Would you believe that 80% of your sales most likely come from 20% of your customers? The reality is that this is undoubtedly the case for the majority of businesses, small and large. This means that more than likely, your next sale will come from someone who has already done business with you. Back in 1906, Vilfredo Pareto learned that 80% of Italy's wealth was held by only 20% of the people. Then one day, after examining his garden, he also realized that 20% of his pea pods accounted for 80% of his pea crop yield that year. Was there a lesson here? This got him thinking, and not long after, the "Pareto Principle" was established. With the same preciseness, this same principle can be applied to business. You may know it as the 80/20 rule.This little-known principle sheds a lot of understanding on how businesses should be run. Rather than putting all your energy into new business, you would be wise to spend a reasonable amount of your time following up and servicing people who have already given you business. After all, you've already removed the first barrier. Upselling current customers should come naturally ? as long as you are proactive in following up and providing top-notch service.What does this mean to you?Imagine, about one-fifth of your customer base is just waiting for you to offer them something new. So if you're not following up with your existing customers, you're actually passing up 80% of your potential business. Of course, if you originally provided a poor experience, this may not be the case, but for businesses that operate on a principle of integrity, this should be a natural course.Think of it. You've probably already invested heavily in getting that first piece of business? planning, advertising, promotional activity. Now it's time to develop their "lifetime value." There's lot of things you can do to show appreciation:Christmas and birthdays: a great time to send over a thoughtful gift or Email.Attend events: if your customer holds annual charity events or some sort of meeting, make sure you take the time to attend and show your support.Renewals: a great time to touch base with a notice of renewal that expresses your heartfelt appreciation for their business.Incentives: put your money where your mouth is and show your customers' value. A gift incentive or discount can go a long way in terms of future revenues.Touch base: call your customers every so often to see how they are doing, how the product / service you sold them is performing and inquire or listen for any other needs. Use newsletter subscriptions to keep you top-of-mind.Great service: the single-best way to ensure customers will remain loyal. Go above and beyond. You'll be surprised at how much of an advocate that customer can turn out to be in terms of referrals.Make sure you offer them more products / services that will meet real needs. If they liked you and the product they bought, they'll buy from you again. The important thing is to always endeavor to meet the needs of your existing and future customers.The Possibilities are Endless!
Revenue is down. Sales are slowing. The CEO looks up from the business plan and realizes that the company wont meet analysts expectations. Focusing on the organizations sales leader, the stage is set for sacrificing a scapegoat.Upon who else should the axe fall when the sales organization misses revenue targets? After all, arent sales and revenue the responsibility of the sales leader? The answer may be as easily forgotten as it is obvious.To one degree or another everyone in an organization impacts the revenue generating process. The strategic plan of the board of directors and the CEO provides the overall strategy for revenue generation. The marketing department provides crucial demographic and psychographic customer or client information on which the sales department relies in formulating industry and account strategies. Manufacturing, finance, legal, customer service and all other departments facilitate or constrain the process of generating revenue, each in their own peculiar way.The sales organizations influence in enterprise revenue generation is con-centrated in the sales pipeline. Identifying bona fide sales opportunities, managing those opportunities through the sales pipeline until they produce revenue, and then managing customer or client relationships are the primary responsibilities of the sales and sales management teams. Rarely, if ever, does the sales organization control the resources of manufacturing, marketing, finance, legal and customer service.The picture most companies present to the world show the sales organization out there, in front of customers and clients and in front of the rest of the companys departments. Even marketing, the first cousin of sales, is more often than not as disconnected from sales as are the other departments. The sales group leads the company charge, and the other departments take up rear support positions, providing tangible and intangible support.Revenue generation is a cross functional, company-wide process that involves every department and all employees in the organization. The CEO and the Board of Directors set corporate strategy and everyone else in the organization executes that strategy. We have never observed a situation where the sales organization is in disarray while all the other business segments are humming along with little or no friction. In those rare cases where the failure or underperformance of an enterprises revenue generation process lies within the sales organization, the appropriate sales executives, managers and sales professionals should be held accountable and should suffer the requisite consequences. Before CEOs shoot their sales teams, however, they might want to take a critical look at the entire revenue generation process and how each business segment contributes to or detracts from the success of the process. Like Americas favorite psychologist, Dr. Phil, would advise: Every department in an organization either contributes to the companys revenue generation process or contaminates it.
