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Many business owners know that their business can be successful through sales. How to develop a successful sales plan.

This part of your sales is very important. So often I encounter solo-entrepreneurs who either don’t want to do this step or they really son’t see the point of it. Believe me, even if you are going to jump into the Social Media arena, this is very pertinent. Otherwise, you will find yourself shouting and not being targeted to the audience that you want to reach and the audience who will hear your message.

They might count on random acts of networking, lunches out, occasional lunch or dinner meetings, phone contacts, and some follow-up to stay in touch.
However, to be successful an actual plan of action needs to be created. A plan that is written out, reviewed and followed. If your plan isn’t working then change it, but do have a plan. The following steps are activities that will help you start developing your sales plan.

Step 1: Who is your ideal client or customer?

This is a step that is so often missed. It is often one of the most challenging steps when building a sales plan. However, if you complete this step, then the rest is done with a lot less struggle.

You cannot be all things to all people. Or serve everyone. Once you pick an area to specialize, then work with that area. As you develop that area you will become an expert in your business. More success will come to you once you decide to focus on a specialization.

Who is your ideal client?
• Is there a dollar amount of sales they have achieved – is there an age group of a company that you want to do business with?
• Is there a growth stage?
• Size? Industry? Geographic area?
• Number of employees? Family members important?
• Who is the person you need to deal with – CEO – Owner, – Dept head, etc
• Is it an individual? Age requirement or limit?
• Marital status? (for individual clients)
• Occupation? (for individual clients)
• Income? (for individuals)
• Location – where do they live? Is this important?

Once your have selected your ideal client or customer then figure out your principles. How are you going to serve your clients?

Step 2: What are your principle-based commitments to your clients?

You can choose important principles to guide your client’s relationships. Principles that will help you make firm commitments to your clients. This exercise will inspire your clients and referral partners that you begin to develop and will increase your enthusiasm for your work.

1. Make a list of your principles that you believe are important. These could be: customer service, confidentiality, security, competency, quality, on-time delivery, respect etc.
2. Then list the commitments or guidelines that you would be willing to make to your clients.

It is a good idea that not only you, as a business owner that is just starting out, but also your salespeople each fill out a plan of action. That way there is more accountability on behalf of the salesperson to achieve the principals he has set for himself to commit to.

This was previously published on CanadaOne’s Magazine.. Written by me, in a former life.