As the end of the year approaches, a lot of people are going to tell you what you should start doing to make your number in 2014. However, taking a moment to think about sales habits you should stop in the coming year can be just as effective, if not more, in helping you make your number.
Let me tell you about six bad sales habits you need to eliminate in order to be successful in 2014.
The prospective clients that have the greatest ability to help you make your 2014 number are the most difficult clients to win. They already have a partner who provides them with what you sell. They already have deep relationships. And everyone and their brother is calling on them. But because these difficult-to-win clients can totally change your results, you have to focus your effort and energy on winning them.
Honestly, much of what is in your pipeline isn’t really an opportunity. It’s a zombie. It looks like it’s alive, it looks like it’s breathing, and it stumbles around. But it’s dead. Just because someone is receptive and will take your call doesn’t mean you really have an opportunity. The best thing that you can do is dispatch the zombie opportunities and move on to the more difficult to win, but higher value prospective clients.
Any lead that you receive from marketing is a gift. I know it is their job to generate leads, and I know that you complain about not getting “ready-to-buy” leads. In 2014, you need to forget all that. You never want to rely on anyone else when it comes to making your number. Don’t wait for marketing to generate leads. Instead, do the prospecting work and build your own pipeline. Waiting isn’t a strategy.
Email is a place for other people to share their priorities for you. Nothing will kill your results faster and with more certainty than living with your inbox open. Waiting for a new email notification trains you to be reactive instead of proactive. It kills your initiative. Close your inbox. Do your real work.
In sales, like many other things in life, fast is slow and slow is fast. Salespeople can sometimes find this confusing, skipping ahead in their process to where they believe the action is: the presentation of their solution. But this isn’t where opportunities are won or lost. Opportunities are won and lost much earlier in the process. They are lost in discovery when the salesperson doesn’t spend enough time understanding and developing needs. Opportunities are lost in the mushy stage between discovery and presentation where consensus is built. Skipping past these stages ensures a loss. Spending time here greatly improves your chances of winning. Go slower to go fast.
You don’t win opportunities on price. You win them on the value that you create. I know that there are some prospective clients that will challenge you with their inability to understand the difference between price and cost. In fact, I know some of them will downright refuse to believe that there is a difference. But this is the role of the sales professional. It is your job to change their mind and show them the difference between price and cost. It is your job to find people within your prospective client accounts who understand and support making the necessary investment to get the results they really want.
Stop these bad habits today and you'll be on your way to a goal-crushing 2014.
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