Your guide to wedding and lifestyle vendors.


Turn your leads into business

By Errol van der Merwe

As a highly experienced sales performance specialist, I spent many years in corporate sales positions – from managing executive levels to starting my own performance consultancy company fifteen years ago. Lockdown posed its own unique challenges, so I started a second consultancy, based on the demand for online and remote services and helping companies manage their sales performance issues.


If you want to learn more intensively about turning your leads into business and get the opportunity to engage with a specialist in this field, please join us on the Business Sales Workshop-day. But for now, follow these five easy steps to ensure your business sales success:

STEP 1: Be sure that you know your business back to front

When people buy from businesses, they don’t only expect good service, products, and quality, but also someone who can provide them with meaningful advice. You can’t advise a person how to take the best photographs, how to decorate their house, or offer the best stay-over at a hotel if you don’t truly know what makes that business or that specific environment tick. Know your business and what customers expect, and then you will say the right things to make them attractive.

STEP 2: Provide an outstanding customer service experience

Customer experience differs from good service. Good service simply means that ‘if you buy something I will deliver it today’ and then you actually do that, or that you are buying something from me and it will taste fantastic, or it is going to be of good quality. A customer experience is when everything you do – from the moment they engage on your website, until they meet you and talk to you on the phone, and how you respond if something goes wrong – makes customers say: “I want to do business with only this person”. That is customer experience and you’ve actively got to plan how you engage with customers, so that they love what you do. A good example of this is going to a restaurant that truly blows you away with their ambience, decoration, cuisine, presentation, and of course the service of the people.

STEP 3: Know the market in your area

How crowded is the market for the product or service you want to sell? I don’t care if you make the best cupcakes in the Southern Hemisphere – if there are 20 other people in your neighbourhood or town doing the same thing, you will struggle to make a living. And it is not because you don’t produce superior stuff; it is just because the market is so crowded. So, please make sure when you are trying to turn leads into business, that there is space for you to make a worthwhile living from your sales with your brand or product of business.

STEP 4: Consider what your competitors are doing

A critical component of business success is understanding your competitors’ market: who they market it to, what they’re good at, what they’re bad at, how their product looks, etc, so that you have a sales pitch that can be easily discerned by people as superior to what the competitors are doing. You cannot be selling blindly and totally ignorant of what the competitors are doing in the market. Your leads to business strategy must be specifically built around how you can differentiate your service, your customer experience, and of course your product against the competitors that operate in your particular environment.

STEP 5: Have a budget

Please do the homework! If you are starting up this business because you have left your real job, or you have been retrenched, please calculate how many cupcakes you must sell to pay the rent. I see so many people in start-up businesses that have no clue as to how much they must sell to generate a living wage or a sustainable income. So, please know how much it costs you to make a cupcake, how much can you sell it for, and then how many you need to sell to make enough profit to keep the lights on at your home, to pay your car at the end of the month, and to keep your children in school. You must have a budget.

On the topic of finances – you must also have a sales forecast. You can start with something as simple as an Excel spreadsheet. At the top of the spreadsheet, list the next twelve months and then write down a number of how much you need to sell to make a living, because once you set that target that says: “I’ve got to sell R20 000,00 worth of goods and services this month”, only then you can start formulating a plan of action to ensure success.

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