Creator to Consumer – Sales Matter
Season 2 – Episode 10 –
30 years and still learning - Having spent most of my career post leaving the Royal Navy working in consumer goods, primarily in the perishable food sector. I find it fascinating that I still learn every day, sometimes it is a reminder of what I have forgot but for the most part, I learn something new every day… Today’s episode is about Sales Matter.
Sales is such a broad subject, having spent most of my career in sales, managing sales teams and businesses, we will create a whole Season devoted to Sales. However, I did not think it would be a good Creator to Consumer Season without mentioning sales, so below are bite sized snippets from a more complex subject matter, stay tuned!
Sales Matter, why such a title?
Many people think just because they have a great idea, they won’t need to sell it, well you are wrong, very few things sell themselves, so if you are not a sales person and have a great product idea, you better get used to selling and pushing your product out there.
Do great salespeople make great business leaders and entrepreneurs?
Not always and to be straight, rarely do the best and most successful sales people create companies that are successful that’s not to say they don’t ever make it, however, many get caught up in the weeds of the operation and running a business and forget to do what they are best at, sell, while others let the operation side slip and focus on sales which can disappoint on delivery to your customer.
Which customers should I focus on first?
Remember the definition of a customer in our earlier episode, your customer is the company or person who pays you for the product, which in CPG/FMCG is usually not the consumer, although with the increased direct sales models being adopted through online marketing, the enhanced usage and focus due to Covid-19. Now your marketing approach needs to be tailored to suit each channel, as does your sales efforts.
That does not clarify who?
You are right, it does not.
Through your market evaluation you should have defined which customers you want to target and which you should work with the most, once that part of the equation is complete this is not a question anymore. Planning is the key to success, good planning will make you more successful, following the plan will even more, but adapting your plan will take you to the next level.
Presentation, what is the best way to present?
Always but always have a sample of what you are selling, it should be your best sample and hand selected for your customer. Your presentation should be concise and informative, no one these days wants to sit through your droning monologue of how great you are at selling, they want to know the features and benefits of your product and why they should buy it.
Here is a simple tried and tested format for any presentation:
Market: State what market, sector or segment your product fit in and how it compares to the market and competitive set.
Pack: The design, style imagery, does it pop off the shelf, is it the industry standard or does it comply in a different way and if so how is that more attractive to the consumer.
Product: The sample, taste it with your buyer, present it, discuss it and most of all enjoy it, as if you would not!
Support: What above and below the line activity are you giving to support your product, brand support (consumer), slotting fees, demo’s, newsletters, promotional discounts, etc. present a 12 month marketing plan with an investment $ # and if new to the market, what your customer and consumer acquisition plan looks like. Does it include exclusivity, if so how long for and what do you need in return for an exclusive agreement, or which sector of the market you are focusing your investment on.
Profit: What is the SRP, buying price, margin, on and off promotion, annualized on a set volume performance. In addition to the marketing investments show your investment and their return.
Samples and how do I present using Zoom or remote meeting formats?
Always send your best samples, packed in the best shipping container with plenty of protective packing material and ship in the quickest way possible, obviously if you have temperature sensitive product, ship with enough cool packs or dry ice for it to arrive in the best possible condition and at the right temperature. Remember some parts of the country get hot in summer, add extra cool packs, dry ice and or ship to arrive on a next day early morning timed delivery. Include POS/Sales Flyers, 2 hard copies of the presentation in an envelope/wallet away from any chance of getting wet or damp if chilled products. Make sure they arrive the day before the meeting at the very latest, most buying offices or buyers have storage space for 1 night.
How much time will I get to present my product?
For the most part you will have a 30-minute meeting window, to present your product, so prepare well, have all your answers and be prepared to sing for your dinner!
Will I get a decision there at the meeting?
Not usually, it depends on the buyer, the structure they work in and how good your product is, I have been in meetings where everything is done and agreed before you walk out the door, however, that is the exception, be prepared to follow up with more information if you haven’t answered all your buyers questions or confirm your proposal, with any tweaks you may have negotiated at the meeting.
When should I follow up?
My golden rule is always but always follow up within 24 hours of the meeting, yes that may mean working into the night to get all your follow up done, good for you, you want to be successful, follow up and do it quickly.
When should I stop selling?
Once you have sold the features and benefits, remember selling is explaining, as described in the Persuasive Selling Technique below, you should however, following the ABC rule:
Always Be Closing
Closing is just asking for the business, ask closed questions to get yes and no answers, ask open questions to generate dialogue.
I have been in many meetings over the years with colleagues who have been told by the buyer or the buying team to stop selling, but never have I been or anyone else has been told to stop closing, because the minute you have a yes shut up and say thank you!
What is the Persuasive Selling technique?
1 - Summarize the situation
(Setting the scene/background/market information)
2 - State the idea
(What you propose/your idea driven from your summary)
3 - Show how it works
(The features and benefits of your proposal/what is in it for them)
4 - Close (Ask for the business, simple, ask and shut up)
This style is more subtle and real, like you are having a conversation about something you are passionate about, buyers love passion as does anyone, its infectious and positive, so always be passionate and realistic and you will sell all day long!
Who is the best person to sell too?
In larger organizations there are buyers/procurement managers of services and products, they are your usual contacts, in smaller businesses that very often can be the owner, either way, early on in your dialogue with that potential customer, find out who the decision maker is, otherwise you can end up spinning your wheels and not getting anywhere.
There is additional route to work if you have the right opportunity and that is identifying and adopting a relationship with an ‘Influential Advocate’ as it states someone who believes in your product, business and you who has influence over the organization or business to a point where they will be selling internally to make it happen for you. But play this card carefully and rarely… it can sometimes backfire on you if they are truly not an influencer or there is a conflict with your buyer.
Now it’s all clear as mud, need more, please ask.
Thank you for taking our Creator to Consumer journey with us, we look forward to sharing more knowledge and ideas in future seasons here at Beach City Sales.
Interested in reading or finding out more about selling your passion or our Creator to Consumer series please visit our Chatter page at www.beachcitysales.com/blog and click on Creator to Consumer 1 & 2 or our general site at www.beachcitysales.com, for more direct interaction please e mail us at email@example.com
Remember, whatever you know “good luck keeping up”