Good feedback from last week’s article so I’m going to continue the theme this week with 4 more habits that I’ve found will lead to greater sales success. It’s important to remember that it takes a combination of good habits to ensure a successful sales career, not just one or two. And, like sports competition, the best salespeople are very disciplined about practicing and applying these habits every day.
Make “Follow-Up” Your Mantra
The definition of a ‘mantra’ is: a word or sound repeated to aid concentration in meditation.
The word that successful salespeople should be repeating is “follow-up.” EVERY interaction with a customer requires follow-up. Phone calls, meetings, lunches and entertaining all have some form of follow-up that is required by the salesperson. I recommend following up all of these events with emails, at the very least.
These follow-up emails are important because you are putting in writing what was discussed, what was agreed to (or not), and what are the next steps. If you’re like me, with many meetings and calls, having these written emails are a lifesaver. In fact, I always bcc myself so that I have record of the customer follow-up directly appearing in my inbox…which I can highlight based on the next actions I need to take.
Set Up a New Meeting Every Day
Sales don’t just occur in a vacuum. It’s incredibly rare when a customer calls out of the blue and asks if they can buy something from you today. Success in sales depends upon having potential sales in the pipeline. And, the most effective way to have potential sales in the pipeline is to have customer meetings scheduled. The number of customer meetings that you need to have per week really depends on what industry you are working. For me, living and driving in Southern California and working in media sales, I try to have a minimum of one customer meeting per day. Some days I’ll have 2-4, other days I’m shut out…but on average, I work to hit that one per day minimum.
Making this works requires a daily effort to set up and schedule meetings. Chances are, you will have to send 3-5 meeting requests per day to get one meeting scheduled. And you’ll probably have to resend the request 2-3 times before you get a response. All of that is fine and expected.
Entertain a Customer at least Once a Week
One criticism that I’ve heard from many customers over the years about certain salespeople is, “They’re always on…always too salesy.” I get it…we’re all in sales and our jobs are to sell things. But I believe that it is important to try to get to know your customers in a situation different from sitting across the desk. I love music and sports, so a lot of my customer entertainment revolves around those two areas. But, you really won’t get to know what your customers are interested in until you get them out to a lunch, breakfast or dinner.
Some customers will tell you that they are so busy that they can’t take the time for lunches, etc. The answer to that might be grabbing a coffee or even taking a brief power walk together. The point is not what you end up doing but to get the time to know someone on a non-vendor/buyer situation.
Say “Thanks” to your Teammates!
The sales superstars know that their success is not just because of their efforts…but the result of a coordinated group effort. If you’re in a team sport, like sales, you know that the entire team gets the result, not just one person. So, in that spirit, it is really important to say “Thanks” to all of your teammates who help you to be a successful salesperson. This thank-you can take many forms, but I think that lunches or drinks can be a great way to show appreciation to your team. Find out what your teammates want to do and then set it up. Salespeople are the best compensated (or should be) in any sales organization. When you get a bonus or commission, take some of that money to do some entertaining of your own team.
Remember, all of these habits will help a good salesperson become a great salesperson. Start each day with a plan and purpose and you will get the results.