Professional development plan should be included in every organization's sales plan within the strategic plan. Given that effective selling is more and more about relationships, then every sales person should be actively working to increase both their business sales skills from a people and performance (applied skills) perspective.
With the year coming to an end, now is the time for sales professionals to reflect back and honestly answer these questions:
- Did I achieve all of my sales goals whether revenue or units?
- Did I miss any sales goals whether revenue or units?
- For those goals not achieved, what was the obstacle or obstacles?
- Did I experience repeating obstacles when attempting to achieve a sale?
- How much time did I plan for professional development such as sales training?
- How much time did I personally invest in professional development?
- If I had invested the time in professional development, would I have been able to turn those lost sales into signed contracts?
- Did I consistently set and achieve all my personal goals?
HINT: For those individuals who answered No to questions number one and eight, this may indicate a gap between your personal beliefs and your sales behaviors.
Professional development should not just be regulated to attending off-site sales training conferences, but should be a plan that provides for the measurable achievement from a variety of learning resources or activities. Consider, committing to writing some of these goals:
- I will attend one conference devoted to a new product or service each quarter.
- I will read one book on selling per month.
- I will find a mentor who can assist me in improving my sales skills.
- I will join a mastermind group that focuses on selling skills.
- I will join a local Toastmaster's to improve my speaking skills.
- I will attend a seminar that focuses on effective networking techniques.
- I will hire an executive coach that specializes in developing sales professionals.
When discussing professional development as part of the strategic plan to increase sales, I consistently hear two main obstacles:
- Price – Professional development costs too much. My company does not reimburse me. I cannot afford it.
- Time- I do not have time to do what I need to do for my job or my business less alone spending time on more professional development. My free time is for myself and my family.
Consider, if price is an obstacle, then
- What is it costing in you real dollars or in future promotions by not investing in professional sales development?
- How do you know that a professional development plan costs too much?
- Have you tried to negotiate better fees or payment terms?
- Whose responsibility is it to better yourself – you or your company?
Think about, if time is an obstacle, then,
- What is poor time management costing you in missed business sales opportunities?
- Do you have a personal action plan for success that includes mental, financial/career, social, physical, family and ethics/beliefs goals?
- Is time management a real obstacle or a symptom of a deeper problem?
Unfortunately, the real obstacle is commitment. Unless you whether you are an organization or an individual are truly committed to changing, to growing, to evolving, to being the best that you can be, developing and executing a professional development plan will never become a priority. And don’t worry about it because your competition is hungry for the next client or job promotion and you can safely bet that they have a plan to leave you in standing in the dust from the results that are being delivered by their highly developed and trained professional sales staff.
Leanne Hoagland-Smith, M. S. writes, coaches and speaks about performance improvement beginning with executable strategic plans and the people and business skills necessary for execution of those plans.
One quick question, if you could secure one new client or breakthrough that one roadbloack holding you back from success, what would that mean to you? Then, take a risk and give Leanne Hoagland-Smith a call at 219.759.5601 to experience incredible results.
Visit http://www.processspecialist.com/ and explore everything from free articles to connecting with Leanne.
If you need help with your strategic plan or professional development plan to make 2007 the Best Year ever, then contact me at 219.795.5601. Until we speak, please make 2007 a Happy and a Most Prosperous New Year.