Okay, you’ve decided your sales are in poor health. How do you get your sales healthy again?
The first step is the sales examination. We’ll talk about where you are and whether the cause is internal (that means you are responsible for what’s going on) or external (that means someone else is impacting your efforts). Internal issues could include fear or lack of certain skills or tools needed to be successful. External forces could point to something in your business or company that affects your sales. This could be anything from poor customer service to unfulfilled customer expectations. What are your sales? How do your sales stack up against your sales goals? How do you set sales goals?
Once you’ve disclosed everything about your sales life, it’s time to move to the diagnosis. Asking someone else to walk through a sale with you can give you great insight into what’s working and what’s not. You need a safe environment to explore what’s going on and then pinpoint what’s causing the pain. Choose someone who can be both objective and honest and has a successful track record in sales. The diagnosis might include something that can be quickly addressed, or it might be something that requires longer treatment. It could be a combination of two or more things. What is important is figuring out what it is and moving past it.
What’s the prescription? During this phase, we look at what you can do today to move your sales in the direction you desire. Perhaps we need to begin with goals. Sometimes it can be as simple as that. Goal setting requires a structure that can ensure you are on the right track for you and your company.
How do you keep sales healthy? Once you have a specific diagnosis, you can develop the plan to keep you from returning to that situation. A regimen is a plan that helps you turn your sales efforts into actual, measurable results. This plan outlines what you will do, how often you will do it, what you can expect from your efforts and strategies on what to do when things just aren’t going as planned. It’s a scaffold for you to develop new habits that will make sales easier and that will not only help your sales grow, but will lock in more profitable sales. It’s not enough to grow sales if you don’t realize more profit at the same time. Who wants to work more and make less? Not me!
Ever have a doctor who sent you out the door with a shot and a prescription? Now, how many of you take every one of those pills you are prescribed. We start feeling better, we get our energy back and the prescription goes by the wayside. We behave similarly with sales. Once you have your regimen and you’ve tested it out and it’s helping you with your sales, it might feel like you are cured. A sales check-up can help you stay on track. Talking about what’s working and what’s not working will ingrain the process even more. After all, we all know we eventually will stop doing anything we don’t enjoy or that isn’t successful. The goal of a check up is to minimize the pain so it’s not necessary to get another shot three months, six months or even a year down the road.
So, let’s say, you’ve stuck with your regimen and we’ve talked about what’s working and what’s not and you feel good about where you are. How do you stay on track? That’s where a coach can make the difference between staying motivated and backsliding. Our clients call us the boss’s boss. Making yourself accountable to someone, even if that someone is yourself equates to bottom line success. In a lot of ways, maintenance is the most important part of your sales program. But how do you maintain your program?
The basics are the same for everyone. Apply the knowledge you’ve gleaned from the rest of the process and continue to expand your sales endurance. Like any good maintenance training program, you have to push yourself out of your comfort zone everyday – just a little. Make one more phone call, use a different sales tool, push yourself to exceed your weekly goal. Every step you take toward growing your sales repertoire makes what you’ve just learned easier. Each skill builds upon another. You can do this!
Debbie Mrazek is the founder and principal of The Sales Company (www.the-sales-company.com), a sales acceleration company dedicated to entrepreneurs. Get Debbie’s Special Report, How To Hit The Sales Sweet Spot for Bigger Profits at www.the-sales-company.com and learn more about her new book at www.thefieldguidetosales.com.