The Heat is On!
Summer is here (in some locations it’s hot) and it seems everyone is on vacation. This might give your salespeople a signal to slow down because they think everyone is out of the office. Granted, having a 4-day weekend for the 4th of July did make it challenging.
The crazy thing is, I reached a lot of people. Did your salespeople? Or did they stop calling because they believed everyone took the week off?
Fire Up Your Sales Team
There’s nothing like a fire and toasting marshmallows on cool summer evenings in the Sierra’s. It’s one of my summer delights. Summer is a great time to get a fire lit under your sales team too.
Get them fired up! Get them focused on what’s most important, selling. Sounds silly, right? You think they are focused on selling.
Find out what your salespeople are doing with their time.
What percent of it are they spending selling vs doing other activities that may need to be done but are not as important?
What percent of their time is putting out fires or chasing down information that takes them away from selling?
It’s time to fire them up and get them focused on sales.
What is Selling Time?
Let’s define what I mean by “selling time.” It’s any time spent prospecting, qualifying, educating or closing. It can be in-person, on the phone, through email or on social media. It qualifies as selling time if you are learning about the needs of a prospect to determine if there is a good fit for what they need and what you sell. It’s the kind of work that moves the sale forward or helps you decide that this is not a prospect.
So, What Should You Do?
Fire them up! You may be thinking about contests and prizes or motivational speakers as a way to motivate them. Those are great, but what I am about to share will get them more fired up.
There are some key selling activities that if you coach your sales team to do, they will be more motivated. Trust me, I’ve done this a dozen of times and although it seems mundane, I have had salespeople say, “This is great,” and are eager to put what they learned into action.
Remind them that closing work is always done first, next is prospecting and then qualifying and only after that does all the other work get done.
What about putting out fires, you say? That’s your job as a sales leader. Remove as many distractions and obstacles as you can, so they can focus on closing deals, prospecting and moving deals forward.
I’ll help you do it, just schedule a call and we’ll work together to figure out how you can make sure your salespeople have time to be fired up about sales and not distracted with the heat from all the other non-priority activities trying to burn up their selling time.
Here’s the key, they have to do the selling activity in the right order.
The Order Matters
Closing: Work on closing deals. They should keep track of where they are in the sales cycle with each prospect and be sure to close any deals that are ready to be closed. This should be easy with the opportunity report in your CRM.
Prospecting: Spend time each day prospecting. They can meet people by phone, email, social media, in-person (one-on-one), at networking events and trade shows. Make sure they have plenty of prospecting activity each week with the people most likely to buy from you. Once the prospecting and closing are taken care of they should go back to see where their other opportunities are and move them forward.
Qualifying: Qualify any prospects that show interest. This is time-consuming but important. Make sure they are preparing for these meetings. They need to ask good questions and listen to quickly determine if it is a good fit. If it is a good fit, they will move on to educate those qualified prospects, so they understand how your product or service meets their needs. As they move through the sales process encourage your salespeople to properly demonstrate your product or have their prospects talk to a few satisfied customers. Help them prepare to handle any objections that come up and make sure the prospect has all the information they need to make the right decision. Don’t delay. Sales cycles are long enough without your salespeople prolonging them.
Sales is the Priority
Spending time selling should be a priority for your salespeople. It probably is a priority, but that doesn’t mean they are getting it done. To get priorities completed planning is required. Most salespeople are not naturally good at planning and will need your help. Their calendar is their best friend. If used properly, it will help assure prime selling hours are protected and other activities are scheduled outside of that time.
Here’s what I recommend, help them plan daily, weekly, monthly, and annual selling activities and put them on a calendar along with other tasks including time for planning.
Crazy, you say? This is time well spent! Remember this activity has a direct impact on your revenue! To teach them to do this, here are my best planning tips.
Alice’s Best Planning Tips to Fire Up Your Sales Team
Daily: Plan your day. Choose a time first thing in the morning or at the end of the previous day to plan your upcoming day. Do not start the day with email. Planning your day should take you about 15 minutes if you have done your weekly planning. Before you check email and voicemail and before everyone else’s priorities get in your way, take a look at your schedule and priorities for the day and make any necessary adjustments. Make sure time is scheduled for sales follow-up. Add daily planning time to your calendar.
Weekly: Put a 30-minute appointment on your calendar each week to do your planning. During this time, look at your upcoming week. Put scheduled meetings on your calendar, time to prepare for sales calls, travel time, time to do a follow-up on sales calls, and networking. Include several blocks of time a week for prospecting and pick a time of day when you are at your best. Block time out on your calendar to work on your to-do list. Two days before each sales call, add a 30-minute block to write out your plan for the meeting.
Monthly: You’ll need one hour a month to plan for your upcoming month. I like to do this 10 days before the end of the current month. Take a look at the big picture so that your weeks can run smoothly. Put any planned meetings or events on your calendar for the month ahead. If you have a trade show coming up or a sales presentation, be sure to block off plenty of preparation time to prevent having to pull an all-nighter. Last-minute rush jobs are never our best work. If you plan to have enough preparation time, you can save yourself a lot of agonies.
Annually: Planning for the upcoming year should happen in October or November. Set several hours aside to set goals and make your plan. You can schedule the events, programs, conferences, trade shows, promotions, and other activities you will need to meet your goals as well as the planning time needed. I like to block time 12 weeks in advance of a show or event to do the planning.
Give Yourself a Break from the Heat
It will take time to work with each salesperson and make sure they are prioritizing their selling time properly. With all this planning for them, make sure that you carve out some time for yourself to escape the heat. Nothing is fun or easy when you are tired and crabby. And if you are tired and crabby, please don’t coach your salespeople! You need to be at your best when coaching.
Use your own calendar to plan and schedule so that you have time to do the things you need to and get some time for yourself. Coaching is always easier, and you get better results when you are in a good mood.
Try these ideas to fire up your sales team this summer and let me know how they work. Summer is a great time to work on basics and these basics will add consistency and predictability to your sales.
Want to toast some marshmallows with me virtually? Here’s the link to schedule a chat and get some ideas to fire up your sales team.
Alice is nationally known for her expertise in elevating sales to increase valuation for companies with a B2B complex sale that have exceptional growth potential. She’s originally, from the widely known Miller Heiman Group. Spending her time strategizing with CEOs and their leadership teams to build the strategies that find new business and grow existing accounts is her passion. Her clients love her spirit and the way she energizes their sales organization.