2020 can go and take a running jump right? Enough said on that subject. Time to move on.
2021 is going to be year that we all bounce back, I am optimistic that with everyone doing their bit that we can get to that magical light at the end of the tunnel.
To help focus our attentions in sales we need to be aware of the issues that will matter most to our clients, therefore some specific behaviours and practices may well need a polish. We can call them New Year’s Resolutions if you like, however for me it is about good practice and making sure keep I keep relevant. Here are some tips you might find useful, some are straight forward others need some thought.
1. Commit to connecting more. Use the phone more, use video more, then use video even more! commit to talking to people rather than hiding behind email
2. Learn to measure your effectiveness. Work out your sales conversion rates, divide the number of effective meeting x bookings, work out your time to convert, work out how much time you spend doing admin and reduce it, work out your average customer retention rate. Measure what matters.
3. Stop asking questions that you already know the answer too, so many sales people ask dumb questions that could be answered pretty accurately with a guess. “So I guess you go quiet after Christmas?” DUH! Challenge yourself, you ask questions that dig deeper. “Aside from cost, what are the key areas of value that suppliers need to be giving your business in 2021?”
4. Have a plan for working with your clients, a strategy even that stipulates contact times, how you will work together, what you will commit to and what you expect in return.
5. Learn to differentiate between a client who is ‘advancing’ on a call and those that are just ‘continuations’. James Muir author of The Perfect Close says that advancers take salespeople to the next level, perhaps by sharing sensitive information or exposing you to more senior people, whereas continuation clients share general information, and help to build relationships. The former requires a lot of action and energy by the client, the latter does not. Identify these differences in your calls.
6. In your team meeting do a quick SWOT on your business and sales process to establish gaps in strengths and weaknesses, when you do, do it from the client perspective so that you really see yourself in the mirror, then change what needs to be changed and enhance and reinforce the rest.
7. Think truthfully about how your clients needs and essentials are changing throughout the pandemic, take time to establish these things and adjust your business offering. That way you stay more relevant.
8. Stop putting out bullshit sales proposals. Look back over last year’s sales proposals, divide them into those that worked and those that didn’t. Look for common themes in both sets of proposals, build on the content that worked, roll it out to the team and train it in to become custom and practice. Stop the bad habits that include the content that is not working, this might even include stopping generic content and slide decks and committing to tailored and well crafted proposals. More work? yes. Better returns? without doubt.
9. Commit to always test closing clients and talking about the next steps. So often sales people protract the sales conversation and process by not moving the conversation in the right direction. Make the words “next steps” are used in calls and in sales proposals.
10. Don’t keep setting goals that you cannot achieve, start off by looking at the things you can maintain and sustain, from there you could identify specific goals that will improve things and in turn be something you look to sustain.
Happy New Year to everyone reading this, I wish you so much success in whatever you do, together let’s make 2021 the year we truly move forward.