Sales training programs encompass a variety of necessary components; things like company policies, sales paperwork, CRM/sales force automation orientation, sales processes, company services, sales skill training and product features and benefits.But when I ask Sales executives and Sales trainers how their current sales training program is aligned with their sales performance issues I get the look of No speak English.Lets first categorize Sales performance issues. There are (4) distinct sales performance silos that will effect the overall outcome of any sales team, year in and year out. They are:% of Sales reps to QuotaAverage New-hire Ramp-to-Quota in monthsSales Employee Turnover rateTime spent versus Result achievedThis is a good place to start in determining what sales skill training to implement to achieve a measurable return on investment. But heres what will set you apart when you walk the request up to the front office. Start out with the NUMBERS.Thats right. Take a diagnostic view of your current sales performance silos, one by one.Lets look at a real sales performance issue example of Average New-hire Ramp-to-Quota. I recently conducted a Sales Performance Improvement Blueprint web-cast for this sales organization. The company was hiring 155 sales reps per year. The ultimate objective of any new-hire sales training program is to ramp the new sales rep to Quota. Simply, give them everything they need to effectively reach their monthly sales goal.So how was this company doing? They were obtaining this ultimate sales training program objective in 7 months. So how does one determine if that training outcome is a Sales Performance Issue? Lets take a look.Step 1: Run the Numbers for any realistic ROI opportunityEach new-hire rep had an ultimate quota of $3500Sales Cycle was 17 daysAverage customer term agreement of 36 monthsAverage 'Sub-Quota' revenue per month during ramp of $1300 (This number reflects the average monthly revenue a new-hire achieves before they achieve quota attainment)Step 2: Run the Numbers hypothetically for a Specific improvement In this case, I showed the sales management team what return on investment they would get by helping just 1 sales rep achieve full sales quota in 6 months versus 7 months. Based on their numbers my diagnostic X2 Evaluator system showed them a ROI of $79,200 just by trimming off 30 days. If they did that for all 155 of their annual new-hires, they could realize $12,276,000. And that got their attention. So, is it now a worthy sales performance issue to attach pin-point sales training to? Not quite yet. Step 3: Run the Numbers for a Reality Check The most successful businesses and certainly, sales departments have identified their Key Performance Indicators (KPI); individual gateways that directly effect the outcome of a particular process. Then they measure the competency ratios in line with them.A good KPI example in the sales process might be how many times you advance the first sales appointment to the next phase, whether thats a demonstration, a site visit, a survey or a proposal. Another KPI is how many times you gain a new customer once the first gateway is passed. And when you do gain a new customer, whats the average revenue you achieve? And how long does it take to gain a new customer on average; i.e. sales cycle? How about how long it takes you to gain 1 new sales appointment, defined by sales prospect conversation? And as a by-product of all this, how many new appointments are needed each week?We ran these numbers in the X2 Evaluator system to see if and where there were some leaks in the KPI ship. And heres what we discovered; not a leak, but a big ole fire hose. Two KPI issues were apparent. First, why does the ramp-to-quota for a new-hire take 7 months when the average sales cycle is 17 days? Second, they were only setting 3 new appointments per week when they needed to set 6, based on their other KPIs. So their sales appointment activity barometer was only running at 50%. And that will dictate a longer ramp-to-quota.Dig a bit deeper in the X2 Evaluator system and out popped a 6% conversation-to-appointment ratio; they had to conduct 15 prospect conversations to get 1 new appointment. OK, back to the Reality Check. Is it realistic to focus on reducing the new-hire ramp-to-quota from 7 months to 6 months for a sales training ROI of $12,276,000 or $79,200 per rep? You bet it is. These folks needed to