomercials.  They are very clever in their offers. There are two options in any sales transaction. Either the choice between two products or add-ons for acting fast, or the choice between winning a good deal and losing out.

So I applied this newfound knowledge to my actual sales business plan and looked at the strategies I had in place. I changed one thing - the actual selling message itself. One thing from this new perspective, and my entire sales business plan came to life and a month later I can see the increase in business sales because of it.

So as you look at your sales plan or think of adding sales to your existing business plan, ask yourself, what choice are you giving your customers? Can you offer a choice between products, or successfully communicate win/lose as a choice? Is the pain of not having your product or service greater than the pain of paying for the product or service? All customers perceive loss when they hand over their money unless you can successfully communicate to them the gain. And that's the key you want to apply to increase your business sales. So make sure you or your sales manager reorient your sales business plan to include this message and then strategize on how you are going to communicate it.


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