Don’t Make These Mistakes When Creating a Sales Plan

Judging by the increased number of emails, junk mail, and cold calls I’m getting I would say, “It’s a jungle out there.”

rising unemployment makes sales plan even more importantWith the unemployment rate where it is now business owners can’t fall back on the old, “I’ll just have to get a job” safety net because getting a job is every bit as difficult as selling your services.

Anyone thinking about starting a business places a lot of attention on:

  • What you do
  • How you do it

I’m not saying you shouldn’t think those things through because you certainly should.  However, before you quit your job, or further risk your resources realize your attention should be on:

  • Who would be willing to pay for this
  • How will you sell your services to those people

The old sales adage goes, “Nothing happens until somebody makes a sale.”  To a certain extent that’s very true.  You can get everything in your business ready to serve customers, but until you actually have paying customers none of that is really important.

Once you realize things just aren’t working out the way you thought they would many business owners will think, “Well, I’ll just hire some sales people to go out and bring in some customers.”  So they place an ad and hire some sales people.

Once they discover the sales people they hired aren’t selling enough to cover their cost most business owners will think, “Well, I guess I’ll just have to hire a Sales Manager to whip these sales people in shape, and get them out their selling something.”

Sales Managers don’t come cheap so you expect immediate results.  Most Sales Managers end up falling in one of these 4 groups:

  • Task Masters – Task Masters are great at creating reports and generating data, but those reports and data don’t put money in the bank.
  • Corporate Climbers – Corporate Climber view working for you as just one more step on the rung to the job they really want.
  • Team Players – Everyone likes a team player they are so friendly and great to talk to; however, all that warm chatter isn’t putting money in the bank.
  • Scalpers – Scalpers get your sales people to bring the red meat to them so they can close them one way or another, and then demand a cut from the sales person’s commission.

When the business owner finally realizes hiring a Sales Manager didn’t really help much it’s often too late to make a recovery.

Bottom line none of those decisions were decisions that were based on a real Sales Plan.  Each decision was a desperate effort to make something happen.  Each decision led to increased frustration and a lighter bank account.

A real Sales Plan demands:

  • A clear definition of your best potential client
  • A clear understanding of what those people are already looking to buy
  • A succinct message relevant to those potential clients
  • Knowledge of the process buyers use to make a buying decision
  • The skills required to implement a sales process
  • Defined daily actions
  • Proven results from those actions

Bottom line if you can’t sell whatever you’re selling you won’t be able to hire a sales person to sell it either.  I should know because I made that very mistake myself at one time.  So before you invest dollar one in a business idea, or before you invest another dollar in your business make certain you have both the knowledge and skills required to sell whatever you’re selling.  Then and only then will you have the money to actually run a business and call yourself a business owner.

Coach Cheryl

Creative Commons License photo credit: GDS Digital

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