You would be buried in nickels if you had one for every person who made a New Year’s Resolution to lose ten pounds. New Year’s Resolutions are often made and quickly broken. Did you make a New Year’s Resolution for sales? Here’s what you can do instead to create sales guidelines and get better sales results.
Sales Guideline 1. Focus on process, not results.
A resolution often focuses on the end result. That’s not empowering. Instead, it is easier for you to actually achieve your objectives when you set guidelines on what to do. Think about sales guidelines instead of reaching sales numbers.
You need to think like a quality engineer in order to set sales guidelines. Quality engineers apply quality fundamentals from the quality process. Some of these fundamentals are: Meet customer requirements and exceed customer expectations. Focus on process, not results. Leaders create the conditions to achieve the quality objectives.
Instead of focusing on the results (sales numbers) focus on the sales process. One way to do this is to create guidelines for the types of prospects you will call on. Define your prospects clearly. One guideline could be: I will only call on prospects who match 80% of my ideal customer description.
Of course, that means you have to create your ideal prospect description. Write one now if you haven’t. Then set a guideline to use while you prospect. You can set guidelines for your work on sales calls. Think about getting (digital) materials organized by type of customer, asking questions during sales calls, or something else that will be process focused instead of results.
Sales Guideline 2. Assume a neutral attitude when you hear a problem.
It’s a red alert for some of you when a customer calls with an issue. Your heart starts beating faster and you assume the worst. Others are calm in the face of a challenge. Those of you cruising for a heart attack need a guideline for dealing with the unexpected.
A good guideline to have is to always assume a neutral attitude at the beginning of a challenging meeting or phone call. Tell yourself this will neither be a wonderful situation nor will it be a disaster. This guideline serves you well and helps your selling.
With your neutral attitude you will respond calmly when a customer calls you with a problem. You can say, “Please tell me more and I can take notes while you speak.” A calm response will more likely mollify someone who is in an emotional state. Your calmness helps deescalate a potentially troubling situation. The benefit to you by starting with a neutral attitude and keeping the conversation calm is that you avoid wasting your energy.
What if the conversation does escalate? At least you started from a calm place and have farther to go to get agitated. That will serve your health better, too.
Sales Guideline 3. Do something for yourself each week.
All too often, sales professionals who work hard put their customers first. These salespeople also put everyone else before themselves, too. That must change. It’s important for you to receive some joy in your life on a regular basis.
Imagine how you would feel if you ate a steady diet of junk food every day. You wouldn’t feel all that great. If you don’t nourish your spirit with some joy on a regular basis you won’t feel so great either.
Start with something that makes you happy. Your guideline can be, “I will do what makes me happy at least one time each week.” Schedule the activity if you think you won’t follow through. You must take care of yourself this year.
Setting goals and keeping them is an activity fraught with failure. This year, instead of goals, think about making some sales guidelines. Even the word has a positive connotation. Guidelines can help guide you to have a successful year.