October is here and so is fourth quarter. This is always an interesting quarter for sales professionals because you are working to achieve 2012 goals but also have to start working on hitting Q1 goals for 2013.
Unfortunately, many salespeople give into the pull of instant gratification. Instead of taking time to analyze their business, they just keep doing what they have always done, hoping for better results.
Since hope is not a very effective strategy, I am going to suggest that you apply the emotional intelligence skill of delayed gratification. Delayed gratification is the ability to put in the work to get the reward. I am going to suggest that you put in the work of conducting a win-loss analysis of your business to determine the who, what and why behind your 2012 sales numbers in order to better prepare for 2013.
WHO: When analyzing your results, take a look at the type of customer that provided you with the most wins.
- Is there an industry niche that is more profitable for you? What were the revenues of the company? Is there a certain size of company that needs and values your services?
- Type of growth? Does the company need your services because they don’t have the internal resources?
- Attitude towards business relationships? Do they treat salespeople like vendors or partners?
- Competition. Where is your competition falling behind? Not providing the right products or after the sale service.
If you want to win more business in 2013, get clear about who you serve best. At SalesLeadership, our best clients are companies that are run by CEO’s that value learning and outside advice. They recognize that a professionally trained sales team will consistently win business in any economy.
WHAT: When analyzing your results, track what sales activity led to the first appointment. Was it referrals? Social media? Speaking engagements? You might be surprised that your 500 tweets didn’t yield any result in your business. Or you may find that you are spending lots of time networking only to find that it’s not working.
Once you have identified your highest return on investment sales activity, plan to do more of it.
WHY: When analyzing your sales results, start looking for trends in why you lost a deal. Did you lose because you didn’t speak to the right decision maker or all the decision makers? Did you lose because of price because you aren’t as skilled at selling the value of your product? Were you simply calling on the wrong type of prospect? (Refer back to the WHO.)
Fourth quarter is a critical time to hit 2012 goals and also get geared up for a successful 2013. Apply those delayed gratification skills and identify areas for improvement. As W.L. Bateman said, “If you keep on doing what you’ve always done, you’ll keep on getting what you’ve always got.”