This week’s Small Business Sales Question was: “The US GDP is forecasted to grow 2% in 2012. Will your sales keep pace with GDP growth?”
The results were a little surprising. All around us are signs that the economy is recovering but the respondents to this week’s question were decidedly less upbeat and confident than the economic prognosticators.
59% of the business people that answered the question said that their sales growth would underperform predicted GDP growth in 2012. Which means that only 41% feel they are on track to grow revenues more than 2% over the next 12 months.
Small business is often touted as the engine of employment growth in the US. If that is truly the case then perhaps the Fed is on the right track when they predict our economy will remain in the doldrums until at least 2014.
For those in the 59% their fear of the economy should not be used as an pretext not to succeed. Instead now is the time for those in the 59% to narrow their focus and double down on the fundamentals of selling. There is a lot an SMB can accomplish without investing significant sums of money or increasing headcount to get on the track to consistent sales growth.
In my book, Zero-Time Selling, I provide 10 essential steps that every SMB can immediately take to turn the momentum of their sales results in a positive direction. All it takes is the application of of a bit of process and discipline on the part of management. Sell with Maximum Impact in the Least Time (MILT). Follow-up 100% of all sales leads in Zero-Time. Provide incredible unconditional support to your prospects and customers. Position your people with the deepest product knowledge closest to your customer. Be absolutely & completely responsive to customer requirements for information. Establish metrics for each step of your sales process and work to streamline and speed them up.
The same easy-to-implement steps will drive enhanced sales results for the 41% that see a sunnier future as well. On our website we offer a free online sales assessment tool for SMBs on our website. The results are scored on a scale of 0-100, with 100 being a perfect score. We call the score the Zero-Time Sales Index. We publish a running tally on our home page of the average ZT Sales Index based on all the companies that have completed the assessment. The average ZT Index is 47.5 out of 100. The point of this digression is that even the most optimistic CEO who thinks her or his sales team is running on all cylinders is actually underperforming in some very crucial areas.
Don’t forget to come back and give us your point of view on this week’s question: When you hire new salespeople, do you use 3rd party assessment tools to help screen & qualify potential candidates?