Your Mid-Year Sales Tune-Up: 3 Action Steps to Stay on Track
As a salesperson, in many ways you’re the CEO of your own business. Mid-year is a good time to take stock and assess where you are in your progress to goals as well as how you feel about your performance to date, your motivation and engagement levels, and the efficiency of your operations.
Here are 3 action steps you can take to make sure you’re well positioned for the remainder of 2015.
1. Keep, stop, start: Looking back over the first six months of the year, you’ll see some patterns. What’s been particularly effective? Where are you getting the best return on your energy, effort and time investment? Where do you keep running up against a wall? Is there something else you could be doing that would add more value?
To make the most of the next 6 months, consider creating a “keep doing, stop doing, start doing” list to recalibrate your thinking and adjust your plan. As you write this list, keep these principles in mind:
Just because you’ve always done something a certain way isn’t a good reason to keep doing it. Make sure that it’s really adding value. At the same time, some activities take time to build momentum and gain traction. If you stop too soon or don’t put the full effort behind it, you could be shooting yourself in the foot.
Finally, if you’re struggling to come up with ideas for your “start doing” category, think about the performance tools, systems and skills you’ve acquired or have access to. Are you really using them? How might you apply them to your current challenges?
2. Get in shape: Remember that training program you went through a while back? How you came back with a new mindset, energized and ready to apply your new skills and tools?
If it’s been a while, the attention and enthusiasm may have worn off. That’s only natural. In fact, most people go back to old habits and routines if they’re not consciously reinforcing and applying new skills and knowledge. According to the concept of the “forgetting curve,” people tend to lose up to 70% of newly learned knowledge in a matter of days or weeks if they don’t regularly review it.
Just like your muscles need regular exercise to stay in shape, so does your brain. Schedule in time on your calendar to review your processes and practice your skills. Otherwise, it won’t be a priority. Think of yourself as an athlete: regular conditioning and coaching are essential to staying at the top of your game.
3. Focus on the other: Sometimes we become so focused on meeting quotas, we forget one of the key principles of selling with integrity: selling isn’t something you do to people; it’s something you do for and with them. Selling with integrity is about identifying and satisfying customer needs and creating value for them, not trying to sell them something.
If you’re having trouble breaking through or meeting your goals, consider whether you need to pivot your focus away from your objectives, products and services to gaining a better understanding of the customer’s stated and unstated needs. No matter how much enthusiasm you show for your products or services, if you aren’t asking the right questions early in the process, your chances of making the sale are slim. The more you try to understand someone’s wants or needs, the more interested they will become in buying from you.
People don’t want to be sold, but they do want to buy! Rather than spending time on techniques that attempt to persuade someone to buy something, work on establishing loyal customer relationships based on creating value.
It’s hard to believe we’re already halfway through the year, but now’s the time to take a thoughtful look back so you can be on the right track for a successful 2015—and in a good position heading into 2016.