You may be trying to sell your product, service, even ideas or yourself as a potential employee or consultant. In this post I will give you a generic way to approach formulating a strategy for sales.
I always like to begin a plan by asking a series of questions. This probing process helps unearth many truths that I can then use to formulate my plan. My favourite high level approach to answering the right questions is to consult my six wise men: why, where, when, what, who and how. These six wise men have served me well over the years. So let’s consult them as follows:
- Why would anyone buy your product or service?
- Why would they buy it from you and not someone else?
- Who would buy such a product?
- When would they buy it?
- How would they buy it?
- Where would they buy it?
- What configuration of your product would they buy? Why?
You could continue to drill down this approach and firing more why, where, when, what, who and how questions as you find answers. So for example to answer the second question above: Why would they buy it from you and not someone else? Your answer may be: “Because I am the only one in this town that offers this product and customers would have to travel another 100km to the next town to find someone else that carries it.”
That could lead to another question: What if the competitor decided to set up shop in town? Then why would they buy the product from you and not someone else?
Answering that question may not be an immediate need for your business strategy but may start the process of planning for competitors. The answer to this, depending on your product or service, could very well be: “because I will establish a loyalty program to ensure that my customers never need to switch providers. I will capture the entire local market.”
That could lead to the next question: “What would that loyalty program look like? How will it work? Why would anyone subscribe to it?” Which will lead to more answers.
This kind of research and brainstorming on paper is very useful ahead of any planning process. This will help you focus your thoughts towards specific results. Attempting to answer these questions ahead of time will not only help you plan better. It will also help you avoid many mistakes because you will have been aware and ready to handle specific situations.