James has been selling for a manufacturer for years. He has a solid book of business but knows that he should be selling at least 50% more. His days consist of getting to the office, making a few customer calls, checking on some orders, and sitting in on a few meetings. By 11AM, customers are calling him with issues and he spends the rest of the day solving problems.
Does this sound familiar to you? This is the same challenge that keeps most salespeople and their organizations from selling at a higher level. Without a crystal clear and specific sales game plan, these folks are doomed to mediocrity. Here are three key components of a strong sales game plan:
1. Stop Reacting: Like James, most salespeople fall into a rut of only reacting to their day. We all know that things happen during the day that need to be solved, but not every single problem has to be solved right away and by you. Moving forward, schedule time in your day to handle emergencies, and only deal with them during that time. Also schedule an unmovable block of time for prospecting activities—and don’t change it! It is the most important thing you can do today to affect what you will be earning in a few months.
2. Know Your Day-to-Day Activities: Do you know exactly what you would like to earn this year? If so, then you probably know how much you have to sell in order to earn that. But that’s just the start. Now, it’s time to calculate how many prospect meetings you need to book each week in order to hit that goal. From there, you want to figure out how many of each prospecting activity you need to perform each week in order to book that many meetings. Finally, break it down to how many cold calls, referrals asked for, client calls, networking events, and prospecting emails you need each day in order to hit your sales goal. Once you know the day-to-day activities, the performance of those activities is the most important part of your sales day.
3. Let Nothing Get in Your Way: Once you have your game plan, now it’s time for the hard part—actually sticking to the plan. With my clients, I always recommend that they schedule prospecting time into their day. Once the prospecting time is in their calendar, it must be treated like an important appointment. Most sales people will easily sacrifice prospecting in order to handle an emergency. But would you sacrifice a sale meeting in order to solve an emergency? Probably not. Let nothing get in the way of your plan.
Marc Wayshak is author of the book Game Plan Selling and a sales keynote speaker.
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