Do you want to be a top salesperson? If you are in sales then the answer is most likely to be yes!
Ok, we have the drive, but what do you actually have to do to become a top salesperson? The first thing you need to grasp is that to be good at sales, you have to work hard and have an eye not only for an opportunity, but one for detail as well. Many salespeople achieve a good level of sales revenue, but, if they do not grasp the whole picture, then opportunities are lost which means for each sale made, not all the available revenue is realised.
You have to work smart. I am sure you will already have heard all you think there is to hear about sales pipelines and such? Ok, the first thing to realise is that within that pipeline you need a range of prospect deadlines. Not all your opportunities should be long term, tender type business. There should be a mixture of short, medium and long term closes. This will give you regular opportunities to close as opposed to lulls in the sales process due to the length of any particular sales process. You also have to know that filling this pipeline is a continuing process, any gaps in filling it, and you will get gaps in sales.
If you have the facilities available, learn to delegate. Most Company’s have some sort of sales support function. Make sure you use it. Any time you lose due to administration or an account management function that can be carried out by someone else means that you are not doing what you need to do to increase sales. Get other people to do these jobs for you. However, do not fire and forget such jobs, review process and results and redirect as necessary.
Make sure you know the balance you need to succeed between being a hunter (new business) and farmer (account management). This will differ dependant upon your market segment, but you do need to know, otherwise you are working blindly towards your target.
Keep in mind that your existing Customers are your bread and butter. It’s easy to lose a Customer and then very hard to win them back. There is nothing worse than having a large percentage of your newly gained sales being used to simply fill the gaps of those Customers that have drifted away. You need to make sure the hole in the bottom of your bucket is either non existent or as small as possible, otherwise you will never fill that bucket. As an aside, such losses are often due to some service issue outside of your immediate remit, learn about these processes so you can do something to prevent such.
Now we look to the detail. Most of your existing Customers will have some sort of new business opportunity within them. You need to find these, after all, increasing the business you do with these Customers is easier than finding totally new business. This can be found by finding out if they have other departments or branches that you can roll out your products and services to.
If you are providing a good service, they will help you do this. Also, the more deeply entrenched you are with a Customer, the better the relationship, so another good way of improving retention. Make sure you keep in regular contact with these customers, and jump on any personnel changes immediately, as the competition will be looking for these as a toe in the door.
Examine how your Company finds new data for you, for the finding of prospects. Is it working? Does the Company encourage critiqe of such, or have a route for suggestions for improvement? If their system is not providing you with good levels of new business, your pipeline will suffer. Do something about it.
How are your networking skills? Ensure they are polished. Your existing Customers can bring you new opportunities outside of their own Company, and you need to be in a position to exploit such. Your relationships need to be good on a personal level as well as a business one. The same applies to within your own Company, as people leave and move on to new jobs, they may be of use to you in the future.
Other ways you can help yourself are, to make sure your product and sales training is a constantly moving feast. The market and business techniques are constantly changing and you need to keep up with that. Create a personal development plan, working with your Manager, and stick to it. Progress in this area will help to motivate you alongside successes in actual sales.
See yourself as a professional, because if you do all the above then you are.