Sometimes we tend to make business harder than it needs to be or, even worse, confuse activity with accomplishment. Here, we consider a straightforward way to make a big difference to the bottom line.
Though setting up a business clearly requires effort, a firm focus leads to better results. Of course, product lines and strategy are all part of the plan, along with staff issues too – recruitment, training, performance and retention. However, none of these points is as important for overall success as one central pillar – the amount of daily time that is spent on sales activities.
According to expert business commentators, a common malaise of unsuccessful businesses is failing to spend sufficient hours each day on productive sales activities. This means fixing appointments and – most importantly – meeting potential new customers face to face. In the office, it means the right customer support, service and proactive refinements to sales processes.
Face to face with new customers
It is commonly agreed that when starting a business, around four-fifths of working time should be devoted to sales activities and attracting new customers. Conversely, established businesses may be able to spend a lower proportion of their total time drawing in new clientele – perhaps as little as, say, 30 percent. Nonetheless, it remains an essential part of the daily routine.
Little else is more important.
Creating your own business luck
When working with people, opportunities tend to present themselves. In this sense, business luck is often when preparation meets opportunity – appointments are made, doors opened, sales agreed and payments received. In contrast, working behind closed doors back in the office (on administration or detail, for instance) may well improve the background systems but will probably not make that much of an impact on the bottom line. In other words, companies succeed when they commit to developing their sales and ask for new orders.
It is useful to calculate the average proportion of time which staff spend each week working on sales to customers – or, for back office support staff, improving selling processes. Some business consultants recommend doubling or even tripling this. Despite likely protests or even some fallout in the latter case, a trial period should quickly illustrate how successful this approach can be. It may be worth remembering that staff who are not happy to cooperate or to have their performance monitored in this way should probably not be occupying a space on the payroll.
In summary, businesses depend on sales – first and foremost. Only getting out there and selling to new customers will lead to further growth.