Sales

A good sales plan sets out challenging but realistic targets and activities to sell your products, close deals, or sign agreements to generate revenue and ensure your business is profitable.

Setting realistic sales targets for a period, or set of periods - weeks, months, and quarters - can help track your progress and let you know if your sales efforts need to be increased or altered. You can set separate sales targets by product type, customer type, and regions to better understand your performance. You can also set targets for each of your sales staff and offer rewards or bonuses if they hit them.

When selling products or services, it’s important to understand your legal obligations under fair-trading law.

To help with consistent service, you may wish to provide tools or guidelines, best practice sales training and other supporting documents if you have sales staff. Your approach to sales can be refined if you discover other methods are more effective for customer satisfaction and repeat business. If customers are interested in your offering but not buying them, you’ll need to closely review your sales skills or those of your staff. You may need to offer training in the most needed areas.

The success of your business will depend on how well you can sell your offering and build and maintain relationships. Improving these skills can help you be a more effective salesperson.

  • Confidence

    It’s important you believe in yourself and your product, because this will help your potential customers to believe in you and your product as well. Self-confidence and a positive attitude makes for a good first impression, which is vital to your selling success.
  • Communication

    The best salespeople tend to be great listeners. Taking the time to ask your potential customers questions and listen to the answers shows respect for them, and gives you a clearer idea of what they want.
  • Product knowledge

    Understand your products' features and ensure your staff do too. This knowledge can help you naturally present their benefits accurately and persuasively. Try to read your customers. Most customers respond well to knowledgable sales staff who are passionate about their products and are eager to share the benefits with them.
     
    Make it clear to your customers exactly what your product is going to do for them. Be specific. If your product has multiple benefits, have messages for different customers that they can relate to.
  • Relationship building

    Connecting to new customers and maintaining positive relationships with existing customers is important for the health of your business. This may include greeting people and offering help, being responsive to communications, making it easier to transact for repeat customers by retaining their details, or as simple as remembering their name. You may wish to use some marketing tools like sales print outs or vouchers to encourage repeat business and building those relationships.
  • Negotiation

    Negotiation is an important skill in business. Besides being an essential sales skill, negotiation skills also help you deal with suppliers, employees, and with formal transactions like buying or selling business assets, your lease, and other legal contracts.
     
    A good negotiation leaves each party satisfied and ready to do business with each other again. Talented negotiators build better relationships, deliver lasting, quality solutions and help you avoid future problems and conflicts.
     
    Everyone can improve their negotiation skills. Here are some tips:
     
    • Find out as much as you can about the other party. For a customer, try and find out about their situation and needs beforehand. Where this isn’t practical, market research can help you understand the typical needs of your customers.
    • You should also consider your competitors and what they can offer. For a supplier, you could look into their prices, products, customers and competitors. Then, take a look at your own strengths, weaknesses and bottom line. Consider how far can you afford to negotiate and when should you draw the line.
    • Listen to your customer.  Ask questions to understand your customers needs.  Often, when business owners have something really good to offer, they push their own views of why that is onto the customer. People are convinced by their own reasons, not your reasons. Understand and respect the buyer’s perspective.
    • Don’t try to convince someone they’re wrong, or have the mindset that you want to change their mind. Show them they can get something they want but under conditions which are good for you.
    • Know your highest price you can justify to your customers and prepare reasons for why your product or service is worth the price. Start at the top, as long as you can justify it, and work your way down from there. There is no harm in asking – if you don’t ask, you can’t expect to get.
    • You do not need to automatically accept the contract terms a customer offers you. Remember, it’s their job to get the best possible outcome for them. Be particularly wary of unfairly punitive contract clauses.


    Legal advice before signing contracts
     
    Get help when negotiations fail. Even with the best preparation, you may not always be able to negotiate a successful outcome.

Planning templates

Use these free planning templates and guides to help you better plan, prepare, manage, and exit a business. Investing time into proper research and planning can help turn your ideas into reality, and prepare you for what’s to come.

Business plan

A business plan works as a guide when your business is operating; how you operate, planning the future and preparing for risks. It is also often a required document for finance applications.

Marketing plan

An effective marketing plan can help you set clear, realistic and measurable marketing objectives for your business. It can boost your customer base increasing your bottom line.

Emergency plan

Your business is critical to your financial wellbeing, so you’ll want to protect it as much as you can against emergencies and disasters.

Succession plan

Planning for the day you leave your business is a valuable investment.

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