So given starting is so important, what are the keys to success? How does planning come into the picture of sales success?
High-performance coaches say one of the biggest contributors to success is your ability to accelerate to top speed when the starting gun goes off. This additional speed, which requires pre-start planning and superior skills, provides you not only a speed advantage over your competitors but first access to clean wind. Hence your speed increases even more than that of your competitors, who are left to sail in second-hand disturbed wind and are forced to think re actively. Time and time again you will see the best salesmen “pop out” of the start ahead of their competitors. Sometimes your lead is just a boat length, but this can be all you need to win.
Getting a jump-start on achieving your goals provides you with the same advantage. It gives you first-mover advantage to opportunities that will come your way. It allows you to proactively implement your strategy and adjust it to any changing conditions that might occur, just like winning sailors adjust their sails to changing wind conditions.
How many of you are approaching the new year thinking about what your sales goals might be for 2018? Are you even thinking about the need to think about your goals for 2018 at all?
After speaking with several sales professionals, it was noticed that they have already locked in 80 percent of their 2018 revenue and have been working on this for several years prior. We are talking about contract renewals, annuity income, and clients with expanding needs. They also know their numbers intimately. They know their conversion rate and who their ideal customer is and offer their products and solutions only when there is a good fit and where there is a good chance of success through a win-win relationship.
One sales director has a 5-5-5 strategy for key accounts in his planning stage. He asks his team to name which five accounts they want to acquire, which five they want to grow, and which five they would be happy to see leave. He does this because he knows that there are only 24 hours in the day and you cannot just keep taking on more. Focus is the key.
Getting time to work on your sales quota rather than in sales is vital to ensuring a strong start to the first quarter. Working on your business means using leverage and scale to drive results rather than being operationally focused, buried in day-to-day meetings and doing the work for others simply because you are more effective at getting it done.
Do not underestimate the power of planning based on results 12 months later. A successful salesman once said he can’t get 12 months’ work done in 12 months, but he can in 11. What he means is by allocating a month to planning, he can achieve a full year of solid results.
It is the same with the top sailors. The best leave the beach early to prepare for the part of the race that will give them the greatest return for effort, and that is the race start.