The request for quota predictions brings fear into the hearts of novice salespeople, particularly those new to the profession. It brings to mind the game of ‘Truth or Dare’ along with ideas for minimizing the damage that could potentially take place.
Every new sales employee is shocked to learn that they are expected to precisely state their incoming sales total beginning with the very first month of employment. It takes months to begin to fill a sales pipeline along with a rhythm for knowing which sales will finalize. Some consider just how devious they should be when reporting their numbers. But from the corporate standpoint, the executives need to know ahead of time what they will be required to deliver so that all promises may be satisfied.
The sales profession is not even close to being a science. Given the many variables involved, sales prediction is almost fantasy or at best case, wishful thinking.
The real goal for salespeople is to move the fictional meter as close as possible to match the reality level. On average, sales representatives finalize 25% of the possibilities they encounter. One requirement to succeed is to have a thick skin upon losing 75%. Some suggest that four times one’s quota is the ideal for one’s pipeline at all times. But this alone will not produce stellar results.
Why the Poor Performance?
The main reason that sales do not finalize is the lack of follow-up. Most often fear gets in the way. The fear may relate to the uncertainty of the process in general, feeling inadequate with the point of contact, or concern over interrupting someone’s day only to have the possibility destroyed.
However, with an established process in place, and agreed to by the prospective client, dates and times may easily be captured for the next steps along with the preferred timing to follow-up. The best way to learn the buyer’s preferred process and their timeline is to ask.
Excelling in sales requires asking and confirming what was heard to ensure accuracy. The bigger mistake most make is the incessant talking. Being respectful of the prospective client’s time, their opinions and desire for next steps will bring you closer to the sale.
Respect and trust develop by making good on your word with timely follow-up. Most people, unfortunately, fall down on the follow-up. A convenient tracking system in place keeps those who use it on their toes. Upon connecting, inquire if it’s still a convenient time to speak. Most often the answer will be, Yes!
Rise Above the Norm
For those who wish to excel in their profession, never strive to fit in with the average. Instead, perform as if you are already the top producer even if you just began. Strive to do as much as possible each working day to fill your pipeline. Instead of ensuring four times quota in the pipeline, go for five or six times the amount as time permits. Be competitive with yourself to feel the motivation and enthusiasm build.
The best-kept secret in sales is to develop the relationship with potential clients every step of the way. If you are serious about maintaining an abundant pipeline, instead of focusing on an initial sale upfront, hold the vision of building client loyalty.
Consider this three-step formula:
1. Overflowing pipeline
2. Enthusiasm for Monday morning
3. Blossoming relationships
As tension diminishes and enthusiasm increases for filling your pipeline, you are better able to lead lively and interactive conversations. In turn, credibility and trust develop to the point of encouraging a returning and referring clientele known as the Smooth Sale!
Pipeliner CRM empowers salespeople to bring the best possible reality to sales wins. Download a free trial now.