2016 was certainly a year that will go down in most people’s memory. It started in a rather morbid way as icon after icon departed this earthly plain. As I write this, the toll so far is approaching 100 ranging from AAGill to Bowie.
Then of course there was BREXIT, followed by the somewhat unpredictable Donald Trump coming to power in the United States; if anyone can sell a product or concept it’s our man Donald (Please note! No political allegiance is being demonstrated here).
As 2017 hurtles ever closer there is one thing for sure, worrying about what has happened and the impact it might have is not going to change anything.
Consequently then it’s about action, specifically our own action around how we think and what we do.
At Excel Communications, we work with many successful salespeople and here is where their focus will be with the goal of making 2017 better than ever.
1. A focus on personal energy.
If you haven’t read our leadership productivity article, it is well worth looking at. We focus on several specific strategies around being healthy and vibrant. Boring as though it might be it really does all start here.
2. Become an extreme planner.
Classically, great sales people are meant to be poor planners. I disagree. In fact, I would go on to say the truth is the exact opposite. There is a well-used saying that goes, ‘If you don’t know where you are going, then how will you get there’. Knowing where to spend your time and what to do as a priority will always distinguish the high performer.
Steven Covey calls planning ‘sharpening the saw’. Planning is the difference between being REACTIVE and PROACTIVE. When you don’t plan, you end up responding to the day’s events as they occur, rather than driving what is on your agenda.
3. Always be learning.
I saw a recent post from John Maxwell in which he commented that he read every day to expand his knowledge. It is a trait I see in many great leaders and sales people. They are always looking for ways to improve their knowledge and skills to enable them to achieve peak performance as often as possible.
Might sound odd, but the speedier your response, the more likely you are to win the ‘deal’. In today’s new economy, getting access to everything NOW is a driver for us all. You may be responsible for generating your own sales leads. If that is the case, then a fast response puts you at the top of the pile – which in today’s market will give you a huge tick in your prospect’s mind.
5. Make it personal.
We have written a recent article here about pitching for business. Which is where many sales conversations end up. Let’s be honest, we all want to feel special, so creating a presentation/pitch specifically for us and our needs is important.
A recent article by an industry leading marketing and sales blog highlighted the importance of tailoring specific content to clients if you want to expand your relationship with a client and the same principles apply here, too. To excel in this area, you’ll need to research their business, their niche, and imagine some problems they might be facing.
When you get an audience, you need to ask good questions about their needs and be ready to answer objections to your offering. Forget the idea that your service is great and everyone should recognise that immediately—even if your service is great, the client won’t see that unless you tailor your product directly to their business needs. You need to do a lot of homework, but it will pay off if you do it right.
6. Use The buyers cycle
The challenge for many people in sales is they have a drive to convert now. The challenge is that doesn’t always work! As human beings, we all have our own ‘buyers’ cycle and that is the timeline we work to… not the enthusiastic sales person. Marketing Sherpa suggests that only 3% of customers are ready to buy immediately. The rest need more contact and cajoling.
The good news though is all is not lost. When you encounter an obviously reluctant prospect who gives you absolutely nothing after a couple of calls, you’d be much better off using your time to send them a LinkedIn invite to connect.
Alternatively, consider emailing them an interesting blog you’ve written/found. Don’t forget about the lead, but instead build the relationship slowly over time while you’re using your time to follow leads that are already primed and ready to close.
Ready to act and follow these 6 steps?
Excel Communications has a 30-year history as a global leadership and communication skills organisation, dedicated to exceeding the expectations of clients through the training and development of their business and people.
P.S. Have I missed any? Let me know.