Ok… hands up everyone who made a resolution coming into 2011.
Let’s shelve the personal ones about gym memberships and the like and let’s take a business perspective.
How many of you made a business resolution? You don’t have to share it with me, you can keep that to yourself. But I’ll have a guess about the general angle.
*puts on thinking cap, and reaches for the clarity crystal ball*
I can see something….. it’s…… it’s…..hmm, I’ll try again….
Speaking with people through December as 2010 came to a close, and already in the formative weeks of 2011, the agenda, the ambititon, the hopes and objectives are all about sales. Getting more, keeping more and driving higher volumes of transactions and activity.
But a goal, an objective, a resolution is nothing without a strategy, and worth even less without a plan to make it stick.
So here’s a little bit of Clarity help to make a sales ambition a strategy, then a plan… and well… the making it stick is over to you unless you line our pockets with a little silver too.
You have your sales ambition. Make it specific. Give it a number or a percentage so you can measure progress. And that’s vital from the off. Record your progress and you can tinker along the way.
Exhaust every means and thought you have (and feel free to talk to your team, clients, business contacts and anyone else who you trust and might have a view). Write them all down. Look at what you’ve written and keep adding. Give yourself about 30 mins and write til there isn’t any more to come.
And a tip here. Don’t simply write out ways of generating interest and awareness. It’s so easy to write or type “set up a twitter account” or “get more referrals”… but is that going to work? Let’s be frank. It’s not is it?
Who are your customers and clients? Where are they? Why would they buy from you? Why would they buy from someone else? (And *psst*…. if you don’t know…. ask them… surveys, you know?) What niggles them about businesses like yours? What industry sectors could you generate more from, what sectors do you think you have good coverage but actually have a poor market share?
You should now have a good list of rough strategies. Simply go through and rank them. How easy are they to implement, what impact would they have on your business, what time and resource do they need to get them off the ground?
Simply look at the top 2 or 3 that are the easiest and most worthwhile and give them a whirl. Monitor whats working and what isn’t and persist.
The key message in all of this… is devise strategy well.
And to devise strategy well you need insight. And insight means talking to people and canvassing their views. We’ve seen many a company fail because they assumed something which their customers, staff or prospects all disagreed with vehemently.
So before you go building a new website. Before you go chucking money at advertising, or a huge marketing campaign. Do yourself a favour. Stop. Take a breath. Understand the audience better. Maybe even spend a tiny percentage of your budget on that before you start trying to drum up more sales.
And once you’re armed with the full picture…. go and generate some sales.
You might find you save more money in the long run and have greater success just by taking the time to do it properly from the outset.