HARDISON’S TIPS – WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 12, 2020 – Effective Sales Planning (Part One)
Most salespeople love to be active – out in their territories, seeing people, solving problems, putting deals together. This activity orientation is one of the necessary characteristics of a sales personality. A day sitting behind a desk is their idea of purgatory. Unfortunately, this activity orientation is both a strength and a weakness. Much of a sales person’s ability to produce results finds its genesis in the energy generated by this activity orientation.
But it can be a major obstacle. Far too often, salespeople are guilty of going about their jobs directed by the credo of “Ready, shoot…aim.” The luxury of this kind of unfocused activity is a casualty of the Information Age. In order to be effective, salespeople must be focused and thoughtful about everything they do. Activity without forethought and planning is a needless waste of time and energy.
And the most important part of the job to plan is the time they spend in front of their prospects and customers. Of all the different parts of their job, there is nothing more important to think about – nothing more important to plan – than that one thing.
For most salespeople, if they were to make a list of everything they do in the course of a day, and then considered each of the items on the list, they’d likely discover that almost everything they do can be done cheaper or better by someone else within their company.
Call for appointments cheaper or better than the salesperson
More easily check on backorders
Fill out a price quote, write a letter, or deliver a sample, cheaper or better than most salespeople
In fact, it’s likely that the only thing a salesperson can do that no one else in the company can do cheaper or better interacts with the customers. It’s the face-to-face interaction with customers that defines the value they typically bring to the company. If it weren’t for that, your company would have little use for salespeople.
So, the face-to-face interaction with the customer is the core value salespeople bring to the company. Yet, most studies indicate that the average outside salesperson only spends about 25 – 30 percent of his/her work week actually face-to-face with the customer.
In the light of that, doesn’t it make sense to spend some time planning and preparing to make that 25 – 30 percent of the week the highest quality you can possibly make it? Of course, it does.
Mastery of this practice is built upon several powerful principles. Here’s the first:
Good decisions require good information.
It’s the Information Age, remember. And that means, if you’re going to be an effective professional salesperson, you must collect, store, and use good information. You can’t make effective plans if the information on which you build those plans is faulty or sketchy.
If you were going to build a home, for example, you’d want to know about the nature of the ground on which the home was to be built. You’d need to have a good idea about what kind of weather conditions the home would be enduring, what the building codes were, what materials were available and what they cost, and what kind of skilled workmen were required. The list could go on and on. The point is that you wouldn’t be able to build a home very effectively if you didn’t have good information on which to base those plans.
The same principles apply to building a home as well as delivering effective sales performance. In both cases, good planning requires good information. It may be that your company provides you all the information you need. But, it’s more likely they don’t. If you’re going to work with good information, you must be the one who collects that information. That means that you must create systems to collect, store, and use the information that will be most helpful to you.
Since our world is constantly producing new information, the system you create isn’t something you do once and forget. Rather, it must be a dynamic system that is constantly processing, storing, and using new information.
Make It A Champion Day!
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