The Rules of Sales – What Most SA Entrepreneurs Were Never Taught

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By: Themba Nkuna

My first business was selling icing sugar at my school and I employed three guys to do this with me at different schools. This is when my journey in business started and that’s when I fell in love with selling.

The challenge was I wasn’t trained in selling and my employees were also never trained. Now as a Sales Coach I realise that this is how many companies operate today, their founders were never trained in sales as well as their entire teams. This is a recipe for business failure.

Entrepreneurs need to be the leaders of their sales teams

What most entrepreneurs don’t understand is that the first skill required to succeed in business is selling. Before you can sell to the client you must first sell to yourself and believe that your product or service is the best.

After you’ve sold to yourself you then need to sell to your team, they must believe in what you are doing and believe in the product or service. I once trained a team that didn’t understand what the business wanted to achieve, this made it difficult for them to excel in their roles. The moment your team misses your business vision, they will find it hard to sell the vision of the business to the customers.

Therefore, make it your priority to excel in sales. In fact, become a sales superstar. How do you achieve this status? There are many ways.

The rules of sales

One way which I can suggest is to master the art of asking the right questions. This stems from the ABC model of selling, A stands for ask quality questions, B means break down your solution and C means close. The biggest mistake however that most untrained sales people make it to believe that closing is the last stage of making a sale.

Closing may be the last part of the model, however the quality of your questions will determine whether you will close the customer at the end of your sales pitch or not.

For the twenty sales pitches you make you might only close one customer, but don’t be discouraged

Some of the questions you can ask are:

1. What are your feelings about business for the coming year?
2. What strategies do you currently follow to outsmart your competitors?
3. Have you identified your longer term priorities?

These questions should trigger follow up questions which will not only help you but also help your customers understand why they need your services without you forcing them or trying to convince them.

Note: You only closed the customer when they’ve put their signature on the dotted line and the money is on your account.

How can you improve on your sales?

Develop yourself and your sales team, hire a sales coach. Commit to excellence, act as if it were impossible to fail and most importantly dial the DAMN phone!

The reason you want to dial the phone is because you want to keep your sales funnel full. Keep in mind the sales ratio: 20:1 as you start on your journey of being a sales superstar. It means for the twenty sales pitches you make you might only close one customer, but don’t be discouraged. Keep calling until you can archive a ratio of 5:2, which means you are closing about 40% of your sales pitches.

Help your team achieve this; your business must function without you. You therefore must ensure that your team can make it rain without you being there. Stop the DIY!

I would love to hear from you, get in touch and share your experiences or current challenges you may be facing in your business which makes it difficult to explode your sales.

About the Author: Themba Nkuna is the founder of How to Sell Academy, a private company that offers Sales Mastery and Competitive Intelligence strategies. He’s the author of four books including the sales book: Hit that sales target.

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