In sales today, many things will happen to distract your focus. Clients, market pressures, orders, seasonal changes in the market will all have an impact.
The only way to establish some progress is to track your sales results or ‘scores’. You don’t have to track a lot of things; only the ones that have meaning to your product and services. Small incremental increases in actions will compound your progress in sales.
So what can you track? If you have been working in a market or industry for some time you will already have facts and figures you can draw on. If you are new to a zone then you will need to develop assumptions based on real market trends; that will take research and investigation. Answer these questions in doing so:
- Where are the clients coming from?
- What are they looking for in obtaining service and supply of goods?
- How can you tap into the client segments in a regular way?
- What prospecting methods work better than others?
- How many prospecting calls are you making?
- What is the average unit of sale over the last 12 months?
- What is the average unit of commission or profit over the last 12 months?
- What is the volume of sales per person in your industry versus your business?
- How long does it take to connect with your clients and prospects at a level that you would regard as primed for new business activity?
- What’s your market share? How has that market share changed?
Questions like these help you move ahead. Success in professional sales today is a very personal thing. Results come from personal action and incremental improvements in doing so. Take action every day; that’s what sales success is all about.
The process of ‘change’ is a very important as a business tool. Your ability to see the need for change and then bring about the processes to get that change implemented will be the most important tool that you develop.
So many salespeople see the need to change and cannot pull it off. They struggle with the discipline and the actions required. When they fail to adjust to the market, they miss out on the opportunities of growth in income, and market share.
It is a well-known fact that the marketplace pressures and the business community are forever changing. Economic pressures, customer interest, and marketing strategies will change throughout the year. For this very reason, a strategy of change should be integrated into every business model for a team; it should also occur at an individual level.
Here are some tips to help you identify the right factors to change in your sales career, and then implement the process.
- Know your business strengths and grow them. Every salesperson will have particular strengths within their industry. It may be in prospecting, communicating, negotiating, or in closing. The strengths that you do have, should be improved through practice.
- Know your weaknesses and fix them. It is interesting to note that our weaknesses are the greatest hurdles that hold us back in business. You have two alternatives to deal with the issue. You can either employ an assistant to fill the gap with those weak skills, or you can deliberately practice and improve the weaknesses so that they diminish and dissolve. The latter is the preferable option that will take you further into your industry with success.
- Change takes time. The process of change needs to be implemented and the only way you can do that is to be diligent and persistent. When you understand what needs to be done, a new habit will be required. Given that we have developed our habits over many years, it can take several weeks if not months to develop the necessary change we want. Get the process started and stick with it.
- Track and measure your progress each and every day. When you can see that you are achieving results, the momentum get stronger and the results start to occur. Given that the sales profession is devoted to growth and results, you have the key to the process.
It is far too easy to stop doing something. The comfort zone will hold us back at each opportunity. Remember the problem of creating new habits and take up the challenge to build a better market place for yourself, and a strong personal sales career.
With your career and in business you will come across many challenges that will threaten to derail your efforts and progress. That is why we all need goals and targets. It’s like having a railroad track stretching out in front of you to take you to the correct ‘station’. Every day you move further up the line.
Many books have been written on the goal process and systems available. Choose one or two of those books and develop your goals based on proven systems and evidence from those that have achieved results. Implement your goals system.
Here are some tips to help you get this process under control:
- Having goals will help you see what’s possible. Set targets for set periods of time to help you move through barriers and levels of achievement. It’s a bit like moving up a staircase; eventually you can and should reach the top.
- Action systems should be based around your targets. Every day the right things should be done that help you move ahead.
- The comfort zone can be a real problem for some salespeople and business professionals. The accumulated habits that we have built up over the years threaten to hold us back and take us to the things that are ‘comfortable’. Don’t let that happen.
- Track and measure your progress using benchmarks of performance that are quantifiable. That could be in the number of sales, clients, database growth, or market share.
- At the end of each week give yourself some small reward or benefit, recognising that you have made some progress.
- Create a pictorial storyboard of progress and experiences. You can inspire yourself into further action by remembering the barriers and achievements that you have made.
- Look for mentors and the people that have achieved results under immense pressure. Their experiences will inspire you to take greater action.
It’s great to work in a career that is challenging, rewarding, and interesting. Given all of that, it is a personal process of success and effort that will help take you forward.
In professional sales you need a ‘game plan’ to help take you to the market and the clients that want your products and services. It’s all very nice to think that you are the ‘top specialist’ in your industry, but if the clients and customers are unaware of your skills and relevance, then nothing will happen with your market share (or income). That is why you need a ‘game plan’.
So many salespeople are ‘order takers’; they think that the company that they work for will create the leads and opportunities, and that they will close the deal. If only things were that easy!
So what is the focus of this plan? Here are some key factors for you:
- The plan must help you get in front of new people that could need your services at some stage in the future.
- The plan must help you with referrals and introductions through third parties
- The plan must help others to find you and contact you directly when they have a product or service need.
- The plan must help you with relationship building with prospects and customers alike.
So what does your plan look like now? In most circumstances many salespeople have only one or two of these issues covered. They do the most convenient things that are not challenging or confronting; the ‘comfort zone’ is a big problem for many salespeople.
You have a real choice here. You can ‘take the orders’ or you can ‘build market share’; the latter being the best road to success in sales. New habits are required if you want to rise up in your market and industry as the ‘expert of choice’.
Develop an action plan that puts you into your market every day in a positive and new way. Reach out to the new prospects and clients that you really need and may not be helping yet. Remember that you are the ‘expert’ that people require. Sell yourself and your relevance.