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9 Ways To Save Your Business With a Sales Turnaround!

Let me begin by saying that everything I am about to tell is also possible for you to achieve. I am not a sales person, yet I have lead sales turnarounds that have created whole of company turnarounds and saved businesses that were on their knees.

CASE STUDY ONE - On the day I arrived to become their new Interim CEO, both the company's owners and their wives were served with legal demands to repay 100% of business debt. Personally. Sales had plummeted and a generations old business, that had once been a powerhouse in its market, was about to go under.

When I departed, 10 months later, quarterly aales had lifted by a staggering 35% and smashed the business' all-time quarterly record.

CASE STUDY TWO - Six weeks before I was appointed as its new Interim CEO, my client's former CEO resigned without even attending the office to do so. This made me the 5th CEO in 5 years... and all the while the business continued to slide with sales leading the charge and aggrieved bankers not far behind - armed with threats of breached covenants.

When I departed, 18 months later, the business was on target to record a sales outcome that was 250% of its lowest point! Talk about a turnaround!

Enough of that, the 9 things I did in both cases are listed below:

1. Customer Engagement & Research

In both these cases, the business's customers had been neglected and were not being engaged. Not surprisingly, some customers were actually shocked to find out the business still existed. Taking time to visit the customers and to ask them for their thoughts is incredibly important - What are you doing well? Poorly? What are your rivals doing well? Poorly? What are your customers looking for in terms of products & features? In terms of prices? In terms of service levels? What are their commercial needs?

2. Product Alignment & Bundling

Having established some base line data, re-visit your product/service level/commercial term offerings and re-package them to better appeal. It never ceases to amaze me just how much many customers will buy a lesser product offering for a higher price simply due to better service, add-ons (as part of a bundle) or commercial terms.

3. Sales Training

This may seem like a no-brainer... but when is the last time you did it? Rehearse sales. Rehearse closure. Have a sales consultant travel with your road reps or spend time in-store watching and coaching in real time.

4. Pipeline Management

The surest way to get nowhere is to aim at nothing! It is so important to understand where your sales are possibly going to come from - investigate likely prospects, add them to a pipeline list, rate them with probabilities and seek to continuously move them through your sales funnel.

5. Sales Competitions & Recognition

Ask many sales people what they love about their work and its closing sales. Those that are being truly honest will give an even deeper insight - the reward of recognition. This is not so hard to do and its benefits can be massive. Start to keep records for individuals, for months, for products, for years... foster team and individual targets and communicate them widely. Facilitate group buy in and recognition.

6. Empowerment & Cutting the Red-Tape

Notwithstanding everything written above, REQUIRING compliance and REQUIRING documentation to be completed can be a sales killer in its own right! There are a few tricks to getting through this and still achieving your objectives. Mostly it comes down to straight our common sense (which, I a sure you will agree, is quite uncommon!)

7. Customer Specific Strategies

Having completed some market research at a client level, you should now have a much better understanding of your clients... as well as the likely impact that they will have on your bottom line. Use this information to create strategies for each client (or each TYPE of client). These strategies should include the types of promotional activities you will direct at them, the frequency of these and the content of these (remembering to bring something new to them on each occasion).

8. Brand Re-Invigoration

Re-invigorating your brand and story is a great reason to re-engage with customers and also is a great shot in the arm for sales staff and the business as a whole. Do not underestimate what a lift can do to your brand and its market penetration - it does not need to be a compete overhaul.

9. Asking!

Asking may seem simple, but is so often overlooked... you MUST ask for the sale!!

Embracing these 9 areas will make a huge difference to your sales - without question.

Embracing them with a leadership/heart based perspective, rather than a management/control based perspective, is what will really fuel their effectiveness. Thereafter, simply apply them over and over and over... and watch what happens.