Knowing what will be sold this month and the following month is an important part of doing business. It enables stock control and helps companies supply services and resources necessary for fulfilling customer orders.
If you understand where each of your customers are in the selling cycle, it’ll be easy for you to know what orders you’ll receive in the current week or month and in subsequent months.
By following the 7 steps of the sale and asking questions of your customer, you’ll know if it’s likely they’ll be placing the order with you.
If you’re expecting to receive the sales order in the current month then it’s reasonable to expect that you can answer the following questions:
• Does the proposed product satisfy all the customer’s requirements?
• Does the proposed after-sale service satisfy the customer’s requirements?
• Does the proposed payment method satisfy the customer’s requirements?
• Is the customer happy with the proposed expenditure required?
• By when does the customer need to make a decision?
• Does the customer exclusively make the decision within their organization?
• What is the customer’s approval process?
• If not you, what competitor is most likely to receive the order and why?
Only when you know the answers to each of these questions can you include the customer on a sales forecast list.
You’ll establish the answers over the course of the 7 steps of the sale by asking the right questions and doing your job properly.
Don’t guess or hope to get lucky by confusing a sales forecast list with a wish list. They are two very different things.
In business, we don’t deal in wish lists. Your sales forecast is a list of potential sales orders.
There’s no need to make it any more complicated by documenting the probability in terms of percentages of success for each potential sale.
Whether you’re 70% or 99% sure of getting the pending sales order is irrelevant. If you missed out on the sale the end result is the same.
If you don’t know if you’ll be receiving the order then it’s a pretty safe bet to assume that you’ll not be getting the sale.
Have a list of potential sales and focus your activity on these each month – this is at the heart of what you do.
Remember, not being sure of what you’ll sell is not an option. It’s also a clear sign that you’re not in control of your role.