address the front-end of their sales process; setting targeted sales appointments. To do that, they needed (1) establish an activity standard to reach quota by month six and (2) develop a sales prospecting methodology and supporting X2 Evaluator system to spend less time in achieving it.Then they needed to plug their sales prospecting system into their current sales training program and work to a weekly sales appointment activity goal to assure a monthly revenue result by month 6.Step 4: Set the Goal and Train to ItA sales training ROI goal of $12,276,000 or $79,200 per rep is for sure a worthy one. And the diagnostic system showed us they would meet this goal just by setting 3 additional sales appointment per week per rep; 6 appointments versus 3. Actually, I lied. The X2 Evaluator system showed an even brighter picture if the sales appointment activity standard of 6 new appointments per week was met. If they could support their new-hires with a sales prospecting system that could help them achieve 6 new sales appointments per week, they would actually cut their new-hire Ramp-to-Quota by 4 months; from the current 7 months down to 3 months. And that sales training ROI would be $316,800 per rep or a whopping $49,104,000. One of the reasons why sales training fails is a failure to define a useful objective. In this case, our diagnostic method has defined a single useful objective for them to train to. And this same diagnostic method can be utilized if you have a Sales Performance Issue of an unacceptable percentage of Sales reps reaching Quota each month.In Part 2, we will take a look at (2) other sales performance issues, Sales Employee Turnover rate and Time spent versus Result achieved with this same sales management team and see what our diagnostic method to sales performance improvement and ROI turns up.
Once you make the decision to put a property on the market, you want it to move as soon as possible. Here are some thoughts on going from for sale to sold.From For Sale to Sold!Every single person listing a property "for sale" wants it sold as soon as possible. This may sound like an assumption on my part, but I have yet to meet a seller who wanted to wait months and months before getting an offer. Admittedly, they are probably out there, but you are not one if you are reading this article. If I am correct, the following advice will help it come to fruition.1. Dont worry about major upgrades. This can be expensive and time intensive. Worry about quick changes that will make major visual improvements. We are talking touch up paint and landscaping. 2. As moronic as it sounds, clean your house! And the garage! And the side of the house you havent visited in a few years! And the closets! And the garage again! 3. Have the carpets professionally cleaned. Heck, have the entire home professionally cleaned. You want to aim for the look of a model home in a new development. 4. If you have children, a battle may be required. I am talking about their rooms, the place where few parents are willing to tread. Posters on the wall come down. Now. Beds made, clothes in the hamper. Yes, the closets must even be organized. If fully realize this may sound like Mission Impossible IV, but it must be done. Threats and bribery are highly recommended to achieve the desired results!5. If you have pets, they belong outside. No, I am not against pets. The issue is their hair on the carpetthe couch...and so on. 6. Smell is one of our senses that figures into our impressions more than we realize. If you are going to be showing the property, get flowers, candles or cook something mouthwatering before the potential buyer arrives. You would be surprised how much this helps.All of this is common sense once you think it through. Each will help you close that deal, but there is one area that is the key to really moving a property quickly the price. The quickest way to sell a property is to list it below the price of similar structures for sale in your area. It is that simple. Buyers are looking for a steal. Generally, this translates into buying the cheapest property on the block with the intention of upgrading it and reaping equity gains. Some get around to the upgrades, some do not. Regardless of the condition of your property, the key to moving it is price.Real estate is not a particularly complex subject matter. Make an effort to follow the above advice and you should see a positive result.
