Increase Sales by Focusing on the Basics

Vince Lombardi, the great Green Bay Packers coach, once said that football comes down to two things: Blocking on offense and tackling on defense, and those are the basics those championship Packer teams spent 80% of their time on in practice. Red Auerbach, who coached the Boston Celtics to eight consecutive championships, is known for having players practice basic shots over and over again from very short distances and even while standing right under the basket. Lombardi, Auerbach, and all other great coaches have always taught the importance of focusing on the basics in order to be successful. Business and selling are a lot like sports. It’s often been said that the one key fundamental principle of business is: focus on the basics, and the same is true for selling. When it comes to sales and selling, there are certain key fundamentals, or basics, to follow that ultimately lead to sales success.

Basic Principle 1: Plan Your Work and Work Your Plan

You have to start every day with a plan. This starts by knowing your annual goal and breaking that down into monthly goals, weekly goals, and finally daily activity. In other words, how many calls do you need to make on a daily basis to get the leads and sales to hit all your weekly, monthly and annual goals? Every day you have to know that daily number and do whatever you have to do to hit it. In fact, ideally your objective should be to exceed your daily activity numbers every day.

Basic Principle 2: Spend More Time on Your Most Important Tasks

The three activities you should be spending the majority of your time on during the work day are: prospecting, presenting and closing. That’s it. Everything else should be delegated or done during off-work hours. Now we realize the world isn’t perfect and things will come up that you need to handle. At the same time, if you’re focused on these three activities and adamant that you will do as much of them during the work day, avoiding procrastination and other time wasters, you’ll find it will do wonders for your business.

Remember: Sales IS a numbers game. Yes, relationships are the most important but to have the number of relationships you need, you first have to talk to lots of people. It’s simple, the more people you talk to, the more business you will do. If you talk to enough people during the day, you’ll eventually run into someone who either needs your product or knows someone who needs it.

Basic Principle 3: Get Back to Personal Communication and Build Relationships

The most effective way to connect with people is still in-person communication first, followed second by phone. In other words, live communication. Today we have a plethora of technology devices at our disposal and there can be a tendency to use them too much. In-person communication has been replaced by e-mails, text messages, video conferencing and sometimes, little or no communication at all. Now is the time to make more in-person visits to customers to say “hello,” drop off the proposal instead of mailing or e-mailing it, and to follow up in person instead of trading voice messages or faxes. Hand-written notes are also rare these days. You should be sending hand-written thank you notes, birthday cards, holiday cards, and anniversary cards on the anniversary date of the day you started doing business with someone. Your objective is to have more personal contact at a time when your competitors are calling less and being less personal.

At the end of the day, it’s all about people and relationships. You have to connect with people on a personal level and stay in communication and continue to build the relationship.

Basic Principal 4: Get Better at Selling

The better you are at selling, the more effective you’ll be prospecting, presenting, closing, and building relationships. You’ll spend less time hitting your goals and more time talking to the right people the right way. Oh, and you’ll also be more successful. The fastest way to get better at selling is to one: make sales a study, and two: do what the top salespeople do.

Become a student of selling, be a sponge, read, listen to and watch anything you can on the subject of selling. Next, find the top salespeople in your company, your industry, and in other industries. If they have books, CDs, or other programs, invest in them and go through them thoroughly. Call them on the phone, e-mail them, or otherwise get in touch with them and ask them what makes them successful. It’s simple, if you do the same things as top salespeople, you will get the same results.

Basic Principal 5: Work Hard and Smart

We talked a bit about working smart when we talked about finding the top salespeople and doing what they do. You don’t want to reinvent the wheel and you don’t have to, simply find out what makes the top salespeople the top salespeople and do what they do. You also want to use best practices in your industry. Look for ways to work more efficiently.

In addition to working smart, you have to work hard. The most successful people in any field are the hardest workers. In addition to making lots of calls and talking to lots of people, every day you have to work hard on your mental attitude, on keeping negatives out, on staying motivated, and on everything else that your selling career involves.

Article By: John Chapin

Source: PIA Agency Marketing Guide