In the last 4 articles we have looked at and dealt with the fact that there are only 3 reasons why you will find yourself in a cash flow crisis. To remind ourselves, there were:-
1. You’re not making enough money.
2. You are not getting your debtors to pay you and
3. You are spending too much money!
We also looked at the first step that should be taken and that was to get clarity on what you owe and what is owed to you and we did this by means of a debtors and creditors aging analysis.
Then we looked at cutting costs, discussed putting a budget together and then making arrangements with your creditors to pay what you owe.
We have pretty much dealt with parts 2 and 3 from the list above and so today we look at your sales.
Here’s the thing – it doesn’t matter how well you collect the money or how you cut out all of the expenses, the reality is that if you don’t sell the product or service there will be no money coming in to collect!
So you need to sell, sell and then sell some more!
The fact that there is money to collect attests to the fact that you can actually sell. You just have to replicate what you did before when you sold and then just keep on doing that better and better.
The more you believe in your product or your service, the more “believable” you are and the more you will sell.
Make sure that the value of what you are selling is in line with what you say you are selling.
Make sure that you deliver on time and that you deliver what it is you say that you are selling or delivering.
Look at your product or service and see how you can do it better. Doing it better will also increase your sales.
Always ensure that you are giving your clients what they want and need rather than trying to sell them what you have or what you think that they may want or need.
Start with your existing clients and ask the question, especially the one that goes “Is there any other way we can help you?” More times than not, this will get you results and because the relationship is already there, the ‘selling’ will be a lot easier. So start there and then broaden your reach out into the open market.
Remember that you need to measure in order to manage, so it is very important to have a plan in place.
Some of the things that you need to look at or implement when you are putting your plan together are (but not limited to):-
– Plan a sales strategy
– Put a sales plan into place and this should include things like:-
• A list of all your products or services and how these are of benefit to your clients.
• A list of your target markets and your perception of “the perfect client”
• Your sales processes from cradle to grave
• Your sales tools
• Your sales scripts
• How to handle objections and how to turn cold leads into sales.
To delve a little more deeply into these aspects let’s break some of them down a little more.
We all need all the help we can get, so it is a good idea to invest in a basic sales tool and this should include the following:
– A Website – in this age of technology having, at the very least, a basic website is of paramount importance.
– Business Cards – besides telling clients and prospective clients who you are, they bring a certain level of professionalism to the table.
– Brochures – great for giving a visual aspect to your products or service.
– Presentation – always useful to help close a sale
– Templates or samples of your products or service
– Sales management systems or CRM’s or similar – as you grow the number of clients it becomes easier to lose track of where you are with clients. So this is very useful.
It’s always a good idea to have everybody doing the same thing in the same way. Having a documented sales process will ensure that not only does this happen, but also that certain requirements or important information is not forgotten about. Your sales process should also contain the following:
– Leads – how and when to make contact
– Prospect – exactly what product or service that they are interested in
– Presentation – has a demonstration been done for the client or is it still to take place and when.
– Objections received – what they are, were they handled by who and how.
– Negotiation – what will work best for the client and you – how will you go about getting the right balance so that a win/win situation is created.
– Finalization – have the authorizations been received, are contracts agreed to and signed off. How many sales were “won” and why (goes to replicating a successful strategy) and how many sales were “lost” and why
– Monitor – the sales process should be monitored carefully and updated on a regular basis. You need to know how many leads you have, how many have been contacted, how many have been converted into sales and exactly where you are in the process with each lead and sale.
Finally! Prevention is always better than the cure and I have no doubt that once you get yourself out of your cash flow crisis, you will never have any desire to get yourself back into this mess again.
Ensure that the measures that you have implemented to get yourself out of the mess are continued to ensure that you never go there again.
Measure and monitor what is taking place on a continual basis and then make the necessary adjustments as and when they are required.
Remember that according to Parkins’s law, your expenses will always rise to meet your income. So make sure that your expenses are always under control