Over the years, I have observed that sales occur in cycles, as do many things in our world. While I am not going full-out Lion King on you, there is some semblance of beauty in the “Circle of Sales”. To be most effective, a captive salesperson or rep firm must be planning for success with their vendor management team. You may call this method “Concentric Planning”, which starts by getting together and talking things out. Many times, the ideas generated by a group of people interacting will trump those of the individual, with new and improved concepts springing forth. Whether formulating sales programs, a product launch, or an overhaul of distribution, it all starts with getting with your business partners and planning for success. This is the “Huddle” phase of the process.
Call the Play & Execute – Agree Upon Your Specific Strategy
Once we have agreed upon a direction and chosen the best ideas to move forward with, we literally “call the play”. This means agreeing on a specific strategy and determining the tactics that will drive successful implementation. We now put the plan into motion and execute to the standards and specifications agreed upon. This means following directions, being consistent and comprehensive, and generally making the activity come to life as described. This is where the rubber meets the road, and where careful planning pays off in higher percentages of achieving sales and revenue goals.
Adjust – Examine Results and Refine the Process
Every play needs to be reviewed and analyzed after the fact – this is precisely why football teams will pore over the game films. We must take time to accurately measure the results of any endeavor and determine if adjustments should be made to improve future outcomes. “Concentric Selling” provides a predictable, repeatable process to follow, all designed to lower volatility and increase positive results.
CONCENTRIC SELLING = PLANNING FOR SUCCESS
- Huddle — get with your management team to plan
- Call the Play — agree upon the specific tactics
- Execute — make the call and put your plan to work
- Adjust — examine results and refine the process
Assess Inventory and Sell Through
A similar methodology occurs in the relationship between sales reps and reseller clients. Depending on the account profile, how you examine current inventory and sell-through may vary. The preferred scenario is receiving a report showing the assortment, current inventory levels and recent sales activity, and many retailers today have this information at their fingertips – just ask for a “velocity report” provided in Excel. Do not assume a dealer will not share this information, as most have moved to computer-based business tracking. For those that do not you will need to do it the old-fashioned way. This data is vital to the assessment stage and required to formulate a proper purchasing proposal.
Craft a Proposal That Replenishes and Expands
Once you have made the inventory assessment, a thoughtful proposal immediately follows. It is understood that in certain cases this happens right then and there at the retail store level, but more often this can and should be conducted via email by delivering a professionally prepared document. This is the time to not only replenish sold goods, but to also make cogent suggestions for expanding the assortment or adding a new viable category from your company product catalog.
Work with the Buyer to Make Required Adjustments
Some buyers may feel obliged to make modifications to the order proposal, and others may press for more favorable terms and conditions. This is expected and the next stage of the process. The last step after negotiating any changes is to finalize the order and deliver it to the supplier for acceptance. In a few short weeks, it will be time to return to step one and reassessment.
CONCENTRIC SELLING = ORDER PROCESS
- Assess current dealer inventory
- Craft Proposal that replenishes and expands
- Work with buyer to make required adjustments
- Collect the purchase order and “deliver the goods”
You can always expect curve balls thrown your way, whether a vendor, sales representative, or retailer. Working together in this organized fashion helps to smooth out the rough spots, and at the very least provides a roadmap to follow on this wonderful journey we make together, selling musical dreams!