A New Year's resolution is a tradition in which a person resolves to change an undesired trait or behavior, to accomplish a personal goal or otherwise improve their life. The New Year brings a fresh start and the opportunity for sales managers and sales teams to set goals and intentions for the coming months.
Perhaps you, or a salesperson on your team, had a lousy 2019 and are ready to make some changes in 2020. A resolution can help reset the compass — here’s a list of options to help kick off the New Year and improve your (or your sales team's) sales performance.
1. Stop spending time with lousy prospects
Consider the following when selecting new business targets:
- Dollar Potential
- Access to Decision Maker and Decision Influencers
- Fit [Product or service, local focus, change in business or category, openness to new solutions, growth or trouble mode, seasonality, factors unique to your business.]
2. Develop and use quality valid business reasons (VBR) to set appointments
Use the framework (one or a combination of these elements):
- Empathy: I understand and relate to your problem.
- Expertise: I’ve solved problems similar to the ones you are having.
- Problem-Solving: I can develop a solution to your problem.
Here are some VBR examples for a Kubota Dealer (use one or a combination):
- Empathy: I know you are likely in the middle of something, so I’ll be quick. I see on your website that you have a large selection of used tractors you need to move, and I read recently that many target consumers won’t consider a used tractor because of some misconceptions they have.
- Expertise: I have been calling on car and boat dealers for more than 10 years and have a few programs I have used with repeat success to increase sales—programs specifically helpful in overcoming the misconceptions they may be having.
- Problem-Solving: I have been working with the horse racing track down the street from your location, and I have some ideas on how to tailor a promotion to help your dealership. Would you have 10 minutes now for me to share the program or can we set another call to do that?
3. Don’t Give Up
To break through and connect with a prospect, be persistent. There is no magic approach or number of attempts that will work for all prospects, but seven to ten over a couple of weeks usually does the trick. At the very least, you will feel comfortable moving on knowing you gave it a fair shot!
4. Involve the consumer journey during discover meetings
When meeting with a prospect, focus on the journey for the consumers they are targeting and not what you have to sell. As you discuss the typical consumer journey, think about ways to attract the attention of the target consumer, engage those consumers, and convert them into the types of fans who will advocate for the business.
5. Prepare yourself and prepare your prospect.
Getting an appointment with a new prospect is a tough task—don’t screw up the discover meeting due to a lack of preparation! Here are some things to consider:
Prepare Yourself: Research the Prospect.
- Research the person you are meeting with on LinkedIn and with a Google search.
- Research the company, visit their website, read their blog, and follow them on social media.
- Research their industry online to identify trends, opportunities, and challenges for the prospect.
- Identify their competitors and research them to gain further category knowledge and insight.
- Sample the product or take a walk through their physical location, if possible.
- Develop needs analysis topics and questions.
- Determine which topics and questions are essential, and which are just desirable.
- Get familiar with terminology from your prospect’s industry and how to use it appropriately.
- Set the stage to ask tough questions in sensitive topic areas. Don’t be afraid to search for trouble areas, and double-click or lean-in on those when you find them.
Prepare Your Prospect: Establish Your Credibility.
- Differentiate yourself from the other salespeople by demonstrating the value you offer.
- Position yourself as a business peer by sharing insights you have uncovered.
- Ensure you focus on your process and not your product.
- Share content that demonstrates your expertise.
- Ask them to connect with you on LinkedIn.
- Contract and align expectations for the meeting.
- Restate the date, time, location, and duration.
- Determine who should attend and who will attend the meeting.
- Reconfirm the purpose of meeting, in other words, your VBR.
- Discuss the desired outcomes of the meeting and what success would look like.
- Partner with your prospect–invite them to respond to your details and expectations.
Stop Making Excuses and Keep Your New Year's Resolution
If you or a salesperson on your team had a disappointing 2019, the ball is in your court. Last year is in the rear-view mirror, but the time to make some changes is here. If you are not a person who is into resolutions, that’s not a problem. There are plenty of great resources available to help improve your sales performance. Make a resolution or blaze a new trail, call it what you want — just do something different and make things happen!