- Since it’s Friday, its a good time to plan next week. As you plan next week’s calls can you answer:1. What are you going to accomplish at each call?
2. Who you want to see?
3. What are you going to say?
4. What are you planning to sell to them?
5. How much time are you planning to spend at each call?
6. How do you plan to follow up with each call?
Too often we tend to wing it. Without a clear call plan you have little hope of moving each account forward.
Take the time to plan each call and answer these simple questions. All it takes is self discipline.
We’re talking about results and results mean more money in your pocket. You’ll plan a party… you’ll plan a vacation… Plan your work. It’s money in your pocket.
- Three Ways to Get Things Done
Unlike no other professional, sales is a results oriented game. There is no room to relax or slack off. You are judged by one single thing… Results! Here are three simple steps to follow, whether you are planning a company, a territory or a sales call.1. Know what you want to accomplish – This is no place to be vague. The key to success is being specific. Chose a specific goal to be the focus of your plan. Make sure that you consider the consequences
of what will happen if you accomplish that goal. Clearly think through what you plan to do. Make your goal meaningful and not just surface or superficial.
2. Learn what it will take to achieve it – Examine what it will take to achieve your goal. Identify the specific skills and steps that will lead to the achievement of your goal. Make the necessary steps to change to
accomplish your goal.
3. Set deadlines – Without a deadline, you’ll drift aimlessly. The pressure you create with a deadline will keep you focused and moving forward step by step to achieve that goal. However keep in mind to set
realistic deadlines that provides you with the necessary time to achieve that goal.
One other point to consider when you create goals and deadlines is that you don’t overwhelm yourself. Goals that are too ambitious can prove to be stressful and unattainable. IBM built a highly successful sales strategy upon the principle that “Success builds success.” They set small attainable goals for their sales force that were easily obtainable. The sense of success made the next and subsequent steps easier to attain. When you follow these three steps, perhaps you should consider breaking your goals into sub goals and then work
at achieving the sub goals one step at a time until your ultimate goal is achieved. The point is to produce results and build on your success.
- Before the End of the Day…
Before you finish your business today there are two things that you should do:
1. Write Down Three Objectives for Tomorrow.
Three objectives a day will help you to progress on a regular basis. Anymore than three and you’ll tend to get bogged down.
Setting objectives at the end of the day allows you to focus on what needs to be done. Your mind is in the work mode and focused on what needs to be accomplished. If you wait until the morning, you need to jump start yourself and get yourself in the work mode. You’ll have forgotten the thrust and direction of the prior day. This will provide direction, keep you focused and provide a jump off point for the new day.
2. Write Down One Objective for Each Sales Call for Tomorrow.
Too often we walk into a sales call without a specific objective. More often our objective is “to see how things are going” or “to find out if you need to order something.”
Try this. Set a specific obtainable objective that keeps the buying process moving forward or builds the business. Your objective should be action oriented. It’s purpose is to gain a commitment by your customer to action. Objectives might be
getting specific answers to questions or feedback on pending issues. It might be getting a commitment to a product test or a sales presentation. Whatever the reason, move your customer forward a step or two at a time.
Do This for the Next Thirty Days.
Do this for the next thirty days and you’ll turn these tips into a habit. If you do, they’ll increase your productivity and you’ll close more business. It takes the discipline to get through the first month. After that you’ll do them automatically.
- A Reason for Every Call
Every sales call should have an objective. Every sales person thinks the one and only objective is to close the sale. Unfortunately that only happens in a perfect world. There are several possible sales objectives that you could achieve. The list includes:1. Close the sale.
2. Get another appointment.
3. Qualify the prospect.
4. Build a relationship with the customer or prospect.
5. Gather information.
6. Gain a commitment.
7. Get yourself qualified and listed as an approved vendor.
No matter how successful you are as a sales person, you are not beyond pre-planning your sales calls. This list provides you with some initial direction for establishing your next sales call objective.
- Pre-Call Planning
Visualize each sales call before you walk in the door. The most successful sales professionals take the time to plan their calls rather than wing it as they walk through the door. Use the following questions as a framework of your pre-call planning:1. Why are you making this sales call?
