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Why the federal government should be teaching businesses how to sell

- July 28, 2020 3 MIN READ
sales

Between JobKeeper, Loan Guarantee Schemes, training incentives, better insolvency processes, and grants galore, there are plenty of ways small businesses can access government subsidies and loans right now. But there is still no government initiative or program to support business owners in turning their businesses around with better sales strategies, sales, revenue and cash flow. writes Ethical Sales & Business Growth Expert, Sue Barrett.

While JobKeeper has been a very important and necessary scheme to help stave off immediate business closures and job losses for the short term, it’s not designed to last forever. Loan Guarantee Schemes, with the best of intentions, won’t and don’t solve poor strategy and sales revenue issues either. Who’s going to lend any money to businesses with no or poor sales, or no viable go-to-market strategy?  Any self-respecting SME cannot and shouldn’t borrow more money if they don’t have some certainty about where their business opportunities, customers, and sales revenue is going to come from now and into the future.

And better insolvency practices should be in place for good times and bad regardless. These are only a last resort when nothing else works.

What SMEs need now is revenue and cash flow and lots of it. To get revenue and cash flow they need to be working and selling into viable customer market segments and supply chains where customers are buying.

If small businesses want to avoid bankruptcy and stay in business for all the right reasons, they need access to the right support, ideally enabled by government-funded programs, that deliver specific education, content, tools, coaching and advice. Including advice on how they can:

  1. Assess their business’ viability in their current markets and whether they need to switch or stay
  2. Identify and prioritise viable markets and customer segments to pursue for business and sales growth
  3. Make informed decisions about whether they can or should stay in business or not, and if so how they will do that through proactive sales and marketing campaigns
  4. Develop, then execute a Rapid Sales and Business Growth Action Plan for immediate implementation
  5. Learn how to continue to implement and deliver sales and business growth strategies that lead to a sales revenue lead recovery for their businesses

What we need is a proactive sales-led recovery to get us through this crisis. Why?

Because the quickest way to turn any business around is to get their client-facing people proactively engaging with real customers in viable markets talking about real opportunities for all the right reasons. This is what drives sales growth and keeps the economy alive. Selling is a human to human interaction (remote or in-person) and it’s about building trusted relationships. It’s also a numbers game. It’s where opportunity gets ignited and realised. Over 60 years of empirical research shows that those who proactively engage with customers and sell on a consistent basis are, on average, 5 times more productive than their hesitant colleagues. It’s where the money is.

However, very few small businesses understand the profession and function of selling as their business’ dynamic engine room of customer relationships, revenue and business growth. Even fewer know how to prospect and sell effectively or even want to acknowledge selling because of its negative stereotypes ‘we don’t sell’ mentality. So they reach for marketing yet marketing initiatives alone will not get most businesses out of their sales revenue slumps. Instead, what if we help small business owners to stop floundering and struggling with random acts of sales and help them implement a proactive, coordinated sales effort locally and internationally. How will that that affect our economy? More sales mean more revenue, means more jobs, means more tax revenue and so on.

For too long, selling has been left off the government’s business agenda and ignored, which is why we need to raise everyone’s awareness about what the selling profession does for business, for jobs, and for the economy and start educating SMEs at the very least on how to sell, ethically and effectively. Because without buyers and sellers we do not have businesses, jobs or a viable economy.

We need to have a national government-funded education program and a national dialogue about selling, acknowledging that selling is everybody’s business, and everybody lives by selling. Because selling is the vehicle that allows an opportunity to flourish and people to prosper and isn’t that what we all want at the end of the day?

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