Never Stop Selling

The question: "When should a growing company slow down its sales function and focus solely on delivery?"

The answer: "Never!"

When fast growth is the focus of your company, the only constant is that you will always, and I mean always, need more sales. It doesn't matter how full the sales pipeline looks, you need more sales. It doesn't matter that you have no idea how you're going to deliver the order you just took, you need more sales. And it doesn't matter that you're booked for the next year, you need more sales.

To understand why you must keep selling in the face of certain income, I will introduce you to "Murphy's Law" of Sales which states that "whatever business can be lost, will be lost!" Customers will change their mind, cancel orders, and in some cases just go out of business altogether.

There are numerous snags that can stop your sale before it hits accounts receivable and unfortunately most are beyond your control. The good news is you can protect yourself against this uncertainty by filling the sales pipeline at all times, no matter how good things get.

Enlarge the Pipeline

A great way to protect your sales future is to increase the expectations of your sales pipeline. If you think you need to put $1 million in the pipeline try moving that number to $2 million. I'm not suggesting that another million dollars worth of sales are going to magically appear just because you updated your Excel spreadsheet. Instead I'm suggesting that you raise the bar on your projections so that you can absorb the inevitability of losing sales along the way. It's far better to be over prepared.

Spread the responsibility

Because small companies typically cannot afford to hire several salespeople they often rely upon the founder or another single person to do the job for the entire company. The problem with this approach is that there is too much reliance on one person to feed the entire organization. Sometimes people run into a cold streak, get distracted, or just aren't the right fit at the right time. Any one of these factors can cripple your sales pipeline.

Instead of relying on an individual to bear the company's entire sales load, spread the responsibility across all members of the organization. A great way to do this is by giving other people in the company an opportunity to participate in the sale process as well. Allow others to help prepare presentations, give them responsibility for "up-selling" existing customers and ask them to use their professional networks to identify new opportunities.

When you're hot, stay hot

Another mistake growing companies tend to make is celebrating their victories and resting in the spoils of sales. You've just won that huge account and now you don't have to sell for six months while you rake in the dough, right? Wrong! The worst thing a company can do when it's hot is to stop selling.

The confidence and positive energy behind a big win is a force you cannot possibly replicate with bonuses, company meetings or sales team pep rallies. Harness the positive momentum from big sales to make more phone calls, setup more meetings, and close more deals. It's much easier to call that next client after you've made a big sale than when you're on month three of a cold streak.

Keep your sales team in sales, not delivery

Now your winning sales team is landing customers left and right and it's time to start delivering on the promises they made over those expensive dinners. Since the customer naturally expects the sales team to be along for the delivery, your top salesman should be along for the ride, right? Wrong again.

The sales team is there to sell, not deliver. And any time that they spend servicing your existing customers is time they aren't spending finding the next customers. As soon as the shoe salesman becomes the cobbler he's doing the wrong job. Get your sales team right back into the field as quickly as possible and let the people in your organization responsible for delivery service your customers.

Watch the Horizon

It's easy to get distracted today with a big win and all the obligations that come with delivery. All of a sudden you need to worry about staffing, office space, equipment and of course satisfying that customer you just spent all your time wooing.

While you don't want to miss delivery, you simply can't afford to lose sight of the next sale on the horizon, which means it's time to pick up the phone, schedule a meeting, and close that next sale. The only thing more important than your last sale is your next sale!

- Wil

Wil Schroter is a serial entrepreneur, author, and public speaker. Wil has been recognized as U.S. Small Business Person of the Year, twice as the Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year (1999 & 2004), and is a member of the Business First Top 40 under forty. Connect directly with Wil at [email protected]. Visit http://www.goBIGnetwork.com.

In The News:

Envelope sales slump at Bong | OPI  Office Products International
Fast-food restaurant sales return to normal  Restaurant Business Online
New Home Sales Expected to Surge  Mortgage News Daily
Auto sales boost in Q3  The Star Online

The Risk of Being A Yes-Man

Sales is all about negotiating. You are negotiating from the... Read More

How Improve Conversion Rates

Do you know your conversion rates? Conversion rate is the... Read More

Im A Second-Story Man

Can you say who you are and what you do... Read More

Long Sales Letters vs. Short Sales Letters

Everywhere I turn, I'm being asked to weigh in on... Read More

Making the Sale When the Customer Wont Buy

Ever had a party online or offline, and had guests... Read More

How To Bully Your Prospects Into Buying Your Product or Service

Selling is a tough job, and sometimes you may need... Read More

Color Psychology Will Make Or Break Your Sales Success

Color psychology is the biggest question I receive on a... Read More

How Can Fundraising Consulting Help Us Raise Money?

If you need to hold a fundraiser and don't know... Read More

Where to Find Mannequins for Sale

Any time a clothing store opens or expands, they must... Read More

The Power of Thank-You

When was the last time you thanked your customers?This often... Read More

Selling More CDs at Gigs, Case Study: The Rogues

A few weekends back, the Brobdingnagian Bards performed at the... Read More

Selling Your Way To Success

I wonder when we decided to become a sales person.... Read More

Needs Based Selling

I am sure you are familiar with the phrase, "I... Read More

SPIN, Relevant To Both Salesmanship & Advertising!

Neil Rackham turned the world of high-ticket salesmanship on its... Read More

How to Lose the Sale Quickly & Easily

Here are five sure-fire ways to guarantee you will not... Read More

Program Your Biocomputer For Sales Success

Selling isn't something you do to people, it's something you... Read More

Talking To A Prospect As If To A Friend

While working with a new coaching client, I asked to... Read More

Selling the Difficult: How to Sell What People Dont Understand How to Buy

I'll play a seller, using conventional selling methods, selling something... Read More

An Introductino to Insurance Lead Generation

It is vital that insurance salespeople have a steady stream... Read More

Successfully Selling Your Professional Services

As a professional service provider you face special challenges promoting... Read More

Ten Top Tips for Terminating Telephone Terror

1. Make telephone callsFew things are more terrifying than the... Read More

Store Owners - Five Ideas to Increase Sales

1. Animate your window display.How often do you change your... Read More

The Damaging Admission - A Persuasive Technique

We would all like to think that our product or... Read More

Sales 101: Handling The Angry Customer

I am often reminded of the following true story whenever... Read More

Chicken Little And The Disintermediation Myth

If Chicken Little were alive today he wouldn't be running... Read More