2. What is the objective of this call?
3. Is your call objective specific, measurable, attainable, realistic
and time bound?
4. Who are you going to see?
5. What is their influence in the buying decision?
6. What are you going to present?
7. How are you going to make your presentation?
8. Why should the customer buy from you?
9. What visual aids and testimonials do you plan you use?
10. What objections do you anticipate and how will you overcome them?
- Your Post Call Critique
Pre-call planning is fine, but without a post call critique it is worthless. After each call take a moment to answer the following questions?1. Did you achieve your call objectives?
2. If you did, what did you do to achieve them?
3. If you didn’t, what could you have done differently?
4. What objections were raised by the prospect?
5. Were they the objections you had anticipated before the call?
6. How well did you handle the objections?
7. How often did you close?
8. What reaction did you get from the prospect?
9. How did you handle it?
10. What would you do differently?
- Dealing With Procrastination
Do you keep putting things off until the deadline is staring you right in your face? Are you having problems getting projects done in a timely manner. Here are several tips to deal with procrastination:
- Break your work into the smallest obtainable tasks possible.
- Assign a deadline to accomplish each task.
- Reevaluate the importance of each task.
- Eliminate the trivial tasks.
- Schedule each task of the project.
- Start with the easiest or smallest part of the project.
- Reward yourself when you complete each task.
- Statements of Expertise
One of the biggest sales myths is that “It’s who you know that counts.” There was a time when that was true. However with reorganizations, re-engineering and other other forms of corporate contortions that business have undergone, this is no longer true. Today’s buyers are looking for known entities that they can contact quickly – names of people on the tip of their tongue or in a rolodex that can be called upon to solve a problem or present a solution. The problem is how do you get yourself known. The answer is… anyway you can. This is where your own creativity can be a real asset. Most prospects are hiding behind an electronic veil that is nearing impossible to pierce. If you leave a voice or email message, if their not interested, they will undoubtedly fail to respond. What are your options? I feel the strongest option available to any professional salesperson or marketer is to create a statement of expertise. This can be done through a regular newsletter, faxed or mailed, a speech or an article in a trade journal. Your statement of expertise is a clear demonstration about your professional knowledge, which you are freely giving in a non-sales environment. Its initial purpose is to get yourself known and established as an expert in your field. If you do this well, the prospects will contact you and provide sales opportunities that you most probably will never had access to. The key is as a known entity, you are invited in the door and recognized as an expert. This is quite different that you knocking on the door as just another vendor.
- Are Your Sales Problems Being Caused by the Competition?
How often do we use our competition as a scapegoat for our problems? It’s all too easy to blame them for what they’re doing, rather than what we are failing to do. Technology has created, in many industries, a cluster of “me too” products, difficult for the customer to differentiate. The product space is so tight between competitors that small differences can result in big sales. Instead of asking what your competition has done to earn its success, ask what have you failed to do to succeed? Have you learned to present yourself as an invaluable resource to the customer? In the past the product was often the differentiating factor in the sale. Today, it is your value as an expert that makes the difference. Have you developed in-depth product knowledge, competitive knowledge and knowledge about the customer to take advantage of the small difference between you and your competitor? Raise your level of expertise and you will be regarded as an expert, not just another salesperson. Invest in yourself and you’ll reap the results.
- Ten Tips to Improve Your Sales Performance
- Don’t take valuable sales time away from your customers and prospects… prepare proposals at night or on the weekends.
- Never say no to a customer … everything is negotiable.
- Make customers feel good about you, not just your products. People buy from people they like.
- Meet all of your customer’s requirements… even if you have to fight your boss over them.
- Do things for your customers that you don’t get paid to do.
- Know your competitor’s products, even better than the competitor.
- Make sure your early for every meeting.
- Make yourself a superior product. Dress and groom yourself sharply and become an expert in your field.
- When it’s time to go home… make one more phone call or one more cold call.
- If you don’t look forward to what you do … find another job.