zandax online course logo
Info, Blogs, Contact & Login

5 Top Tips to Improve Your Sales Performance and Profitability

From the ZandaX Sales Blog

Articles to make you more effective in your sales career

5 Top Tips to Improve Your Sales Performance and Profitability
A post from our Sales blog

      Written by Ashley Andrews
There isn't a salesperson in the world who hits his or her target every single month. Not one. Even if you're a sales wiz, and you've never known anything but success – you're probably going to feel like Old Gil from The Simpsons at some point.

It's just the nature of the beast. Customers change. Competitors disrupt your market. Seasons change. No team can sell like a beast and be profitable forever.

Sounds gloomy – but this is actually very reassuring. Because when it comes to sales numbers and profitability, what goes down can also go up again.

If you're down, you can pull it around. And we're going to show you how.

Take a friend of mine, Geoff, for example. Geoff has always worked in sales. He started out at an aftersales call centre for Dixons, the electronics chain. He was salesperson of the month over and over. Next, he moved into plant hire for a smaller company. It was a tougher business, but Geoff still beat his targets.

He then took a step up to become a regional sales manager at a large manufacturer. A year into the job, things got tough. Leads dried up. Existing customers left, blaming efficiency drives. Geoff started to miss his targets.

And then he got a call.

There was going to be a special meeting with his boss and sales teammates. They were all floundering.

Now, as a top seller, Geoff had been to his fair share of training events. He knew techniques that get pro-active, hard-working sellers out of rough spells. And he had a great track record. So he wasn't too worried. He could get another job.

But Geoff's boss didn't fire him at that meeting. Instead, the whole team got together and created a new sales plan, using all their combined sales experience.

Geoff and his team soon got back to winning ways. And today, we're going to share 5 of the best sales and profitability-boosting techniques they used with you.

Excited? You should be.

What's the difference between sales and profitability?

Before we start, a reminder: sales are not the same as profitability. Sell a small quantity with a large margin, and you'll be in profit. Sell a bundle at a loss, and you're screwed.

The 5 top tips in this article are designed to help you improve your sales and profitability.

1. Make the most of cold calling

Let's start by going back to basics. Cold calling is how many new businesses get off the ground. But when they start to feel established, cold calling is also one of the first tools they drop.

Why? Because...
  • Cold calling can be awkward, as you're interrupting someone who might not want to hear from you.
  • Cold calling ends in rejection often, which doesn't feel nice.
  • Cold calling is time-consuming.

It's also worth saying that many companies that move over to what is now referred to as an Inbound Sales model stop cold calling, as that model suggests that you focus on getting potential clients looking at you when in the awareness of a need stage.

But cold calling also works! It lets you re-connect with old customers and discover new prospects. It also reveals which prospects are NOT interested, saving you cost and energy in future sales efforts.

If your team has stopped cold calling, it's time to get back on the phone. It's better than email, because:
  • It begins a personal relationship with the customer
  • It's a real conversation – you can answer customer objections and questions, warming up prospects who might have junked your email
  • You can identify and qualify leads in one go

For companies that are now focusing on inbound sales, that's great for clients in the awareness stage, but how do you reach people that have already established relationships, and are no longer doing research or looking around? Without calling them, how are you going to win them over to yourselves? How will they know about you?

So, stop wasting the opportunities cold calling has for you.

2. Know your team's strengths, and use them

A sale rarely happens in one conversation. It usually follows a well-worn path or pipeline, consisting of:
  • Finding prospects – identifying new customers and their needs
  • Qualifying leads – are they hot or cold?
  • Closing the deal – which may include negotiation
  • Account management – repeat business is often the best kind

All of these are sales tasks. But they all require different skill sets.

It's very unlikely that all of your salespeople will be good at all these tasks. It's much more likely they'll be stronger in specific areas.

So, get to know your team's individual strengths. And make sure they can use them every day.

Yes, it's time to reshuffle your sales team.

Your sales will improve. And you'll be getting more value, and profit, from their salaries.

3. Know your prospects

If you want cold calls and other prospecting activities to succeed, you need to put in some groundwork. That means spending the time to understand which types of prospect are worth targeting.

With no preparation, you might...
  • Spend time and energy talking to people who just don't need your products
  • Fail to progress the conversation or the relationship, because you don't understand the prospect's needs

So, spend time and use research to work out:
  • Who you should be talking to in terms of job roles and types of company. These people you identify as your buyer personas.
  • The motivations that will drive prospects to buy from you. This you call the buyer's journey.
  • The biggest pain points you can solve for customers.

When they understand these three things, your salespeople will connect with prospects much more easily. It'll be like you know them already!

Your prospecting will then be much more successful, cost-efficient and profitable.

4. Start a REAL conversation

Still, on groundwork, you also need the right opening for conversations with customers. It's not enough to say, "I'm calling to ask how we can help", or "I'm calling to touch base"because your lead will peg you as a boring telesales caller. They'll get off the phone as soon as they can.

A real conversation starts when you prove you can give the prospect what they want or need. Only then will you really have their attention.

You've already spent the time to understand your prospects' pain points and motivations (see above). You know what drives them.

So plan a conversation opener that really connects. Consider...
  • Selecting a product, plan or offer you know will solve their problem
  • Offering a useful piece of content – a white paper, TCO calculator, or e-book – that shows you understand their business
  • Discussing a new problem in their industry, which you have a solution for

In other words: always be focused on how you can add value.

5. Start planning and measuring

This should've been the first tip, not the last. Because you shouldn't do anything without a sales plan. At least this will be fresh in your mind when you finish reading!

