I recently received a call from a colleague whom I’ve sold with and coached regularly. He was sending me his sales plan and recent revenue numbers for us to discuss together. With a new job and in his first quarter with a new employer, one of the best revenue producers I’d known found himself bearing witness to the atrophy of his initial revenue forecast commitment. The Result: embarrassment, frustration and disgust at the thought of being at the bottom of a sales leader board. (Note – this was also a déjà vu moment for me.)
After listening to 10-minutes of venting, I asked: “Are you finished yet?” He laughed when realizing his Type-A, hyper-competitive personality was both an asset and a curse… if it wasn’t kept in check. This scenario also provoked me to spend time in introspection as I asked myself “Do I sound like that too?”
Here are the Top 5 Actions we agreed to implement to change the view from the bottom of the leader board.
Take a humility pill: step away from the ledge, and don’t jump! You’re good – not God. The view from the bottom is usually temporary and in transitional scenarios such as this, finger-pointing can be dangerous and self-condemnation is premature. Share your perspectives with a supportive manager and winners on the team to leverage their experience for guidance.
Practice a Flawless Opening: It’s true – first impressions count. Be prepared and be certain you have articulated or presented clear, concise, and compelling business reasons for them to remain engaged with you… again. An acceptance for a meeting invitation is nothing. The question is, are you being invited back?
Think Big, Be Big: You’ll work just as hard for a $5,000 deal as you will a $50,000 deal… and won’t achieve your quota objectives. Re-prioritize your focus to invest 80% of your the time and energy doing those things that matters most, with contacts who are ready, willing, and able to buy. Delegate non-revenue generating activities and engage in those activities that will make a BIG difference quickly.
Network with your peers & recruit new partners: This company’s largest previous deal came from a lead which was supplied by a partner. Replicate success and recruit other partners who have ongoing access to the hottest projects, understand the latest trends and have executive-level access to the clients you want to do business with.
Up-sell Existing Customers & Revisit Lost Deals: The fastest path to new revenue has always been thru an existing customer. Initiate account reviews to ascertain what’s changed, discuss new capabilities and ask for referrals.
Chris Bel, III