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When I read the quote below, I came to the realisation that we might not be leveraging a ‘hidden’ resource which can actually serve us well in attracting new opportunities to our business.

“I have always said that everyone is in sales. Maybe you don't hold the title of salesperson, but if the business you are in requires you to deal with people, you, my friend, are in sales.” Zig Ziglar (American author, salesman and motivational speaker)

Here are five ways to leverage non-sales staff to sell:

  • Educate staff that everybody is in sales – The best way to do this is to set an example from the top. Does the management team engage actively with clients? This will go a long way to spur non-sales staff into action as well. Client engagement is firstly and foremostly a mindset and secondly knowing how to engage with clients in respect of the product/service value proposition of your business. Basic knowledge about the value proposition of your business will help to match a client need to an appropriate product/service.
  • Look for opportunities – The marketing staff might pick up consumer trends or competitor information whilst they are scanning the external environment and considering options to include in their marketing mix. There should be a direct line of communication between the marketing and the sales departments.
  • What do the statistics say? The finance department has access to previous client purchases made on credit. By doing an analysis per client, it can be determined what up- or cross-sell opportunities might be available to pursue. There should be a direct line of communication between the finance and the sales departments.
  • Incentivise referrals which lead to business – People almost always do what you pay them to do. Implement an incentive program paying between 10 and 20% of the sales fee as a referral fee for any internal referrals which lead to a sale. Also give public recognition to non-sales staff who gave referrals which lead to new business closure.
  • Include a sales/referral target in everybody`s Key Performance Indicator (KPI) contract – It will also not do any harm to have a generic sales/referral target linked to the KPI contract of all non-sales staff. A 10% weighting should suffice.

When it comes to business success, it should be a case of “all hands on deck”. Once our staff understand that the existence of their jobs depends on sales and they are co-responsible for it, it will support the behaviour needed to act as a sales organisation.

To support business owners with the important task of business planning, Sanlam gives you free access to the book Your Annual Business Game Plan for Success, which provides an easy and straight forward framework needed to draft a well-crafted game plan that will create the positive change and growth necessary for business success

Go to to download your free copy.

Article written by Jannie Rossouw, Head: Sanlam Business Market



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