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I’m a regular runner…. A slow one, but a regular one. I run because it’s a way of keeping fit and healthy, because I enjoy getting out in the fresh air and because it’s a way of mentally switching off, recharging the batteries and thinking about problems I’m trying to solve. Some of my best ideas have occurred to me when I’m running.

Typically I run between 5km and 10km but recently I’ve been contemplating running a half marathon. Running coach Sean Tait explains that the right plan will help you train all the individual aspects that will be put together on race day. A good schedule is a good way of getting through different types of session in a week, without putting your body at risk of becoming injured or over trained. He also says that nothing is achieved in a day, rather it’s achieved constantly over time. A schedule will be written with the entire training session in mind, not just what you should be doing that day.

Effective selling is no different; there are several aspects to winning a sale and each stage needs to be carefully planned. You need to identify potential customers, research their business to work out how good a fit your products or services might be, build relationships with relevant contacts, understand their problems, explain how you can address these problems, provide a quotation or proposal, negotiate pricing and eventually, and hopefully, close the sale. Of course, potential customers can drop out at any stage of the process, so understanding how effective you are at moving potential customers through the process enables you to understand how many new potential customers you need to be talking to at any point in time in order to meet your revenue targets.

Most businesses I talk to don’t understand the amount of prospecting activity they actually need to be doing to find the number of customers needed to achieve the revenue required. So build a plan, allocate sufficient time every week for prospecting, qualifying, demonstrating, quoting, negotiating and closing sales. Then measure the results and if necessary, adjust the plan.

Remember….. effective selling is definitely a marathon and not a sprint!

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