Why do you go to the doctor for an annual physical if you feel good today? You go because you want to be sure you will continue to feel well and address anything that might be a cause for future concern. Just like you see a doctor for a physical, you need to look at your sales. It’s like an annual sales checkup so you continue to do well. Here’s what I address when I work with sales people to improve their sales numbers.
Where do your best prospects come from?
Look at this year’s new business. Consider last year’s new business if this year’s numbers aren’t enough or aren’t representative of your selling. Now determine the source of these new prospects. Were they referrals? The people or person who referred is now a good source of future referrals and should be noted.
Did you learn about them from a list you bought? Identify the criteria of that list and be sure to focus on more of the same criteria. Were they a targeted industry, type of company, or other characteristic that you identified? Focus more on these types of companies moving forward.
Why is it so important to know where your best prospects come from? Because you need to know how to get more and better prospects in the future. Even prospects that were good a year ago might not be the best for you today because business conditions change. You need to regularly monitor where your prospects are coming from so you continue on the best path to find more prospects in the future.
Why are prospects buying from you?
This is one step that many sales professionals skip. They are so elated that they won the business that they don’t take the time to have a discussion with their new customer to debrief the buying process. This isn’t something that needs to be done immediately after the sale especially if you think that your prospect, now customer, isn’t comfortable giving you open and honest feedback. You might have to wait a bit to build a strong enough relationship where he feels able to tell you where you were weak, but how you overcame your weakness to win the bid.
Why is this important? You need real-world feedback on what you are proposing to other prospects. What you think is valuable in a sale might not be perceived as valuable as you think. You have to know what prospects value so you can charge more. Without the information you may be proposing programs, features and benefits and services that are missing the mark. Customers aren’t willing to pay more for them. You might lose sales.
How can I make more money?
Your pricing authority, if you have it, can make your business more profitable. Are you taking the time to translate why different customers should buy different packages from you and pay more for them? Pricing strategy is an important sales tool. You have to consider pricing that is fair that has legal differentiators. Some customers can and should pay more because you are offering them more value.
Where can I sell more?
Another often forgotten sales strategy is to look at each one of your accounts to determine if you are selling to each customer everything he could buy from you. I’ve discussed this with customers and often learned of other products even I didn’t realize they were buying. Whatever category of products you sell, be sure to ask your customers, “Are there other products (in this category) that you are buying from other suppliers that I could be considered?” You don’t get if you don’t ask.
You’ll know more about your business’s strengths and weaknesses when you do this sales checkup. Just like a real physical, you’ll feel better when you get the results. And like your physical, it’s your job to do something about the results when you get them.