How to Make This Your Best Sales Year Yet
If you’re in sales, you know the drill - whether it's a new year, new month, and/or new quarter - it signifies the time to identify new goals.
Are you using the same old plan every time?
I get it - You already know what to do because you already know what works. Now, maybe your approach doesn’t work for everyone, but you know what works for you, right?
Make this next quarter the best one yet by following our top sales tips.
I’m sure you believe that to be true. But I wonder how that can be the case when 100% of the salespeople I meet are experts on what works, but 80% of the sales teams we train are barely hitting their goals?
Ironically, what “works” may take a while to arrive at, but deciding what doesn’t work is a much quicker process.
For example, many brand new salespeople tell me that using the phone doesn’t work when they are prospecting. They also tell me it doesn’t work to go over people’s heads, as they get upset. They also insist that spending time writing persuasive proposals, instead of prospecting, especially when working on a big RFP, works.
My goal is for you to make every month, every quarter, and every year better than the last.
To do that you will need to rethink what works so you don’t merely repeat old results.
There are three closely related things you should think about when determining what works:
You know hard work is the key to success.
You may be putting in a lot of time and effort researching prospects and then sending emails. Last year maybe you averaged 20 emails a day, so this year you’ll decide to raise it to 25 emails a day. Maybe you have to work very hard to find a new email list every day.
People who like email love this strategy. That's because they are so comfortable doing it that it seems easy to continue doing; however, I want to push you to go outside of your comfort zone. For example, you shouldn't stop sending emails but instead, begin sprinkling other tactics into your everyday routine, such as spending an hour each morning researching prospects on LinkedIn. Or, perhaps you spend an hour in the morning learning something new that you can apply to your next sales opportunity.
This small shift can help you combine different approaches and explore new avenues, which may result in a more effective approach, but also allows you to continue using the email strategy that's working.
You experience success when you do certain activities.
Send enough emails and eventually someone responds.
A salesperson once told me they called the same person every day for a year and finally got an appointment. I told them that was an example of “the law of big numbers” which states that if you do anything in sales long enough eventually it will work once.
They said I was wrong, they had in fact done this trick four times and it worked. I then pointed out that there are only 200 work days annually, so they made 800 calls to 4 people and got four appointments.
What was the opportunity cost?
Suppose they called 800 different people once. Would they have ended up with more than 4 appointments?
Ensure you're making the most out of your time each day. The numbers game is fine but back that up with techniques you know will deliver the amount of reward for the amount of effort you put into the task. You don't want to spend 90% of each and every day doing one thing and just waiting for it to work out for you. Spend 90% of your days doing things you know have a great chance at working and 10% on the things you're taking risks on, aka the numbers game.
If you are spending a certain amount of time doing something and in fact do experience the reward of a new appointment or new closed sale occasionally, that is not the same as hitting your goal.
Take a moment to look at how much effort you put in along with how much reward you earn from that effort, and now compare the whole thing to your goal.
A career in sales isn’t just about working hard it's about hitting the goal.
So, what now?
Everything needs to be looked at through the lens of Effort, Reward, Goal.
If you are spending half of your time emailing people rather than calling them, but miss your appointment goal then I would say your email strategy doesn’t work.
When looking at every activity through the Effort, Reward, Goal lens you often find a surprising result: things you didn’t think worked actually do, while things you were sure worked don’t.
Let’s not sleepwalk into another year or quarter. Let’s make a vow to review our process, what works, and what doesn't at the beginning of each week and each month.
Let’s admit that by reviewing what we've done, we will uncover things that need to change.
If you are still doing the same things—the things you believe work—based on looking at past instances of effort and reward, you will of course achieve some sales, but will end up frustrated time after time when it doesn't work.
Break the pattern and start to see your sales world through your new Effort, Reward, Goal glasses. Sales is more fun when you keep finding new ways that work.
Regardless of how experienced, or inexperienced, you are as a sales professional, these tips will help you stay focused on the right sales activities so you can nail your next call, close your next pitch... or simply start your day off right.
Download our 'Top Sales Tips to Help You Excel in Sales" for more insight how.
About Steve Bookbinder
Steve Bookbinder is the CEO and sales expert at DMTraining. He has delivered more than 5,000 workshops and speeches to clients all over the world and has trained, coached, and managed more than 50,000 salespeople and managers. Steve continuously refreshes his training content to reflect his latest first-hand observations of salespeople across industries and regions. Through him, participants in his workshops and coaching sessions learn the best practices of today’s most successful sellers and managers across industries. Steve understands that sales is a competitive game. To outperform competitors and our own personal best results, we need to out-prospect, out-qualify, out-present and out-negotiate everyone else, not merely know how to sell. Through his specialty programs in Pipeline Management, Personal Marketing, Great First Meetings, 2nd-level Questioning, Sales Negotiating, and Sales Coaching, Steve trains sales teams to master the skills they need to overcome the challenges they face in today’s world… and keep improving results year over year.