Top 3 Sales Resolutions for 2009
By Kendra Lee
It’s a new year, with a fresh sales quota and a new set of sales resolutions. I’m always looking for ways to improve and January consistently finds me evaluating my performance from the previous year then setting goals for the coming one.
While I’m ranked as a top sales performer I always believe I can do better.
So it’ll be no surprise to you that I recently asked a group of top sellers to share their top three sales resolutions for success in 2009’s challenging sales environment. I wanted to see what new ideas I could glean to outshine myself this year and thought I’d share them with you, too.
See how closely they align with your resolutions.
1. Build a Brick Wall Around Your Clients
Most sellers close deals and look for the next opportunity. What distinguishes the most successful reps from the rest of the pack in a tough economy are those who stay connected to their clients after the sale. They talk frequently and make recommendations, letting their clients know they’re always top of mind. No competitor can penetrate these sellers’ accounts and when the next need presents itself, they have it locked in.
Create a strategy to stay close to your customers. Consider weekly calls to top clients, bi-monthly or monthly emails to others. Put them all on your newsletter list. Watch for tidbits to share that’ll help their businesses in a unique way. Introduce them to contacts that’ll improve their network.
Yesterday I ran across a reporter searching for an expert in IT trends. I alerted several of my clients I know are focused on increasing their PR activities, providing them the opportunity to be featured in an article.
In a competitive marketplace, old-fashioned personalized service is the new way to leave an impression. Send personalized thank-you notes – handwritten on stationary. Return calls within a few hours. Respond to emails promptly – and today that means within 2 hours or less whenever possible, including weekends. Focus on providing top customer service.
There are never enough leads, especially when companies are putting off decisions. If your closing ratio was one out of four, today it may be one out of six. That means you need prospecting goals to keep your funnel overflowing with new opportunities.
Top sellers set weekly goals to ensure they always have new leads, regardless of how much they are already working. Many of them track their activities against their weekly objectives and step up their prospecting if they aren’t seeing the results they know they need.
I’m currently working eight significant deals and nineteen small ones, knowing that it’s possible most will be delayed. Knowing the challenges we’re grappling with in sales today, I’m still spending an hour a day prospecting and don’t plan to change it any time soon.
Set aside 30-60 minutes a day to work a lead generation plan that will attract new prospects to you. Set weekly prospecting goals including the number of completed calls, emails and conversations you want to target.
If you’d like to formalize your prospecting goals and track your results, I’ve put together a quick and easy tool to guide you. Check out the resources section of our website to download your free copy.
3. Ask for referrals
Customer affidavits are critical today. Clients are cautiously making investments choosing to work with proven companies referred to them after checking references. Make this work to your advantage. Your customer base is a gold mine. You’ll be surprised by how many are delighted and can point to business within other groups if only you’d ask. Gather testimonials and references for use in proposals, value propositions, email prospecting, newsletters, marketing offers, and events. Whenever anyone praises our work, I immediately ask if I can quote them. Whether it’s in response to a newsletter article, an audio conference, or training, I ask if we can use it. After large projects I request a testimonial or case study. Then be sure to ask for – and follow-up on – referrals. Customers who willing offer quotes will also happily provide referrals. Frame your request so they know the types of referrals you want. I always describe the situation that a strong referral might be experiencing, the size company, and their title. This helps my clients visualize who to suggest. It also gives me more information so I know what to say when I call the new referral. How closely do your sales resolutions align with these? If you want to outline and watch your sales goals, visit the resources section of our website to download our new Sales Action Goals tracker. Use it to set weekly objectives and track your results throughout the year.
Kendra Lee is author of the award winning book “Selling Against the Goal” and president of KLA Group. Specializing in the IT industry, KLA Group helps companies rapidly penetrate new markets, break into new accounts and shorten time to revenue with new products in the Small & Mid market Business (SMB) segment. Ms. Lee is a frequent speaker at national sales meetings and association events. To find out more about the author, read her latest articles, or to subscribe to her newsletter visit http://www.klagroup.com or call +1 303.773.1285.