The 4th quarter has ended. You can almost hear a collective sigh of relief as many reps are anxious to put a difficult 2016 behind them.

So what’s your plan for Q1 of 2017? Do you move forward with the same ideas, skills, attitude and enthusiasm that you used last year? Only if you want the same type of results.

If you’re like me, you’re looking for ways to create and capitalize on more opportunities next quarter. Here are the six key principles that I’ve decided to focus on. I’m confident they could help you and your team win more business! Take a quick read and then let me know your thoughts by commenting at the end. I look forward to hearing from you.

#1. Stop dropping your price!
Dropping your prices is one of the easiest ways to try and win business when times are tough. Although price concessions can be valuable in winning key opportunities, they can easily become a crutch that masks other problems. When you sell on price you are simply renting the customer’s business, when you sell on value you own it. Work on communicating value with each and every touch point. Why, given all of the competitive alternatives available, should this customer want to do business with you now?

#2. Get a better plan.
What is your plan for reaching more potential prospects? Anyone can make calls, and it takes almost no skill to convert a huge number of contacts into a sparse number of opportunities. But if you want to significantly increase your sales results, you’ll need to have a better plan. Selling is not an activity, it’s a process. What is yours?

#3. Don’t make decisions for your prospects.
Stop assuming they won’t take your call, agree to an appointment or give you an order. I know it hurts to lose, but you can’t lose what you don’t have. Move forward the remainder of this year with a relentless “go for no” attitude. Sure you’ll face a little more rejection, but that helps clean out your funnel and forces you to focus on the right opportunities. And you just might be surprised how many times you’ll hear a “yes”.

#4. Follow up with everyone!
Customers buy when they are ready to buy, not when you are ready to sell. Too many reps throw proposal after proposal out the door and then lose interest in following up because they get distracted chasing a newer opportunity. According to the National Sales Executive Association, 80% of all new business is won after the fifth contact. Make it a practice to follow up with everyone but don’t become a pest who calls every day leaving the same message. You’re better than that. Want a tip? End every conversation with these magic words: “I know it’s easy to get busy and I’m guessing you would rather not play phone tag. Why don’t we get out our calendars and schedule our next conversation right now.” This will force both you and prospect to stay in tune and in touch!

#5. Ask for the order!
This is one of the top 3 reasons why reps don’t get the business. They just don’t ask for it. Don’t focus on the outcome, focus on the process. If you’ve done the right things in the right way, it becomes your professional responsibility to be assertive.

When should you close? Early and often! Asking for little commitments along the way makes asking for the final commitment much easier. Plus you’ll lean very quickly how real the opportunity is. Customers who are unwilling to make small commitments along the way are going to be even less enthusiastic about making a bigger commitment later on.

#6. Master the critical skills.
If you’re going to sell more every year, you need to get better every year. Let’s look at this a different way. If what you are currently doing would produce the results you are looking for, the results should have already shown up.

There is an abundance of sales books, tele-seminars, podcasts, webinars, and sales training programs available today. What are you waiting for?

So where do you start? Start by honestly answering a few of these questions.

How much preparation are you putting into each call? Are the questions you ask thought provoking or mind numbing? Do your ideas have value for the prospect or do you find yourself just pitching the “latest” widget from the factory? When was the last time you got feedback on your presentation skills? What are the top three obstacles prospects throw at you? How do you clearly and concisely address these obstacles? What are you doing every week to help build better relationships? The list goes on and on.

It takes courage to admit you could be a better sales rep and confidence to believe you can change. It takes nothing to create excuses.

Make a commitment right now to improve yourself and if you do, I’m confident you’ll close more deals and create more success!

Speaking of Sales is about finding, winning and keeping customers for life. If that’s part of your job, then you won’t want to miss the next issue.

Until then,


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