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sales successIf you have read any of my blog posts you know I talk with salespeople everyday and I hear about what is working and what is not. I talk with business owners and CEOs who say their salespeople are struggling and can’t seem to get out of the slump.

So what is it I hear and observe?

Mostly, sales teams seem to be short on strategy and plans, unsure who their ideal customer is, not clear on their top value propositions and a bit unfocused on prospecting.

The upside…salespeople want to be successful and want to be successful for themselves and their companies.

So, what’s a salesperson or sales team to do?

If you have a sales manager:

  • Ask your sales manager what their plan is for the team, what their major initiatives are.
  • Ask your sales manager how they can help you, remember that is part of their job description.
  • Build value propositions and scripts with your sales  manager, make sure your message is simple enough to be understood by a fourteen-year old. If not, start over.
  • Write your plan down include your goals, share it with your manager.
  • Invite your sales manager to travel with you, critique the calls as you complete them.

If you DO NOT have a sales manager:

  • Read everything you can from some of the top sales professionals including Jill KonrathJonathan Farrington, among others.
  • Find a mentor or sales coach who can provide honest, fresh perspective.
  • Consider and build your personal and professional brand. Start with LinkedIn and build your profile correctly from the beginning.
  • Know how to use LinkedIn well.
  • Think about how you like to engage when you are the buyer, not the SELLER.
  • Build your intellectual capital, be a resource.
  • Sit down, go to Starbucks, sit in a parking lot, wherever you can focus for an hour and think. Think about and write down everything that comes to mind regarding:
  1. Your top five personal and professional goals.
  2. What’s your hourly rate, what do you want to earn?
  3. Understand how you sell and who you sell to.
  4. Who your best customers are and what they all have in common.
  5. What you sell, skip features and benefits, and think business issues. Do you help someone increase revenue, decrease costs, build loyalty?
  6. How you prospect. Do you network, cold call, ask for referrals, use social media, write letters, do nothing and hope?
  7. How you outline your sales process. Detail your steps including after your first order/project.
  8. How does your sales efforts align or intersect with your marketing efforts?

Phew, after you answer those questions, thoughtfully and honestly take a break. Set it aside and come back to it a day later and read it carefully, spend a few days with it, tweak it and see if you can begin to connect the dots, see patterns and begin to create your sales story and plan.

That’s enough for now, work on it, take it seriously.

We are seven months into the year, halfway through the third quarter, not much of the year left, make it work for you, don’t let it slip by. Get going, and if you begin now, you will be able to make the rest of 2011 successful and jumpstart your 2012. We, as salespeople, need to get this economy going. Let’s do our part.

More to come on this topic, I will go a bit deeper in the next several posts, stay tuned. Let me know how you are doing.