This sales article is directed primarily to those who sell products and services to businesses.  

There are two main avenues to increasing your sales. First, find more customers to buy your products.  Second, encourage your current customers to buy more. In the first case, there is no guarantee your sales will increase.  You may have more customers, but they may not buy more. In the second case, if your customers buy more, you will sell more.  How do you get them to buy more? They can increase their inventories or they can sell more to their customers. I believe that if your customers thought they could sell more, they would already be doing it.  

Several years ago I had a client who was responsible for finding new agents to sell their financial services products.  He was doing an excellent job in signing up agents to represent them. Every month he added dozens of new agents. Month after month, the number of agents increased dramatically and every month, sales remained about the same.  All his efforts to recruit new agents were having a negligible effect on sales; we changed our focus. Think about it. What good is a customer who doesn’t buy? We put our focus on teaching the agents how to effectively sell the financial products.  Sales started to go through the roof. Teaching your customers how to sell may possibly be the best thing you can do to increase your sales. When they sell more, they buy more from you!

Several weeks ago, I shared the concept of teaching customers how to sell, with one of my clients.  For him, bringing on new dealers is a slow and deliberate process. We wanted to see his sales increase in the near term, but new dealers were a long-term proposition.  The only option was to generate more sales with the current dealers. My client went to work teaching his current dealers how to sell. They were very open-minded and willing to learn.  As they learned, they applied the techniques and skills they had been taught. One salesperson closed a sale he had been working on for a couple of years and stated that it was due to a sales principle he had just learned to apply correctly.  My client will probably double his sales this year from teaching his customers how to improve their sales. They in turn, will remain loyal customers due to the impact the sales training has had on their sales performance and their subsequent commission checks.

I remember the oft-told saying, “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day.  Teach him how to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.”  You can have the same impact on your customers.  Find a way to help them do the one thing that will have a profound impact on their bottom line profits.  Teach them how to sell. We have been implementing a training program for the past couple of years at the Business Performance Group.  It is called “Client Development.” The Client Development program was developed and written with the express purpose of teaching customers how to improve their sales.  If you want to double your sales this year, teach your customers how to improve their sales. By the way, my client who taught his agents how to improve their sales, was rewarded by being made a partner in the financial services company.