On My Quest for the Best, I’ve interviewed hundreds of published authors and business experts.
Let me summarize some of the best ideas, strategies, tactics, and tools in the area of sales, specifically for small business leaders.
A small business is different from a startup with one or two people and unproven sales. Small businesses at any stage, by metrics in the United States, are those managing a P/L of under $500 MM or including fewer than 500 FTEs.
- By starting off defining sales, it is important to make these distinctions:
- Industry Leaders and Sources for Sales Effectiveness
- Zig Ziglar from Alabama, United States, was an American author, sales expert, and thought leader.
- Neal Rackman is an Academic and pioneer from the United Kingdom best known for his writings about consultative selling.
- David Sandler is a leading sales expert, best-selling author, and the founder of the Sandler organization.
- David Mattson, a top sales expert from Maryland is the CEO of Sandler Training.
- Featured Interviews on Sales
By starting off defining sales, it is important to make these distinctions:
- Sales work with marketing and are distinct from marketing. Marketing involves identifying leads and prospecting for leads, moving people along the journey from suspect to prospect to lead. Sales pick up when the lead begins to ask questions about his or her specific situation and how the solution would solve a problem that meets a current need.
- As a business function, sales is responsible for generating top-line revenue from the exchange of funds for products or services.
- 10 metrics that are commonly tracked in sales include:
- Cost per lead (CPL) – the amount it costs to acquire a prospective customer.
- Cost per acquisition (CPA) – take the marketing costs and divide them by the number of new customers gained during a month, quarter, or another period.
- Close-ratio: the percent of offers that are accepted and closed.
- Average deal size – the average of all sales made during a period of time.
- Customer Lifetime Value – what a new customer is worth to the company based not just on the first purchase, but on the full range of purchases forecast.
- Gross revenue – total revenue before expenses are deducted.
- Net Revenue – the difference between gross revenue and the CPA.
- Profit – What remains after costs are subtracted from your revenue is your profit. Gross profit is the Gross Revenue minus the Cost of Goods Sold. Another important metric is Net Profit, or the Gross Profit subtracting all interest; income and payroll taxes; and mortgage, utility or rent expenses of the business during the period.
- EBITA – earnings before interest, taxes, and amortization. Investors also use EBITDA, including the depreciation of assets into this metric.4
Industry Leaders and Sources for Sales Effectiveness
Zig Ziglar from Alabama, United States, was an American author, sales expert, and thought leader.
One of the best-known sales motivators and authors in the last 50 years, Zig Ziglar’s work broke new ground. I met Zig Ziglar at an NSA Conference and in his 80’s he was even more dynamic, persuasive, and electric in person than he comes across in his recorded materials. From 1970 to 2010, he traveled over five million miles across the world delivering powerful life improvement messages, and authored more than 30 books, some of the most popular and pertinent ones I’ve listed below.
Neal Rackman is an Academic and pioneer from the United Kingdom best known for his writings about consultative selling.
He researched 35,000 sales calls in over 20 countries to understand the sales process and then codified it into SPIN Selling, where each phase is represented by the letters in its name: Situation, Process, Implication, and Need. Along with many others, I credit Neal Rackman with bringing sales from art that required a force of personality for success to science that could increase your odds of success by understanding how to meet the expectations and needs of the buyer at each stage process.
David Sandler is a leading sales expert, best-selling author, and the founder of the Sandler organization.
In the late 1960s, David Sandler took his frustration with the “old school” high-pressure sales tactics and went to a psychologist to devise a new method, based on scientific principles of asking clarifying questions, qualifying the prospect to make the process more efficient, and effective decision-making, with mutual respect between the salesperson and the prospect – a revolutionary approach at the time.
David Mattson, a top sales expert from Maryland is the CEO of Sandler Training.
Dave, who I met through My Quest for the Best, began working and being mentored by David Sandler over 30 years ago. Today, under the leadership of Dave Mattson, Sandler is the worldwide leader in sales and leadership development with 250+ locations in 30+ countries and 15+ languages delivering over 500,000 hours of training each year.
Sales Resources on My Quest for the Best
On My Quest for the Best with Bill Ringle, the podcast for ambitious small business leaders, I have had the pleasure and privilege of meeting and learning from world-class authorities on the topic of sales. Enjoy and learn from the interviews featured below for their relevance and authority.
Featured Interviews on Sales
Business growth expert Alex Goldfayn and Bill Ringle discuss the four pillars of effective sales and some of the key reasons that business development and salespeople overcomplicate and add inefficiencies into the process, and what you can do about it to improve your sales quickly.
Strategic sales expert Amy Franko and Bill Ringle discuss the ideas of the five modern selling skill sets that help small business leaders and others responsible for top-line growth rise above the competition.
Visionary leader David Mattson and BIll Ringle discuss some of the crucial blind spots to building a successful business, as well as the 6 phases of the Excellence Process: Planning, Positions, People, Processes, Performetrics, Passion.
Consulting expert David Fields talks with Bill Ringle on My Quest for the Best about how connecting with clients means recognizing that when it comes to consulting, it’s not about you.