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Building Business Sales

Whatever stage your business is at and whatever type of business you have, it is very likely that you will be keen to see your sales revenue grow. Here are a few common sense measures that can help you achieve your targets. I am not trying to teach anyone to suck eggs here, just providing some helpful ideas that will be new to some of you and reminders to the rest.

1 Know what you are aiming for
Firstly make sure you have realistic monthly revenue targets written down as part of your business budget and build in achievable levels of growth. Break your targets down into bite sized chunks to make them more manageable.

For example if your monthly target is £10,000 is that likely to be made up of 10 £1000 orders / transactions or 1000 £10 orders / transactions etc? How much do you need to sell each working day? What daily activities are going to be required by you and your team to deliver success? You may be able to predict a fair proportion coming from existing customers with the balance from new business which you have quoted for where you achieve a quote to order conversion ratio of 3 to 1 say. On that basis If you need 5 new orders you will need to have presented 15 quotes.

How many approaches and meetings will have been necessary to create the opportunity to quote 15 times? It could be as high as 50 or 100. That’s a lot of groundwork but it has to be done and you will need sufficient resources if your targets are to be met. The more effective your sales function then the more you can compress the ratios, the extreme being that you approach 5 potential new clients, they all agree to meet and require you to quote and all 5 place an order with you as a result. Dream on!

You need to plan what needs to be done and then set about doing it. Don’t be over ambitious at first, steadily raise the bar step by step as targets are achieved.

2 Hang on to what you’ve got
Do everything you can to retain existing customers who make repeat purchases by building strong relationships and delivering excellent customer service and satisfaction levels. Keep them buying from you rather than a competitor.


3 Sell more to your existing customers
This can be a combination of selling them more of what they already buy as well as selling them a wider range of products and services. If they are buying similar products from two or three suppliers speak to your customers about ways to increase your share.

4 Listen to your customers
Remain competitive by actively seeking customer feedback so as to understand what they like and dislike about your business and understand their changing needs.
Their view may well be different to yours and you can highlight the positive stuff when promoting your business to others. See what you can do to improve on the aspects they dislike.

If they are willing to give it, feedback from lost customers or prospects who bought elsewhere can be very valuable. Understanding the true reasons for losing on this occasion will help you hone your future offering.

5 Lost but never forgotten
Win back old / lapsed customers. They were happy to buy from you in the past. What made them switch suppliers, can you put it right?

6 Actively seek introductions and referrals
Ask existing customers for introductions to new customers…….
Do they have other branches which you could serve?
Do they have related companies? i.e. Parent, Sister, Subsidiary
How about their customers?
How about their suppliers?
Can you identify other businesses like theirs from the same industry or business sector? Trade associations and the like can be useful for this.
Are there other businesses next door or on the same business park which might buy your products or services?

7 This is what our customers say
Make full use of powerful testimonials and case studies

8 Don’t neglect your gross profit
Increase your prices.
It is necessary from time to time even in this difficult economic climate.

Mark Braithwaite, Director