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Tennessean Column- Sunday, May 18

Posted on: May 16

Author: Tom Black
Tennessean Column- Sunday, May 18

The Sales Profession is in a Mess

Here are some interesting facts about Sales and what you can do about them.

Only 67% of sales people make their quota.  This is even more revealing when you realize that not every company has sales quotas.

Figures vary, but between 45 and 60 percent of a salesperson’s time is not spent selling.  They are responsible for many things that do not involve prospects. Did you know that 90% of selling content provided by the companies is never used in selling a prospect?  There is just too much information for a salesperson to mobilize and use effectively.  Qvidian Sales Execution Survey for 2014 says 88% of missed opportunities were because salespeople could not leverage or find internal resources.  WOW- 80% of sales are made between the fifth and the twelfth contact with a prospect but 48% of salespeople never follow up with their prospects after a first call.  The good news is your competition is facing the same problems.  The bad news is when your competition does not face these issues.  Not all companies do.  These are averages.

So if you are in sales these statistics may be shocking but most of us are guilty of some or all of these “sales sins”.  Most of these issues are resolved by time management.  Salespeople are pulled in many directions but it is the salesperson’s job to straighten it all out and they must do it to be successful.

I have observed one quality from salespeople that are not part of the statistics.  They have a well-organized and effective “to do list”.  Yes, almost everyone has a to do list but most are not used effectively. 

  • A to do list assumes deadlines- some are short term and some long term.  Give each item on your to do list a due date.  Hold yourself accountable or get a coach or manager to hold you accountable.
  • Review your to do list at the beginning of each day.  Not after you have done other things.  Make it your first duty each day.  While you are reviewing it, prioritize it.  Put the most important task at the top of the list and then second, third, etc.  Focus on finishing one task (starting with the most important) before you move on.  Multitasking is not appropriate here.  Most of the time you will not get everything on your to do list done but you will get the most important things done.
  • Secondly, use time blocking.  Block a time on your calendar to do certain tasks.  Follow up, new calls, proposals, etc.  Make an appointment with yourself.  Write it out or put it on your calendar and keep it.  Do not let other people or events make you break your appointments.  Keep your appointment with yourself just as you would a client or a prospect.
  • Finally, be your own coach.  Watch your game (filins ?).  Look back over your calendar for the last calendar and analyze where you spend your time and what mistakes you made in time utilization.  When we recognize past mistakes it makes it easier to avoid making them twice.  Constant improvement is possible but only by examining past mistakes.

Shakespeare said in Measure for Measure, “Our doubts are traitors, and make us lose the good we oft might win, by fearing to attempt.” 

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