A truly 21st century business need only look to the app store for the plethora of tools available for how to measure and improve sales performance. Time-honoured habits still inform these new-age tools and much like your photo skills, the habits need learning. Luckily or not, however, these apps are user friendly.
Here are a few below to check out:
- Evernote. This is not strictly a sales tool but in term of organisation and keeping track, it’s one of the best.
- Google Drive. If you’re using Gmail and like to work on spreadsheets then Google’s suite of apps including Drive (which is collaborative) is hard to better.
- Zoho. A customer tracking tool that comes free with a mobile app, as well as being one of the more established. Plus you can add up to 10 users.
- Salesforce. This is the software used most widely in large businesses but they also have a small business version to help track sales performance.
A small business is by its very nature agile and business tools like these apps enable an extremely fluid approach. This may be counterintuitive to someone looking to establish their bricks-and-mortar business but, particularly as a photographer attending events or on location, enabling the business to operate independently to, or alongside, a rigid office-bound structure is a hugely positive step forward.
Sales is a process that is in constant flux – people need chasing, new details updating on your contact lists, proposals created, new avenues to be explored.
However you choose to run things, be that sophisticated sales software, a simple excel spreadsheet or a trusty black book, you still need a plan to stick to and enable change if necessary. This involves a strategy everyone understands and, going back to our SMART objectives.
- Be realistic. If you are a one-man band then your output will not be as large as a bigger set-up; stands to reason. Your sales depend on what you can reasonably deliver, without impacting on the quality of work. Be honest and set a target which you can expect to achieve, knowing that anything beyond that is a bonus.
- Things change. Your wedding bookings may go through the roof but your online sales of prints have hardly moved the dial. You may have expected the opposite to happen, in which case the strategy needs reviewing and tweaking to counter this.
- Be decisive. We talked about agility before but this becomes harder the more established you are. It’s easy to shoulder-shrug and hope that things work out, harder to be brave and push in another direction. Being decisive creates positive energy and clears the mind.
- Get advice or outsource. The strategic route for a creative business would suggest that sales and other non-creative skills need a different expertise to cover them off. You may be a dab hand at everything which is great in one respect, but as a focus for your business it’s perhaps not so great. As with apps, there are some great freelance options and companies offering services to take these jobs on.
- Try! If you fail, learn and move on. If you don’t try different sales tactics, you will never know.
Sales is a process that is in constant flux – people need chasing, new details updating on your contact lists, proposals created, new avenues to be explored. Having systems to manage sales performance is crucial.