Sales Guide: How To Find Out What’s Wrong And Then Fix It

Sales cures all. It's quite a statement, since it's both true and powerful. However, it makes it seem like it's such an easy thing to do in order to turn your business around and dig it out of a hole, or to take it to new levels.

In this article, we are going to explore in depth how to troubleshoot your business's sales, which will then give you insight into what you need to do to improve your business. It's just one part of the process that you can use in order to grow your business.

What Is Sales?

When you look at the big picture of a business, you can break it down into two categories:

  1. Sales
  2. Fulfillment

Of course, the sales side is closing the customer or client on the product or service, and fulfillment is everything that comes after the sale is made.

There's just one problem, the word sales is very ambiguous. How do you go about curing your "sales" problems? There are many different schools of thought out there on sales processes.

That's why it's important to go one step deeper. A better model for sales is to break it down into three categories so that you can diagnose further what is happening. The three categories for sales are:

  1. Prospecting
  2. Appointment Setting
  3. Closing

We can relate these three to an analogy of finding a gold mine, getting our people and equipment to that gold mine, and finally extracting actual gold from the mine. Let's go take a closer look at each of these categories to see how they work.


Prospecting covers the full area of defining your customers, finding out where your customers hang out, and then getting their attention.

In today's complex business world, this comes in many forms from direct mail, cold calling, television and radio ads, networking, etc all the way to digital methods which include cold emailing, social media marketing, pay per click ads, and search engine optimization.

You're probably asking, well then, which one of the marketing methods should I be using?

Instead, ask where is my target customer and how do I get access to them. Then list the different methods that will give you access to your target customer. Prioritize the list based on how much it will cost you and how much time it will require. Then go out and actively start testing the methods, working from the top of your list down.

Appointment Setting

Appointment setting is either getting on a potential customer's schedule in order to present your product or service, or getting them to come to your store (either scheduled or not). It's basically getting the ability to have a section of time where you have the person's attention.

The key to great appointment setting is having a full agenda of how the potential prospect first interacts with your business and a defined process that gets them interested in your products or services enough where they want to learn more about them.

The next element of appointment setting is solid logistics. Do you have a good method for booking appointments and then having the right people and information show up on time, prepared, and performing well for those slots in time?

It sounds easy, but everyday life complexities usually cause a lot of problems here. Are your people trained properly and are they set up with the right resources to perform? Are reschedules handled correctly?


Once you have a prospect, you have scheduled an appointment with them, and now you or your sales people are in front of them, what happens? This stage is what most people usually refer to as sales, but as we can see, if you haven't prospected and set appointments properly, you never even get the chance to close potential clients.

Closing comes down to a transference of emotions, and successfully navigating what Jordan Belfort calls the straight line approach. Other sales experts also refer to it as walking the tight rope (and not falling off).

I just call it successfully matching desired value with deliverable value. The prospect wants a solution to a problem, you now have their attention, and you want to show them how your product/service does that perfectly, and all within the price range that the customer wants to pay. When those things align just right, you have a close.


Some issues that get revealed in the closing stage are NBAT, or Needs, Budget, Authority, and Timing. However, just because NBAT problems show up during closing, doesn't mean that's where they started. Typically, you should be qualifying these issues in your prospects early on, since it's a severe waste of time if they get exposed in the final closing stage.

For example, how many times have your people pitched prospects, only to find out that they don't even need the product or service? How about the customer telling you that your offering is way out of their price range?

Or better yet, that they need to get their boss to clear a purchase like this? The worst one can even be everything is perfect, but they either already bought from your competitor, or they can't commit until next year.


Now comes the good part. By breaking down sales into the three categories that we just went over, we gain a huge advantage in being able to troubleshoot why our business may not be performing or won't seem to move to the next level of performance.

So what's the best way to troubleshoot? Start at closing and work your way back. Check out the sales troubleshooting map below to see where a problem might be occurring:

What To Do Next

After you use the troubleshooting map, you are going to uncover your first sales issue. The best thing to do is to work on that issue and resolve it and then go through the troubleshooting process again to see if you can find any more issues.

Most businesses have a few issues going on at the same time. In fact, many issues are hidden because things further up the pipeline are busted and not working. When those things get fixed, then it opens up the potential for previously hidden problems to become obvious.

Some common hiccups are when businesses don't use the proper marketing channels for prospecting, or their approach is off.

Also, you should be leveraging modern day CRM software to manage your prospects and appointment setting. Otherwise, you are bound to run into logistics problems that good ole fashioned pen, paper, and a calendar just can't keep up with. People forget and make mistakes, software doesn't.

As far as closing issues, the best performing teams are the ones that openly share what is working. Of course you want natural competition between your sales people, but you also want them to grow with each other too. That's why it's critical that they are openly sharing winning techniques so that they can continue to up their game as every one of them continues to get better over time.

If you need help troubleshooting your sales problems, don't hesitate to reach out to get some help. All you have to do is book an appointment by clicking the button below, or give me a call and I'll take it from there.