Your plan is simply your goals and how you're going to achieve them, written down. Simple. But the beautiful thing about a written plan is...
  • It provides a map of sales activities your whole team can follow
  • It formalises your goals and methods
  • It helps you measure your success and improve results, especially if you measure in enough detail

How does measurement lead to improvement? Simply, when you measure results you know how well your activities are working. (If you don't, you're working in the dark). Over time, you can compare your results and know if results are getting better or worse.

Try measuring:
  • The time of each call
  • Which salesperson is calling
  • The outcome of each call – quality discussion, meeting or nothing?

Just with these three simple measurements, you can learn the best times of day to call, your most effective salespeople, and how well your team is performing over time. This will allow you to make changes to improve results and profitability.

You should also have a raft of measurements that you use for each individual so that you can help them improve on their own specific skill set (but that is a bigger issue, to be addressed at another time.)

Don't stop measuring. Don't stop trying to improve.

There's no time to lose!

You might have had a bad run lately. But as we said at the top of this article, every salesperson in the world goes through that at some point. It's nothing personal.

Now you have a fresh outlook and a proven recipe for success – what are you waiting for? It's time to recapture your sales and profitability success. Good luck!

More Recommended Articles
Online courses to boost your skills
Click a button to see more about each course
Personal Development
Microsoft Software
online logo
ZandaX – Change Your Life ... Today
All content © ZandaX 2021
Close menu element
See how you score on a range of skills that are critical to your well-being and performance
Communication Skill test
Communication Skills
How Can You Communicate Better?
Would you like to see what kind of communicator you are? And how you can improve the effectiveness of your communications?
Likeability test
How Much Do People Like You?
Do you sometimes wonder just how likeable you are? And wouldn't you like to see how you can (genuinely) become more likeable?

Time Management test
Time Management
How Can You Make More Use Of Your Time?
Are you frustrated by how easily time slips away? Do you get frustrated when things don't get done just because you run out of time?
Assertiveness test
Are you Passive, Aggressive or Assertive?
Would you like to know where you fall on the behavior spectrum? Does your response to events sometimes surprise you?

Close menu element
Information & Resources
ZandaX information
Read more about us, our Privacy Policy and our Terms of Service
See how we want to help you, and how we make everything easy for everyone
Callback request
ZandaX Blogs
Articles to increase your knowledge and understanding in key areas of your life and career.
Read our blogs on Personal Development, Business Skills and Leadership & Management

Time Management test
Log In
Log in to your online dashboard
View your courses, review what you want and download your workbooks and certificates
Assertiveness test
Contact Us
An easy online form to get in touch
With options for More Information, Customer Service and Feedback

Close menu element
Learn About:
Personal Development
Microsoft Office
Microsoft Project
Microsoft Visio

[NOTE: Mouse over the titles above,
then to visit the website pages you want,
click on the links in the right hand panel]
Our courses
We have everything covered: learn all applications at all levels!   All courses are CPD certified.
Microsoft Excel courses
Microsoft Excel Introduction
Microsoft Excel Professional
Microsoft Excel Intermediate
Microsoft Excel Advanced
Microsoft Powerpoint courses
Microsoft Powerpoint Introduction
Microsoft Powerpoint Advanced
Microsoft Word courses
Microsoft Word Introduction
Microsoft Word Intermediate
Microsoft Word Advanced
Microsoft Powerpoint courses
Microsoft Access Introduction
Microsoft Access Intermediate
Microsoft Access Advanced
Microsoft Outlook courses
Microsoft Outlook Essentials
Microsoft Project
Enhance your project management with our two intensive but very easy-to-follow CPD certified Microsoft Project courses.
Microsoft Project courses
Microsoft Project Introduction
Get a solid foundation in Project software to create solid, resilient project plans.
You don't need prior experience with Project: just be able to use a PC with Microsoft Windows.
Microsoft Project Advanced
The Advanced course takes you to a level that will put you in complete control of your projects.
You should, of course, be fully conversant with the skills and concepts taught in the Introduction course.
Microsoft Visio
Become a Visio master with our two intensive but very easy-to-follow CPD certified Microsoft Visio courses.
Microsoft Visio courses
Microsoft Visio Introduction
Get a solid base for using Visio to create high quality, impressive diagrams.
You don't need prior experience with Visio: just be able to use a PC with Microsoft Windows.
Microsoft Visio Advanced
This course will enable you to use Visio to design graphics at the highest level.
You should, of course, be fully conversant with the skills and concepts taught in the Introduction course.
Take a look at our new Marketing section which we begin with two great books on Copywriting.
... There's lots more to follow, so stay tuned!
Copywriting books
Copywriting for Results
A two-book set that will give you all you need to write great copy every time.
Get the first book to learn the process, then the second to see how to apply it to all media types.
  • Copywriting for Results: Your Complete Guide
  • Copywriting for Results: Putting It Into Action
Watch This Space
We have more in the pipeline so be sure to check back soon to see what's new!
More marketing books
Great, easy-to-follow CPD certified courses on skills that will change your life!
Learn How to Stop Wasting Time!
Time Management course
Get more out of every day of your life ...
Boost Your Self Esteem: Be Assertive
Assertiveness course
Learn how to deal with bad behavior
Great Communications = A Happy Life!
Communication Skills course
Supercharge your communications
Improve Your Relationships
Building Relationships course
Learn how to be more likeable!
Get a Plan to Beat Your Stress
Stress Management course
Learn how to reduce & manage your stress
It's the Behavior, Not the Anger!
Anger Management course
Control anger in yourself and other people
Site Cookies
We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better.

You can change your cookie settings in your browser. Otherwise, we'll assume you're OK to continue.

I'm fine with this