Improving Sales Performance
Sales is the curiosity of not knowing what will emerge from the next phone call or meeting. There is no easy way about it. It takes courage to dial that number. You have no justification for doing so, other than to offer them your voice about why your product or service is their need.
One of the most important steps is getting over the fear factor. It is critical for us as sales professionals to take the leap, swallow your adam’s apple, then dive right in. After all, our biggest satisfaction comes from the riskiest attempts in life. Look at the individual efforts of athletic champions. They do one thing really, really well; stick their head out to be number one in their category, every single time their sport summons them. They could easily apply that to business, with the same need for victory. They have a constant goal, are measured to that constant goal, and strive to constantly improve so they eventually hit their goal. All followed by the creation of a another metricized goal. Sales is no different. Our machine is communication skills, our measurement is in performance for the brand, and our outcome is glory from consistent improvement. You need to practice your approach on the phone, otherwise you will never be #1.
One of the most important aspects to improvement is self-awareness. If you know where you are in the sales rankings, you can pick yourself up. If you know you are already at the top, you can set higher goals to push for even more. There were two clear times in my career where I knew that I needed improvement, but more importantly, knew I could do it. I remember it well, ranking 25th on a floor of 50 people. It was a tough year, with tons of cancellations and a -3% percent return on my book of revenue! I would look at the report and wonder how I was so low on the list when usually I would be in the top 10 at least! So, I took to my manager. I made a claim, a resounding statement that I would get to the top ten within a few weeks. I had to answer to my proclamation. There was no room for failure on my own words. With curiosity, focus, and ambition; I reached that goal and was 8th on the list within 5 weeks. It is possible to achieve more, we just need to be hungry in the morning and hungry in the afternoon.
Ask yourself this question: have you improved since you started selling? You can measure that in absolutes, or by using soft KPI’s. A soft KPI could be something as easy as holding potential clients on the phone longer. If something is proving you are succeeding more, then keep pushing, shifting your KPI to something new and more challenging. Track it diligently, and ensure it gets achieved each month. Sales is not a floating game, it takes a desire to see your name in the lights, not for just ego, but for the competitive spirit. Our sports analogy above is very realistic. You are a sales beast that needs to feed your competitive spirit by winning another contract. Embrace that by asking your manager more questions about your performance.
I hope this post inspires you to take action, seeking a new performance level, looking at alternative ways to measure your performance, and ensuring that you always keep your competitive light flickering. Thank you for reading.
John Lilly is a sales and marketing professional, with deep experience in building sales teams while co-ordinating the marketing effort. You can catch up with him on his new project, www.reson8agency.com, where he and a team of creatives are seeking clients that are tired of the same old creative agency routine.