So how WAS your first quarter of 2006? Wait – it’s still the middle of 4th quarter; what am I talking about? One of the things that salespeople and sales managers tend to lose sight of is the factor that time plays in the sales cycle. We think if we work really hard this month that we can pull out a great month, or a great quarter. But, do desperation, last-minute pushes really work? If you’re a professional salesperson, who believes in doing the right thing for your clients and prospects, then the last-minute push will most likely backfire on you. Sure, you could get a few closed deals, but they probably won’t be quality deals; that is to say, sales that are really in the best interests of your building long-term relationships.
In the programs we conduct with our clients we teach that the definition of selling is: Asking people what they do, how they do it, where they do it, who they do it with, and why they do it that way . . . and then helping them to do it better. And, selling that way takes time.
So then, how do you make sure that your future sales are secure? First, you need to understand that the prospecting work you do today is where your future sales will come from. If you don’t make your cold calls or otherwise make contact with new leads, it’s not today’s sales that suffer - it’s the business two or three months down the road that won’t be there.
Failure to understand this fundamental aspect of selling is the number one cause of boom and bust sales cycles. Anyone who’s been in sales for any period of time has gone through this; one month you’re on top of the world beating the sales records, and the next month you’re wondering if you’ll still have your job in a month… Why does that happen? Well, during the time when sales are booming, where is the sales rep’s time being spent? Activities such as servicing the existing business, managing the process, and basking in the glory of success are typical. And, what’s the one activity that’s likely to STOP during this time? You guessed it - active prospecting and cold calling… It’s almost a universal truth.
And yet, in a survey of top salespeople over a ten year period, we found that the most consistently successful salespeople spent 45% of their time in prospecting activities! This was by far where they spent more of their time than any other activity. The most successful salespeople know that no matter how successful they are, they need to consistently find new people to talk to and sell to.
So, start thinking about next year now. Want to have your best year ever? Then pick up the phone and make those cold calls TODAY!
Copyright 2005 Lexien Management Consultants, Inc
Mark Dembo; President, Lexien Management Consultants (http://www.lexien.com ) Mark has over 20 years of sales, sales management, and business development experience, focused on improving the performance of individuals and organizations. Lexien Management Consultants provides sales training, consulting, and coaching services to organizations and individuals who are motivated to grow their businesses. Each month, Lexien publishers the “Sale Success Newsletter. " Lexien Management Consultants is an affiliate of DEI Management Group. You can contact Mark at 914-682-2069.