This week began with a Monday front page Wall Street Journal article that started with the comment...
(...referring to the sharp market downturn last Friday.)
By now, as salespeople, we know more than a few basics about "The Rhythm of Business"
- There will always be vacations during the summer stretching out buying decisions
- Travel for trade shows and conferences in the fall always sharply increases
- Budget planning for the next calendar year always occurs in October and November
- No one has any time to see you between Thanksgiving and Christmas
- It's going to be cold and snowing somewhere in December and travel will be slowed
All of these basics, plus numbers of other "time interruptions", create deep black holes in the most important selling season of our sales year, as we all scramble to finish on plan and ahead of quota hopefully sending us off in February to attend President's Club at some nice warm place in the Caribbean.
But, right now, all of these interruptions are potential real distractions and float directly in the face of our own productivity.
Here's a couple of ideas:
- Map Out Your Time
You certainly know your quota numbers between now and then. You know your average ASP and the average length of your sales cycle. Bring all of this down to the actual number of selling days between now and let's say the end of the second week of December. Take a very conservative look at your opportunity pipeline and back into the number of travel days that you need. Now map out your travel schedule by putting down a "centering location" where you need to be for one account, and then plan your travel plans out around that location be it Providence by car, NYC by Acela or Houston by air. It works all the time...as long as it's planned for now and not later.
- Always Easier to Cancel
Don't hesitate to put a prospect appointment or a referral date breakfast into your calendar. It's always easier to cancel and reschedule than to try to get on someone's call or visit calendar one or two weeks out. Plan those meetings or calls, get them in the calender, confirm two days before when you send a reminder of the agenda, and shuffle things around later. For 10 real meetings, you're going to go through a minimum of 3 shuffles.
- Leave 1/2 a Day for "just calling"
No, this is not cold calling! Those days are gone, dead and buried forever..thankfully! This is concentrated back-to-back, rapid-fire, once-a-week calling and social selling time to prospects, customers and referrals. Jump in at 8:00, pull out at noon. This "layering" tactic is often times "just to check in" with customers, and to do overt asking for and trading of new leads with your referral base.
- Be Social
I'm never sure whether this weekly monologue is a newsletter, a note, or a blog, but for our approximately 9,000 weekly readers and for me and my partners, it's fun, usually light and sometimes provocative as to a few life lessons in business and improvement tactics in this wonderful profession of sales and marketing.
If you're already blogging and very active on LI, Twitter and FB, then congratulations!. If not, it's time to jump into the deep end of the pool, because that's where your customers and prospects live, talk, refer and exchange their best ideas about their buying experiences, suppliers and trusted advisors. There simply is no better way!
The key takeaway here is that social selling is a dramatically increasing strategy and critical key selling tactic that absolutely must be in your toolbox if you plan to be both relevant and efficient with your customers and prospects.
Like any language, you need to be socially fluent, and if you don't feel that you're there yet, block off some time for advanced language training this fall. If, by any chance, you're maybe "a bit older", and you know that your fluency is less than wonderful, just reach out to me. I'm happy to provide a few places to start the immersion process.
- Pull it All Together
Here we are in the middle of September already. Take the balance of this week and create a 3 month sales plan. This plan is just for you. Nothing to be shared with necessarily with your boss. It's a document of text and tables planning out numbers, tactics and most importantly the activities that you need to accomplish. It's simple-to-read, and quick-to-review words and metrics that gives you a five minute overview of what you felt (at this point in quarter) was the game plan for the balance of the year.
Remember that powerful quote by Eisenhower and then adopted by Patton during the the second world war... "the plan is important, but the planning process is much more important"
- Stay on Top of Your Game
For the past 15 years or so, we've been running these twice-a-year Sales Management Boot Camps focused on just that specific persona: managers responsible for revenue, be they CEOs, Presidents, VPs or Regional Managers of companies. When we were first starting these camps, I noticed that Tom Jessee, the highly respected and very successful head of sales at MFS had signed up.
Since I was pretty impressed that he was coming, I decided to give him a call and ask, quite simply, why, and his response was very direct in that he felt that in order to stay on top of his game, he needed to explore new ideas and step outside his own industry.
Over the years of now hundreds of attendees, Tom became very representative of our average attendee from a wide variety of industries and sizes of companies, all of whom had one critical mission: "I need to continue to rapidly grow sales, and since I know that the profession of buying and selling has now changed forever, I need to stay on top of my game".
Tom is no different than any professional athlete! Neither are you nor I. We all need to train, to stay on top of our game, and learn new skills especially in sales and in marketing today!
Take a look below, click on the presentation, email, text, messenger or call me, and I'll take you through the details quickly and share some of our experiences...
The November 13th-15th Sales Management Boot Camp
- 500+ graduates
- CEO's, Presidents and Heads of Sales-national or regional
- Tons of very positive testimonials
For more information, just click on below...