Who says sellers should have to wait until the last few days of the year to “eek out” their annual sales objectives? What if you could reach your quota by the end of August, leaving plenty of time to then exceed expectations–even break the bank in terms of receiving larger bonuses and fatter commission checks? Who likes spending the holiday season chasing last-minute deals anyway?
Sound enticing? It’s not only possible to overshoot your 2017 sales goals, it is well within your control. And here’s why…the approach you take to dealing with customers will likely have a greater impact on your success than any other external factors in your business.
There is no magic wand or secret formula, however. If anything, traditional sales approaches may actually be your enemy moving into 2017, as it’s likely that most, if not all, of your competitors are following the same process models you do: where Step 1 is Identifying Opportunities, Step 2 is Qualify, Step 3 is Uncovering Needs, blah, blah, blah. There’s simply no upside to sounding the same as everyone else.
Yet, in most every company (in virtually all industries), some salespeople continue to outperform, even when they’re offering similar products and services to the same types of customers. What (exactly) are they doing to identify a broader range of needs, deliver more compelling messages, and gain a competitive advantage? The answer is actually quite simple. The “secret” to their success (or rather, their advantage) ultimately boils down to the fact that they are able to execute more effectively than the rest of the crowd.
You must assume that each of your competitors is also trying their best to identify new prospects, qualify, uncover needs, and so on. Thus, your results moving forward will ultimately be determined by your ability to accomplish those objectives more effectively than the rest of the masses. Of course, this might require upgrading your approach and adjusting some of the tactics that may have worked in the past, but no longer make sense in today’s increasingly competitive marketplace.
Bottom line: It’s important to recognize that the field on which the game of selling is now being played has changed. Instead of just identifying the steps of the sales process, top performers are figuring out that their ability to more effectively execute the steps of the sales process is more important than the process itself. That’s where technique and strategy come into play.
It is no longer enough for sellers to bury their heads and go through the motions of trying to identify new accounts, qualify, uncover needs etc. Instead, your success is more likely going to be determined by the softer skills—things like the ability to pique the customer’s interest to gain more mindshare from key decision makers in important target accounts. Or, broadening the customer’s needs, conveying more value than the competition, and creating a greater sense of urgency that will enable you to secure the commitments necessary to move forward with a decision to purchase your product or service.
The extent to which these “soft” interpersonal selling skills can be enhanced will have a direct impact on your bottom line results. They can give you what I like to call an “unfair” competitive advantage. So, why wait until the end of the year to scramble to make your numbers? Why not achieve your sales goals by the end of August, and then take it up a notch from there?
Doing this shifts the focus from simply thinking about the steps of the sales process “what” you’re trying to accomplish. Instead, your success in 2017 and beyond will be a direct correlation of “how” effectively you are able to execute within whatever process model your company currently has in place.
It’s going to be a very Happy New Year!