For many companies, outsourcing some or all of the sales duties makes a lot of financial sense as the cost to train, employ, and manage a sales staff in-house is an expensive endeavor. Additionally, new product launches or seasonal fluctuations may require only a temporary increase in sales staff that wouldn't warrant hiring new employees. Small business entrepreneurs with sales experience can take advantage of this opportunity by providing sales outsourcing. By providing services on a contractual basis, an outsourcing company fills a need at a competitive price.
Items you will need
- Business plan
- Phone and fax lines
- Office supplies
- Sales management system
Before undertaking any business venture, it is necessary to complete a business plan. Follow the guidelines on the Small Business Administration's website (www.sba.gov) to outline how your business will function and to determine the services you will provide and how you will market them. Your plan also should include financial projections for startup costs, operating expenses and expected revenues. Meet with both an accountant and a lawyer to determine the necessary paperwork involved in staring the business. Contact an insurance agent to obtain a business insurance policy.
Find a location for an office. For smaller operations, the setup could be as simple as a home office. For larger businesses, however, find office spaces for lease or sale in the area you will do business. If you plan to do telephone sales, the location does not need to be fancy, but if you plan to have clients visiting the office, consider the visual appeal of your workplace.
Unless you plan to be a one-person show, you will need to hire staff. When hiring employees, consider your own strengths and weaknesses. If you are great at selling but not as good at managing money, hire an office manager to oversee the business's finances. If you do plan to hire salespeople other than yourself, look for people who are outgoing, well-spoken, and motivated. To determine if an applicant has these traits, consider doing some role-playing during the interview process to simulate a typical sales call.
During your business planning process determine the niche you'd like to serve. Begin looking in this niche for potential clients. Good potential clients will have a strong need for sales growth and a good product or service. Select companies with good reputations so you don't become associated with a bad business reputation.
Approach potential clients about outsourcing sales. This is where your marketing plan comes into play. Know where your target market looks for their business solutions and market in those areas. For example, if your potential clients are all located in a large city, choose a local newspaper or event to reach them. If your clients are spread nationally, but in the same industry, consider trade publications or national conferences.
Ask for the sale. This is where your sales skills will be tested. If you are going to ask a company president to outsource sales needs to you, do a good job of selling your services first. Explain how you can help, what you can offer that your competitors can't, and how contracting with your company will increase their sales.
For each company you do business with, develop a list of potential leads. You can do this by using a sales lead generator like Sales Genie. If your business is local, use your knowledge of the area or industry. Identify these prospects and put them into your sales management system.
Call prospects and pitch them for the company you represent. Start by sharing a little about the company you represent or their product or service. Always convey enthusiasm and have a positive attitude. Explain how this product or service would help their business and why the product or service you're selling is a good deal. Let the prospect talk too, though, and answer their questions. When you've answered their questions, ask for the sale. It's generally good to offer a special rate or added incentiveat the end of the call to get them to commit on the spot, or at the very least, commit to another conversation.
Once you or your staff close a sale, you will need a system of paperwork to track the order and transfer that information to the company for which you are selling. There also needs to be a system to track your fees for the transaction, whether it is based on commission or a flat fee. Keep your paperwork and finances in order so you don't lose clients before you get a foothold.
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