do you know where you’re going if you don’t know where you’ve been?
life we learn more from our mistakes than we do from our successes. Why? Well, we seldom question success; we’re too happy basking in
the glow of internal (and external) applause. But failure is a different story. It eats at us, makes us wary of our own abilities, and
temporarily strips away our confidence.
however, can be a great motivator and a not so unlikely inspiration. It gives us a chance to step back,
reflect, to pinpoint exactly what went wrong. The problem is we shouldn’t wait for failure to get us fired
up. We should be one step ahead of
the process at all times, and only excellent preparation, great note-taking
with a keen eye for buying-signal details, can lift us to the next level. Self-examination, difficult as it may
be sometimes, is absolutely necessary.
you know the history of your deals over the last month or quarter? Who bought? Public companies or private? What industry?
Financial? Technology? Consumer Goods? Why did they buy? Was it during budget season or did
other factors play a part?
These are questions you need to know the answers to
when giving a monthly or quarterly self-review. No, you don’t need to wait for your manager to point this
out to you first. Notice that the
questions above pertain to the prospect/client. But what about you, the salesperson? What kind of questions should you be
asking yourself when it’s time to step back and reflect? Here are a few:
many calls did I make last month/quarter?
You should have some idea of the calls you’re making over a given
period. I’m not saying keep track
of every single call, that can be tedious, but if the deals aren’t coming in
your first thought should be, “Am I making enough calls? Let me check the phone bill.”
many decisions did I have over the last month/quarter? You many think you’re going
gangbusters, knocking out the calls, but who exactly are you talking to? You don’t want to waste time talking to
non-decision makers. Don’t kid
yourself. Just because someone’s
on the other end doesn’t mean they’re going to buy, or can buy, or that you’re
working hard. Are they the final
decision maker? Deals never come
from non-decision makers. Be smart
and get the buyer on the phone.
many times did I ask for the sale?
It’s imperative you know the answer to this question. Are you asking for the sale? Are you moving the process forward at
all times, or are your follow-up calls dying a slow painful death? Ask for the sale, ask for the sale, ask
for the sale. Then ask again.
aren’t they buying? Maybe it’s not
your product, or the economy, or the prospect’s budget, or bad timing—maybe
it’s you! Are you fired up when
you give your pitch? Is your
product knowledge up to speed?
Does the job excite you anymore or are you going through the motions? Be honest with yourself and reevaluate
month, or quarter, a good salesperson will look back and take stock of what’s
working and what’s not. (Yes, you
can learn from success, too.)
They’ll be able to gather the necessary information, some of which is
mentioned above, and apply it to their overall sales process. Good salespeople are more attentive to
deal-making details and strive to improve much more than the average
salesperson does. The average
salesperson just plods along, not knowing where he’s been and with no idea
where he’s going. A great
salesperson always has an accurate map close at hand.