Have sales seem to have dropped off?
Do you often feel that you can’t get to all of your tasks in a day? If you’ve answered "yes", the culprit may not be too many tasks but rather, it may be a lack of preparation. Yes – preparation can be the key to success is sales. Yet most people credit their sales savvy to their networking skills or a great product. In fact, without sales preparation none of those things will be as effective as they should be. Think about your average sales day. Or better yet, write it all down. REcord what you do first thing in the morning. Then mid-morning. Then the last half of the morning. How does your afternoon pan out? If you look at it honestly, you'll find it might be lacking in some areas – tackling things as they come up, having to go back and provide a client with information that you should have had on hand, as well as numerous other interruptions that you weren't prepared to handle.
If you're like most people, you race into the office with seconds to spare, then grab a cup of coffee and catch up with colleagues. Then you settle in at your desk. You probably check your messages, your email – maybe even your Facebook or LinkedIn accounts – because you are convinced that these are part of your marketing and lead generation tools. While you may get leads that way, they will not do you any good if you aren't prepared to address their needs timely and effectively. After checking all of your media, you may find that a large portion of your morning may have gone by in a less than productive way.
Later in the day you may catch up things that have gotten away from you, you eat lunch at your desk, done some prospecting and have logged several hours at the computer. By the end of the day it feels as if you’ve been busy all day – but have you been productive?
Spending just a short amount of time in the morning getting prepared for each day can keep your sales process on track – and keep it there!
Sounds simple, but this is something that not many sales professionals put into practice. What you could do is instead of just "going through the motions" and making calls or handing our your card, you could equip yourself with the proper tools for all of your daily activities. Obviously the first thing you need to set yourself up with is a day planner. Not everyone likes to see their day spelled out in such detail. However, it will help you to stay and track with what needs to be done.
You should try to schedule your regular sales activities, like prospecting, at the same time each day so that you become accustom to doing them at that particular hour, and are less likely to forget or run out of time. You could do the same for e-mail, phone messages, returning calls, etc. Some sales professionals will have their phone and email messages inform clients what time they will return calls so that everyone who leaves a message knows when to expect a call, thereby eliminating playing an annoying game of phone tag. Part of being better prepared is being so knowledgeable about what you are selling, that it would be hard for a client to ask you a question that you have to look up.
If you find that there is more information than you could possibly keep in your head before an appointment, be sure to gather all of the information necessary BEFORE making that particular call or meeting with that client. Covering all bases and being more informed and ready than you need to be will show the client that you are giving your all – going the extra mile for them.
As sales people, we may tend to be always "on", but you need to realize the importance of scheduling in time to do smaller things, such as taking an actual lunch break.
Even if it’s eating your lunch while walking in the park. That little break will do wonders in providing you with new perspective and to relieve some of the day's stress. Also, customers and potential clients are everywhere – and being out of the office will also put you in the company of others who could be potential future clients, as well.
Test it out by devoting one week to being better prepared. You may be surprised to see how much actually gets done without adding extra time to your day. (See my blog on effective time management for more tips)
We are here to help you become a better prepared sales person and can help you develop steps to getting and keeping you prepared in order to accomplish all your daily sales tasks. We’ll help you analyze where you are with your business goals and help you get your sales where you need and want them to be. Being "proactive" versus "reactive" is crucial to staying ahead of your competition in the sales arena and helps you anticipate problems and concerns before the arise.