Did you make New Year’s resolutions? Why bother. Most people will break them anyway. Instead, why not take some time now (if you haven’t already) to think about your selling this year. Thinking about what you might do is the first step in actually doing the actions that get you better sales results. Here’s what you can think about.
Think about your selling skills.
One of the most important selling skills is listening. Listening in sales is not just hearing. It’s listening for understanding. Listening for selling successfully means paying attention. You must be a careful observer of what your prospect and customers say and do. Loyal customers give you feedback when asked, return calls promptly and help you understand their business so you can serve them better. There are few surprises.
It’s important as well to observe what they aren’t doing to support you. Customers who are not loyal are often shopping your competitors, looking to lower your price and keep you off balance with more and more special requests that are in their interests, not yours. Your listening and careful analysis will help you develop a strategic vision for your sales process and how you work with each prospect. Your skillful execution comes next.
Think about your sales process.
Part of your selling is understanding situations change that make your business vulnerable. Asking “what if?” periodically during the year will help you prepare for a change in your business. Here are a few examples.
Perhaps you have a strong supporter at a large account. Ask yourself, “What if he left?” What would happen to your business? Would you be vulnerable to competition? Do you have enough back up supporters who would continue to buy from you? Your answers might force you to start building strategic alliances with additional supporters at that account.
Another question is “What if a large customer lost its largest customer?” Do you know the strengths of your customers’ business and projections for 2023? Do you know what would happen to your sales if that customer lost a major piece of business? Your answer might force you to reexamine your 2023 prospects to gauge how strong they are and whether you have a sufficient cushion for your 2023 sales goals.
Think about your improvement.
You may have had a great 2022. Congratulations! It’s now time to start over. Not getting to rest on your laurels is a feature of selling. I often see the successful sales professionals given more challenging goals than the less successful salespeople. It doesn’t seem fair. Selling isn’t fair. It’s often the result of hard work and a little luck. Start thinking about what you can improve in your skillset this year instead of complaining about what is or isn’t’ fair.
Do you need to read more books on selling to help you improve? Do you need to sign up for a class to learn a new skill or improve an existing one? You should always consider improving your skills even if you don’t have tougher sales goals this year. Getting complacent or not working as smart as your competition is a good predictor of losing sales. The new year has begun. It’s time to think about your selling this year if you haven’t already.