That time is upon us once again–that time for sales resolutions. What are we aiming to do next year to vastly improve on this year’s sales results?
For professional salespeople, year-end holidays can serve as a time for reflection on our work over the past year, results, and the impact we’ve had on our co-workers, customers and, most importantly, our families. Reflection rapidly gives way, though, to optimism and planning.
As the new calendar year begins, most sales organizations focus on the early-stage opportunities in their business pipeline. These are the deals that, hopefully, will close throughout the new year. This switch of attention moves off of the “here and now” of December and goes onto the “what and how” of January. Opportunities are plentiful, and sales meetings around the world are pervaded by optimism.
But how long does that focus and optimism last–that energy that comes so naturally at the beginning of the new year? When January is over and the day-after-day reality of selling and working with customers has set in, does it pass? Or does it last a quarter, half a year, or actually never wear off?
There is something you can do if that January optimism seems to wear off too rapidly. The world’s best salespeople maintain that optimistic focus throughout the year–and so can you. Start by taking a good, hard look at your business pipeline for 2018. Put your focus on deals that are in the earliest stages of development. Think about the following with regard to your customers as you go through that early-stage pipeline review:
- What big, important problems can we solve for that customer? What significant, really valuable opportunity can we help them to capture?
- What actions, if any, has that customer taken to address their problem or opportunity? If none, what action would we propose they take?
- What needs have we uncovered or need to be developed to justify and drive the action we want the customer to take next?
- What will our conversation, our questions need to sound like when we earn the right to meet with the customer?
Consider when these questions would be most useful to you. Is it only at the start of the New Year that one should consider these questions, or is there value in taking this approach with early-stage opportunities throughout the year?
You decide. If you’d like to operate more like the way that great sales organizations do, then consider how you and your sales team can change. How will your sales meetings change? How will you adjust your sales cadence, your key metrics, or the resources you apply to early-stage opportunities?
If you’re not sure about the answers to these questions, then call someone who can help you to establish the right focus and to consider the questions I’ve posed about early-stage opportunities throughout the year. Thank you for reading, and best wishes to you as you set and follow through on your sales resolutions for 2018!
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