By all accounts I am reading GNP in the Sates will be going up 2.6 up to 5%. Better than going down 2.6 to 5%, but is that good enough? Not for me and it should not be good enough for you either. I dare you. No I double dare you to join in with me to make this the year you more than double your business. No matter that my state is going to raise my income tax by 66.66% and that will cost people their jobs mark my words. But this is not about how the state or any government runs their, sorry, OUR government. It is about how I run my business. So in order to run it you need a plan.
Here are 5 steps you can use to get yourself ready. It is never too late to do your sales planning and forecasting:
1. Assess All Your Business Relationships. Divide your customers up into 3 groups, the top 20%, the second 20%, the bottom 60%. Hopefully by this time you have been able to establish a strong working relationship with your top 20. Hopefully these companies and people have come to rely on you for the service or produ8cts you provide them. Now, sit down with your staff and ask what products or services you are already offering that can piggyback on the coat tails of services to that which you are giving to your top 20.
Next look at your second set of 20. Are you getting all the business you should be from them from your existing sales line? If not get cracking. Work to build your relationships with this second group with the goal so selling them more and pushing them up into the top 20.
At the same time, while we are having fun, maybe you need to fire your bad customers. They are probably sucking the life blood out of your company, in valuable time and resources.
2. Put some sales training money into your budget. Sometimes you need to spend in order to get. So put some money into your budget. Now before you start to spend a dime of that money, sit down and get real. Maybe some of that sales staff are not the people you need. Ok swallow hard, admit your mistakes and let them go. If is much easier to train and motivate people who want to be doing what needs to be done. I am not saying let go the people who don’t say what you want to hear. Maybe they are saying what you need to hear. I am saying let go the people who are not there for the good of you, the company, themselves and each other. Sales is teamwork. Look at pro sports they are always trading to build a better team.
And in case it did not cross your mind, get yourself some training also. All good things start at the top.
3. Get value out of new hires faster. Have you heard the new buzzword? It’s called “onboarding” Onboarding is all about getting new hires up to speed faster. If you can put together a step-by-step process to your sales training you can take part in the benefits of this thought process. It is really about staring early, creating the right network and getting them out working. When I heard this I did kind of laugh because this sounded pretty old school but some companies and people don’t think like I do and need to have a 2 month formal program. Ouch! Talk about a money and time waster. So what is it? Well
First it is about starting early. You need to recruit for cultural, experience and skill set. Then you need a fit to your company’s corporate culture. Yes even a 1 person company has a culture. This is or should be part of the interview process.
Second find or create the right network. You need to be meeting the right people at the right time. In person or online. Makes no difference.
Third. Get those sales people working. Ok sounds really dumb but no reason to put a 1 to 3 month training course in place. This is me talking and I don’t know what I am doing so you may choose not to listen and I will not take offence but I would put them in real life working conditions, almost immediately. I am not saying sink or swim! What I am saying that in hitting the “road” and getting out in front of real prospects they will learn faster and quicker and how things in your company work, both on the inside and the outside and how the whole process form sale to delivery actually work. Stand by your salesperson, but remember that they need to feel a since of contribution to the company. That is why they are in sales.
Forth is the need for standards and accountability. What is the definition of success in your company? When you fail to set standards for your staff or even yourself you have no benchmark to hit. No standard of excellence. How do you know what is good and bad if you don’t or aren’t able to put it down on a piece of paper. When a sales person is or hits 80% of the sales goal or expectation don’t baby them and say that they are making “good progress” or “gosh you almost hit it” Fact is they missed the mark! Or did you fail them? You need manage your sales people in real time. Not quarterly like an accountant but daily or at the worst weekly! Their failure is your failure.
Fifth is the myth of a paycheck. I don’t care what your sales competition is, although I have very definite opinions on the matter which I will at this time keep to myself, but no matter if you are 100% salary or 100% commission or any combination in between. Truth is a sales person or many of them will adjust their standard of living to what they are bringing in or what I call “The Oscar Syndrome” which is that’s “Good Enough”. NO NO NO! It’s not good enough. Do be a settle for kind of Owner of Manager. People, your people what to be the best. They are begging to be the best and it is your job as an owner or manager to let them or help them achieve their true potential.
Larson Notes & Satire: Join me in taking the Larson Challenge to grow your business by 150% or more. I am going to do it. It is down on paper on how I am going to achieve it. I wrote it, now I need to read it daily and then (the hardest part) implement it on a daily no hourly basis!
If I can do it, you can too.
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