By Leigh Ashton, Author and Sales Consultant

As a business owner there will be stuff you absolutely love doing in your business...and then there’s the ‘other stuff’. If the ‘other stuff’ includes sales, you have a problem!

Most business owners I talk with are absolutely passionate about their business and just don’t have the time, inclination or skill to give the same passion to generating sales. They all have cash flow problems!

It’s simple...generate more leads and convert more sales and your business is more profitable.

There are 5 Keys to Sales Success that focus on you...the business owner. So often I hear things like “It’s down to the economy”, “The competition is driving down prices” and “Nobody is spending any money”. If you say stuff like this to yourself, you’re blaming something or someone else for your lack of sales. Nothing to do with you right?

Firstly you must accept responsibility that it’s down to you in some way. The minute you believe your own excuses you give away your power...and become a victim!

These 5 Keys to Sales Success will keep you on track and help you identify what you need to focus on in order to generate the sales you want.

Are you ready to accept that you could be part of the problem? Then read on!

1. Know your Outcome
What do you want? Be specific. ‘More sales’ isn’t specific enough. How many more customers? What kind of customers do you want? What specific volume of sales? What level of sales would give you the lifestyle you want? What’s the timeframe? Spend some quality time focussing on what this is for you.

If you don’t know what you want, any road will do — and that’s not good enough for your business.

It’s also important that you state what you want rather than what you don’t want. You get what you focus on so focus on the good stuff! If you come up with stuff that you don’t want, switch it around so it becomes a positive outcome.

2. Take Action!
Dithering and avoiding the issue, gets you nowhere. Being busy isn’t always productive. Stop the unimportant activity that gets in your way. If you want sales you MUST take action to get them.

What do you need? More leads? Higher conversion rate? What action can you take to get more of what you want? What skills do you already have? What skills do you need to bring in? If you have a lack of funds to pay experts then find other ways to get help. Swap skills or collaborate and partner with others.

3. Increase your Awareness
What’s the impact of your activity? Is it moving you closer to your goal or further away?

If you’re not getting the results you want, stop doing what you’re doing. Don’t keep doing something in the hope it will eventually work. These are fast changing times. What used to work for you many not anymore. What didn’t work for you in the past may well work now.

It’s so important to continually test and measure the results your activity is generating so that you know what to do more of and what to either ditch or reduce.

4. Be Flexible
If what you’re doing isn’t working...do something else. If that doesn’t work, do something else again. Keep tweaking and refining on an ongoing basis until you get the result you want.

Many companies are doing really well in these challenging economic times precisely because they’ve shown the continued ability to change and adapt within their sector.

5. Rapport
It’s so important to get into rapport with everyone. You never know how each person will impact on your level of sales success. As they say in Hollywood “Be nice to everyone on the way up because you never know who you’ll meet on the way down”. I mean everyone...from the person that answers the phone to the buyer you want to impress. Your own team too — people will work a lot harder for a boss that they like!

Some people think that rapport is asking a buyer how his family are before embarking on a sales pitch. That is definitely not rapport!

Make it your business to understand rapport and to perfect the skill of generating it.

The 5 Keys to Sales Success is a template for sales achievement. Know them, follow them, continually review your business and sales efforts against them — and you will achieve the sales success your efforts deserve.