You got your sales goal for the year. This is the year you know you’re going to not only hit it, but hit it early. You come in, you’re excited, and you get ready to start. But one thing is missing. You’re going to do this…how?
All too often as I go to teams or work with sales reps, I see the energy level very high the initial month of getting your goal. You hit the phones, you try to close, close, close. If you don’t hit your goal the first month, it’s a slow but steady decline, month after month. How does the energy get low? Why is the call, call, call, close, close, close method not working? Both the account rep and the leader need to address this differently.
For the account rep, we have to look at the goal from various ways:
- Know your business. When do you bring in the most? What are your peaks and valleys? How well do you know when you bring sales in? This is how you plan month by month for the upcoming season. Wishing and hoping won’t get you there. Logic and strategy will keep you engaged as it will be more attainable. A woman I worked with at the Indians knows her group business inside out, and can tell you by week which category will buy when. It’s no wonder her sales are in the millions. She knows her business. How well do you know yours?
- Break it down by week/day. Aim for a sale a day and once you are consistent, then aim for a certain revenue amount per day. A girl I coached back in ATL was a former player in Europe…and as an athlete, she was disciplined to improve her game by practice and taking the extra shots after practice so she could aim for consistency. She converted that to her sales, and aimed for a sale a day. Once consistent, she aimed for a certain revenue amount per day. (Happy to say she is back in sports sales and doing what she loves best!) Consistency is key to hitting the goal. Get in the habit of getting on the board daily. Then get in the habit of hitting a certain revenue goal daily. It’s a game you play against yourself. You play for Satisfaction and Pride.
- Plan your strategy. This is the crucial step to hitting goals. You can either shoot arrows hoping they land, or spend time creating the strategy: the who/how/when/and detail of all of it and use it as your personal GPS. Strategic planning is crucial to success, and generally the step missed by most sales teams. How are you running YOUR business?
- Create prospects. Don’t rely on lead lists and dialing for dollars. If you prospect and research and BELIEVE they should have our product, your conversation will take on an entirely different meaning. I have built my prospect lists and believe so strongly that they should be doing business with us, that I’ve actually told some clients that it is their job to prove to me why they shouldn’t. Belief breeds confidence and confidence builds trust and integrity. Trust and integrity are crucial to closing.
- If you don’t hit your goal for the week, it doesn’t go away. Reconfigure it throughout the rest of the month. I don’t know about you, but that takes a lot of extra work…much easier to stay focused, prospect, meet, recommend and make a sale than it is to rework all those numbers!
As a leader:
- Do you encourage your reps to be part of the process? Do you invite their ideas and use some of them? Do you feel you have to have all the answers or do you recognize that the reps want and need to be part of your strategy? If I have an opportunity to have a say in what is being built as a plan, I am going to work as hard as I can to make sure that plan doesn’t fail and it’s successful. If I am told ‘here is the plan…go sell it’ I may sell it, but not with the passion and determination to make it a win that I would have had I been part of the process. Let your team have a vested interest.
- Let your reps lead the monthly sales meeting. Have your 5 minutes of fame, but let them lead the how/who/why and strategy portion. Let them pick 2 goals they want to hit as a team for the month (season seats? premium seats? certain group revenue amount?) and build the how around it. They are part of the process now.
- Remember, you are only as good as the people around you. Develop them. Teach them. Coach them. Listen to them. If they win, you win.
- Develop them to learn your job. The stronger you make them and the more developed they become, the higher level sales group you will have. You will also have a reputation for building teams for success and growth…and not many leaders can say that right now. Forget you are the ‘leader.’ Remind yourself you are the ‘coach.’
As a leader, are we doing everything we can to grow and develop our reps? And as reps, are we doing everything we can to smartly plan out the process so we can have a guide to follow instead of ‘wishing and hoping?’
I have been fortunate enough to coach sales teams that hit their goals before the season started…all by building their strategy and having leadership use that as the method to coach. Let’s save the bow and arrows for after hours target practice. Let’s use our gray matter and build our strategic process to make sure we hit that goal.
Teams that I’ve been working with…let’s hear from you. Is building the strategic process helping, and if so, how?
Kathy Burrows, Sold Out Seating
To get YOUR sales staff working on a more strategic level: firstname.lastname@example.org
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