Yup, its Girl Scout Cookie time in our part of the world. [And, yes, my English teacher DID tell me never to start a sentence with the word Yup.] For those of you who are unfamiliar with the sights, tastes, and overall experience of helping your daughters sell Thin Mints, Samoas, and Do-Si-Dos, youre missing a fundamental and wide-ranging education about the dynamics of sales, selling, and salespeople.Here are some points Ive garnered while helping my daughter, Rebecca, age 11, and Troop 3129, make their sales numbers. These pointers are hard-earned, field-tested, and as applicable to you and your business as they are to Rebecca and hers.1. Its who you know. Its true: the cookie business is a relationship business. Our next-door neighbor bought 9 boxes Bam! Neighbors on the other side, 2 boxes, then 3, then more. Why? Because Rebecca had something to sell. Whats your personal brand doing these days? If you switched products, services, or companies, would people buy from you JUST BECAUSE ITS YOU?2. Its not about the product. Its time to get the lawyers upset. Ready? Girl Scout Cookies, for the most part, taste terrible [Thin Mints are the one exception, in my humble opinion]. And they have enough fat, calories, and cholesterol in them to power a small Japanese alternative fuel vehicle. You want good cookies? Buy Oreos, Mallomars, Ginger Snaps, Nutter Butters, Grasshoppers, Deluxe Grahams, Fudge Sticks, etc. etc. Yet Girl Scout Cookies sell like crazy, year after year, donating millions to the bottom line of Girl Scouts of the USA. 3. Its not about price. Girl Scout Cookies cost $3 a box. The smallest box, by weight, is 7 oz. and the largest is 10 oz. Most retail cookies come packaged in a small size of around 12 oz. and cost about $2.49. Girl Scout Cookies even give premium brands, such as Pepperidge Farm, a run for their money when it comes to high cost. Did I mention one of our neighbors bought 9 boxes at a clip?4. Its not about need. Face it, nobody NEEDS Girl Scout Cookies. In fact, when the girls were out doing a Cookie Shop at a local hardware store (local merchants, malls, and grocery stores allow Girl Scouts to set up a table for sales on their premises to support the cause), the number one objection we heard was I already have some Girl Scout Cookies at home more than I need! So, why did they buy? Because they had a relationship with their salesperson that was more important than their need, desire, or use for the actual product. Hey, did you know that Girl Scout Cookies make great gifts, freeze really well, and are only sold for a short time each year? Can you learn from this and apply the lesson to YOUR sales message?5. Its not about competition; its all about contacts and referrals. So who is selling to all those customers who have Girl Scout Cookies at home more than they need? Naturally, its their Girl Scout. What are the chances of Rebecca selling a box of cookies to someone whose daughter is also selling the same cookies for the same price? You got it: less than zero. Is Rebecca going to bang her head against the wall bemoaning those lost sales? Of course not. Shes going to tap into her network of networks neighbors, cousins, kids and parents at the Y where she plays basketball, my former colleagues at my old job who have become good family friends (and Rebeccas customers in previous years). Do you know how to fill your pipeline when things seem dry? Do you know how to move your prospects along to becoming customers, satisfied customers, and then customers-for-life not of the product or service youre selling today, but of YOU and whatever value proposition you might be offering now and in the future?6. When times are tough and things look quiet, thats the time to push harder than ever. Cookie sales end at a certain time each year. Right now, were about two weeks away from the ending date, and there are Girl Scout Cookies being sold everywhere you look. Well probably have 10-12 boxes left over by the time the deadline comes. Are we depressed that we didnt meet our goal? Are we failures as salespeople? Only if we quit when its over. Dont you see that as soon as everyone else stops selling, stops marketing, and stops with the Cookie Shop setups -- these cookies move up from a commodity to a valuable asset? Its the same thing in your business: when the market is down, your competition has pulled their ads, its hunker-down time, get back to basics, and cut, cut, cut! However, thats the worst time to cut you have everyones attention! Theres actually much less noise out there for your message to compete against. Push now, and youll be heard!!! What does this all mean to you and your business? Its simple -- now is the time to get back in the saddle and ride your sales and marketing activities harder than ever. Youve got the floor. Youve got more relationships and more people rooting for you than you realize, and if you cut through the old excuses about your product, price, competition, the economy, and all the rest of it, youll see the sales breakthroughs that lie ahead. Why waste another minute?