Business is moving FAST. Either your business is making serious money, or it's not.
What can you do, FAST, to make it thrive?
Look at your selling effort. Improving your selling effort is the quickest route to profits.
1. How much time will you spend, in the next 5 business days, reaching out to your prospects and being in conversation with them?
Hint: most people have NO PLAN to spend time in conversation with prospects. So, unless the phone rings, that’s zero selling time. Zero selling time usually means zero sales.
FIX: Decide what percentage of your work week you SHOULD be spending in conversation with prospects, and spend that time. For many people, just 5% of their workweek – 2 hours – spent purely in outreach to prospects is enough to create sales opportunities!
2. How up-to-date are your selling skills? In a recent large-scale study, those who practiced Relationship Selling were the least successful salespeople of all!
Hint: Relationships are still important – with clients who may buy more from you. For new prospects, however, Challenger Selling is most successful.
FIX: At minimum, read The Challenger Sale. Better yet, go for a broader-based update on what’s working now in selling. If you haven’t had Sales Training in the last year, your skills are out-of-date.
3. How assertive are the people who bring in new clients for your company? Is there a focus on New Business Development, are people happy with things as they are, or, worst of all, are they avoiding new business because it will mean more work?
Hint: Don’t assume that everyone wants to grow the company. Especially in the absence of a significant commission or bonus structure, many people are indifferent to growth plans, and some are downright hostile!
FIX: Consider some Sales Coaching for YOU, to develop a sales growth plan that makes sense in today’s marketplace. Then consider Sales Coaching for individuals who might contribute more to your company’s selling effort. One-to-one work and accountability for the business development aspect of the job can produce amazing results.
4. Is there a disconnect between networking and closing? Most firms make some efforts toward networking in the community, with the goal of identifying prospects. Yet although the money is spent on the networking effort, quite often no new revenue can be identified as a result of the networking.
Hint: Glad handing at events – or online – isn’t the same as developing prospects into money-spending clients. Don’t assume that younger associates understand that you expect networking to result in prospects being identified and sold!
FIX: At minimum, ask younger associates to introduce you to prospects they have identified in the community, so that you can move the sales process forward. Better yet, give younger associates the skills to get meetings and identify business opportunities, and perhaps even to close new business. Over time, as their skills improve, you’ll feel the burden of being the rainmaker lifting from your shoulders a bit!
Lenann McGookey Gardner, a sales training guru who holds an M.B.A. from Harvard and a former #1 sales rep worldwide at Xerox, provides sales training to organizations in more than 30 countries and across the U.S. The author of Got Sales? The Complete Guide to Today's Proven Methods for Selling Services, you can contact her at Lenann[at]YouCanSell.com.