Countertops Magazine Archive

Simple Strategies for Improving Sales

Making sales shouldn’t be hard, but often it is.

When Sales seems like a struggle, you’re doing something wrong! When you’re doing it right, selling is not difficult. In fact, it’s actually easy and can seem almost effortless. For those who practice the real secrets of sales mastery, making the sale seems to come as a natural result.


If you are looking for breakthroughs that are monumental, not incremental, you need to understand that making sales is simple. We make it complicated. So why do so many sales people and companies struggle?


Selling is the convergence of a potential customer’s problem, desires or needs, being met by a person or business that best provides a solid solution.


In a competitive market, it’s not always the best provider that wins the sale, but often the best presenter. You probably believe it shouldn’t be that way, but it is. Buyers can only make the best choice based on what they hear, see and perceive.


It’s your job to bring clarity and difference to the customer’s decision-making process. Become better at presenting.


Clarity Brings Prosperity

I’m surprised how seldom sales people in our industry make demonstrable differences during their presentation. People look for discernable differences.


I’ve been director of sales for many companies of all different sizes and here’s what I’ve found. Sales managers can dramatically affect sales numbers for good and for bad.


Many times a sales manager is selected because they are great at sales. How many basketball coaches do you see that are 7-ft.-tall? Vince Lombardi was one of the winningest coaches in history, but can you tell me one thing about his football career? Probably not.


Sales management requires a completely different set of skills than selling. I’ve seen people go from salesman to sales manager and back to salesman because they found it difficult to succeed as a manager, but sales came easy.


The saying “sales is a numbers game” is not correct. In actuality, sales is math, science and skillsets.


Sales is math, but with a twist. Because it involves people and their emotions, and invisible elements come in to play.


Here’s the equation: A good offering presented to enough prospects plus good sales conversations will produce high sales volumes.


If your sales numbers are off, something’s missing in the equation.


You and your entire sales staff are affected by three factors that make or break the sale. Your skills in these three areas will make selling effortless or burdensome.



The BIG Three

Attitude: While I don’t believe the adage “attitude is everything,” in selling it is a major influencer of sales results. Attitude alone can create sales even when skills are lacking. Our attitude affects our belief in ourselves and our company and can cause us to be confident in asking for the sale.



Skillsets: Many people in sales have invested very little time in gaining real skillsets. Skills such as listening and communication give you an edge over the competition. Listening provides empathy and makes customers feel you understand them.


You must develop a clear and compelling message and be able to articulate that to a prospect.


You need to skillfully ask for the sale in a way that makes them feel safe and confortable. Buying is an awkward dance and you must be graceful in taking them from simply looking to buying.


Plans and Preparations: Planning is crucial to success. King Solomon once is quoted in the Bible as saying, “Any enterprise is built by wise planning…”


Plans provide focus; they provide clarity, and give birth to strategy. Plans help you to set goals, outline activities and hit your critical numbers.


Winning comes from having a great strategy. Sales can be down because of one of these three factors.

  1. Not enough traffic
  2. Not having a strong enough message
  3. Having mediocre selling skills.


If your sales numbers are anemic, you need to conduct CPR- Customer Prospect Revitalization. Often sales are down because there are not enough customers coming in the door. Part of any winning plan is generating new leads.


If you do have lots of shoppers and sales are low, you have an entirely different problem. Your sales staff needs to be energized and trained.


I strongly believe that sales people should be busy all day with three main activities.

  1. Meeting with prospects to convert them into clients
  2. Serving existing clients
  3. Finding New prospects


Sadly, most people do not have any written plan whatsoever. In fact, most businesses have no sales plan at all. I don’t mean a marketing plan. I’m talking about a simple plan that’s well thought out showing how you will make your sales goals.


Plans are purposed intention. Plans clarify your path and desired destination. Do you have one? If you don’t, don’t panic, you’re like most people. I’ve heard figures as low as less than 10 percent of college graduates know how to set measurable goals.


There are simple and easy to use, yet effective planning strategies that can be completed in just a few hours. You must find a system that works for you and your team, and then develop a written sales strategy.


Sales Management

Managers can actually shackle sales volumes by their actions or their inaction. Some sales managers will incorporate burdensome tracking processes or data entry that sales people hate. Often it doesn’t help the numbers.


Others act like Doctor Evil in Austin Powers and just “hope everything will go to plan.” They stay busy with their own workload. They may never hold actual sales meetings, and if they do, it’s a pressure cooker session asking, “Who’s got sales?”


Good sales management is selecting the right staff and providing all the support needed to let them soar. They have to have the right stuff to begin with, which is simply, they need to like people and be able to speak well. The rest can be taught.


Remember that your salespeople are people with needs, concerns and emotions. Their sales are determined by their skills, their attitude and their focus on right actions.


All salespeople need to sharpen their skills on an ongoing basis. No one ever makes it to the big leagues without massive amounts of hours of practice. Trouble is, when their practice is in front of customers, each and every time they strike out it costs you money.


Three simple concepts express this philosophy in a way that is easy to remember: Hire well, then train to sell and nurture to excel.


Remember that managers can and do have a huge effect on a sales person’s attitude. You can fill them with courage or doubt. I know, I’ve been on both sides of that scenario.


When salespeople are burdened with anything that drags them down, sales will plummet. It’s your job to see they soar.


Whether you’re selling or managing salespeople, it’s important to know that starting the day with the right attitude will affect the sales numbers. It’s what I call one of the Invisible Factors ™.


The truth is, invisible elements affect the sale more than the obvious elements. People sense when you are uncomfortable, stressed or worried. They feel calm when talking with sales people who are confident and caring.


Emotions sell, whether it’s the positive emotions of the salesperson, or the desires of buyers. Emotions drive every single purchase. Learn to fan the flames of the right emotions in both you, and the prospective buyer.


One simple technique that boosts the emotions of both a buyer and a salesperson is that of creating rapport. When we create a bond with someone in conversation it makes everyone feel more at ease. The walls come down, a pleasant atmosphere arises and sales just happen.


At the end of the day, if sales are struggling, it’s a sign that something is missing. It’s time to pay attention to the numbers, but also the invisible side of the equation.


If you focus on the BIG Three, Attitude, Skillsets and Plans and Preparations, your sales will grow. Improving these important pillars of selling will guarantee better sales results.


Invest the time and energy to grow in these areas and sales growth is a foregone conclusion.


About the Author
Kirk Heiner is an author, speaker and sales consultant with more than 25 years in sales. He has conducted sales and training seminars for numerous companies including Lowe’s, DuPont, Danze, the NKBA, KBIS, Stock Building Supply, the International Builders Show and the Small Business Administration. He can be contacted at [email protected].