1) Define your Target Market
3 questions that set you up for success (or failure)
1) Who do I call on?
2) What do I call on?
3) Why should I call them?
1) Your average revenue per account is directly proportional to what companies you decide to call on.
2) The level of responsibility you call on directly affects your sales cycle and first appointment to proposal ratio.
3) And the reason you call on them directly influences your closing ratio.
Get the picture?
What this tells you is that you do have absolute control over your performance metrics.
However, you need to be able to clear on the "who", the 'what", and the "why" to understand the most effective prospects to call on.
Your answers should relay:
Vertically by industry
Horizontally by title
Benefit-based by application.
2) Develop a 'Targeted Selection Process'
Sales people without targeted prospects are like trees without leaves. Eventually, you wither and die!
Your target list is one of the most vital ingredients to begin your sales process. Getting targeted, prospecting data should be an ongoing project. It must be done prior to and independent from the act of communicating to set a first sales appointment.
Regardless of whose responsibility it is to accumulate this target list - (the sales person or the company) - it MUST be done ahead of time. Think of it as the preferred destination on your road map, and a necessary item to check off before you start your trip.
3) Understand & Identify your 'Magic Number'
Your 'Magic Number' is the number of new appointments you need each week to assure your revenue goal is met each month. It's a derivative of your sales cycle, average revenue per sale, 1st appointment to proposal ratio, closing ratio, and revenue goal.
It too is a dynamic number which is based on your individual competency ratios and performance numbers. So, it's personal to you, and directly linked to your success.
Let me say that again.
You magic number is personal to you - and DIRECTLY affects your success.
By meeting or exceeding this activity number, you can routinely eliminate fluctuating sales results and virtually assure achieving your income goals.
4) Interpret your 'Hourly Rate'
The lure of flexibility, the temptation of low supervision and the idea of freedom from a regimented time-clock makes professional selling a very attractive career choice for the dreamers, visionaries and idealists among us.
To borrow a quote from Phil Helmuth, two-time World Champion of Poker "It's the hardest way to make easy money there is."
It's true. We don't punch a physical clock or necessarily have someone monitoring our time on the job. But we do have an internal clock of accountability.
It's not accountability to our company per say, but to our desired results and to us.
It's called our 'Hourly Rate.'
You can calculate yours by dividing your income goal by 252, and again by 9.
Want to join the 100K Club?
You don't need cumbersome time management courses to make the right choices in your daily routines if you are aware of what you are worth.
5) Block 90 minutes a day, for 'Opportunity Creation'
If you want to leap over the heads of your colleagues - adopt this strategy:
Block off 90 minutes per day (Every day) to initiate contacts for new appointments.
You can slide it up and down during the week, but do not eliminate any blocks until you achieve your 'magic number' for the week. Consider this your weekly quota. Not in revenue, but in activity.
Use the 90-minute block for contacting targets, not figuring out what targets to call. Have your list ready and complete. Discipline yourself to daily routines to achieve weekly goals for assuring your monthly results.
6) Define & Measure a minimum objective for the 1st appointment
Do you know what your objective is for your first appointment? What is it that you are trying to achieve? How are you measuring it?
Simply put your objective should be to gain commitment to take the next step in the sales process.
This evaluation will lead you to a results oriented training process to improve your 1st appointment to proposal ratio. You should develop a 'gateway' definition and business rule to gauge how may times you achieve it. Then be sure to measure it and find a strategy to re-adjust your product or service.
7) Assemble a checklist of strategies & tactics between appointments in your sales cycle
Want to know the difference between a sales leader and a sales follower?
Just watch what they do during their "in between time".
You may be shocked to know that the difference between excellence and mediocrity is what routines and processes a person puts in place between appointments, not just during appointments.
Use these tips from the X2 system to help you develop good habits between appointments.
1. Will you have all the decision-makers present for the 'closing 'appointment?
2. If not, what can be done to get them involved?
3. Is there a perception of risk because of brand identity?
4. Fax over any pertinent industry articles and testimonial letters from businesses similar to theirs.
5. Do they think you are expensive? Develop a ROI model exclusive to their business.
And on it goes.
Meet with your team to brainstorm around each scenario that happens in the sequence of appointments, and develop Powerful Routines to raise your closing ratio and quicken your sales cycle.
8) Integrate 'Customer Creation' programs
The secret of being a "master of cold-calling" is NOT actually having to do it - Jeff Hardesty
If you've been in your sales position for more than 4 months and you're still relying on cold-calling 100% of the time, you're working way too hard.
The key to efficiency is to work smart, not hard .here are a few ways to leverage your success.
Set up a process of routinely asking for referrals at the end of your sales process, (win or lose).
Join or start a lead group.
Develop your own referral program.
Identify clients with customers that you can help.
Contact businesses that have services that compliment yours, and educate them to your collaboration program. Use these 'Customer Creation' models and reap the rewards of a true entrepreneur.
Remember the key is to LEVERAGE every available resource you have.
9) Pro-actively Procure Testimonial Letters
One of the most powerful 'grass roots' marketing tools is scenario-based testimonial letters. Set up a process in your daily routine to let loose when you hear opportunities for testimonials. They are abundant, and can be born out of both good and bad scenarios.
In fact, a 'bump-in-the-road' letter is 5 times more powerful than the standard 'Golly-gee, you're great!' letter because it shows that someone had a problem and you fixed it.
Everyone knows stuff happens. So when you solve problems for people - get a letter. Strive to secure a testimonial letter from each of your customers or inquire about what you must do to get one. If you will do this, you will build an arsenal of "trust building" "customer getting" and "sales closing" tools that will be more valuable to you than gold.
10) Train for a High 'Conversation to Appointment' Ratio
Most sales organizations die a slow death from not setting enough "new" appointments on a routine basis. That's because the average conversation to appointment ratio is between 5-18%.
Therefore, the most important competency to "train to" and "ratio to measure" in sales is converting conversations to appointments.
With the myriad of potential roadblocks in your way such as voice mail, gate keepers, and busy schedules it's hard enough to just get a conversation with your prospect.
So you must dedicate some training time to this core competency. Then you can improve your conversion ratio and you will need fewer conversations to achieve the necessary number of new appointments. Less hits, more appointments.
Less time, more commission.
Jeff Hardesty is President of JDH Group, Inc. and the Developer of the X2 Sales System®, a blended training system that teaches sales professionals the competency of setting C-level business appointments. Jeff has been featured in numerous National publications such as Business First, Dartnell's SELL!NG , Chief Learning Officer and Training Magazine with reference to Blended Learning Systems and improving sales teams Key Performance Indicators.
He travels the country conducting live X2 'Boot Camps' and Train-the-trainer sessions helping sales organizations get more reps to Quota in less time, shorten new-hire 'Ramp-to-Quota' and eliminate Turnover costs due to low sales activity. Jeff can be reached at email@example.com. To view a complimentary suite of sales training ROI calculators and determine your sales team's Key Performance Indicators in line with your sales objectives visit http://convertmoresales.com/roi_calculators.php.