The Heat is On!
There’re triple-digit temperatures across the nation. Everyone is trying to stay cool and some are on vacation. This might give your salespeople a signal to slow down because they think everyone is out of the office. Granted, having the 4th of July on a Wednesday did make for a funky week. 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
Summer is a great time to get your sales team 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 is not as important? What percent of their time is putting out fires or chasing down information and takes them away from selling?
It’s time to fire them up and get them focused on sales.
What is Selling Time?
First off, 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 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 dozens 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. Remove as many distractions 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.
- 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), or at networking events. 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 and important. Make sure they are preparing for these meetings. They need to ask good questions and listen to quickly determine if there 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 and 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 learn to help them do this, here are my best planning tips. You can download a guide to help you work through this with your team or hire me to do it with them.
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, travel time, and time to do 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, vacations 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 there 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 this if you want to fire up your sales team this summer.