18 May, 2011
The more you practice the luckier you get by Debbie Robinson
So your sales aren’t going too well. Your forecast isn’t looking too rosy and your prospects are delaying making a decision. Your boss is on your case, wanting to know what your forecast business is for this month, next month and the next quarter.
How can you provide an accurate projection when business is so uncertain? How can you maintain your motivation and focus when all the cards seem to be stacked against you?
Let’s go back to some basics.
1. It’s a numbers game!
You know the more contacts you speak to the more opportunities you generate. Get prospecting! It doesn’t matter how, just do it! Cold calling, foot canvassing, social media contacts or good old networking. Where do your ideal contacts hang out? What forums do they belong to? How can you interact with them? Don’t wait for marketing to generate leads for you, generate them yourself!
The more you practice the luckier you get!
Buy yourself a bag of marbles and two glasses. Put all the marbles in one glass and place both glasses on your desk. Each time you successfully secure a new contact or meeting place one marble in the currently empty glass. The objective is to move all the marbles from one glass to another in the shortest possible time!
2. What do you want to achieve?
You have an annual target set by your company, hopefully with input from you but if not, no matter. Ask yourself, does this target move you towards what YOU want to achieve for YOUR life goals?
If not, set your own personal goals and targets. Be realistic, but make them a stretch. Your goals should be specific, measurable and motivational, achievable, realistic and time based. Be very clear about what you want to achieve and why.
3. Break it down!
You have an annual target, maybe broken down into quarterly and even to monthly by your company.
a. Have you calculated the average sales value needed to achieve this for your particular offering?
b. How many clients are needed to meet this?
c. What is the average decision period for your offering?
d. What conversion rate is normal for you and your business?
e. How many new prospects do you need to generate on a weekly, monthly basis in order to maintain a healthy pipeline?
Don’t forget to build in delivery of the business into your pipeline based on how your company recognises business. It’s no good having business forecast to close in September if it takes 6 weeks to deliver and your company recognises sales on completion. Get real and take pride and ownership of your forecast! Set yourself goals for your forecasting accuracy. It should be one of your key performance indicators as a sales professional.
4. Set yourself goals! And make it fun!
a. “This week I will speak to X number of new contacts.”
b. “This week I will secure X number of meetings.”
c. “I will close X number of opportunities this month.”
d. “I will generate a pipe line of X qualified leads this month.”
e. “I will have a target of x % +/- for my forecasting accuracy each month/quarter.”
Remember; keep it realistic but a stretch. Have a log and play a game to see how you can meet or beat your targets. You can do this with a colleague but I find selling is like playing golf, you only have your own thoughts and beliefs to deal with in order to succeed. Remember, to reward yourself for each success. A specialist coffee, a new suit, night out, weekend away etc. It doesn’t have to be extravagant just motivational!
5. Keep a balance.
All work and no play is not the way to success. Make sure that you take time for your health, family and relaxation. There is no benefit from ‘succeeding’ if you lose sight of what is truly important in life. Keep a perspective and work smart. Don’t stay late in the office night after night. Plan, focus, work efficiently and only work late when there is a real need. If this is every night, there is a fundamental problem with the way you or your company is working and this needs addressing as soon a possible to ensure a healthy, productive an innovative environment for success.
6. Be you!
People buy from people that they believe are like themselves. It’s unlikely that you will get on with every one you meet but with practice and commitment you can build rapport with every person you engage with. Rapport skills enable you to quickly put others at ease and create trust. These skills allow you to get on with anyone anywhere, greatly increases your confidence and effectiveness. It makes it easier for others to communicate with you and that in turn helps your sales skills.
By taking control and ownership of your planning and responsibility for forecasting accuracy and opportunity generation you can improve and maintain your consistency of performance. If you are lacking in any of these areas you must take action, it’s the key to all success.
Do it and do it now – create your own luck!