The Pressure – 2017 Edition

sales goals

It’s the start of a new year! Doesn’t it feel great to turn over a new leaf? Start over with a clean slate? Have your Sales Goals and be working toward them?

The week before New Year’s, your feet barely touch the ground as you float around in your holiday-induced haze resolving to do ALL THE THINGS. Then January 2nd rolls around and you collapse under the pressure of all your lofty goals.

Whether you are managing a sales team, pitching your own clients, or carrying a bag with a quota to meet, sales comes with its own special set of pressures. You don’t have to buckle under those pressures! The more pressure you put on yourself, the higher the expectations, the less likely you are to meet your sales goals, if you don’t manage your plan!

You have the power to give yourself the room you need to keep your sanity and grow your sales in 2017. So, the next time you feel like you want to kick a tire or fall down into a puddle, remind yourself of a few things.

1. You are the house.

In Vegas, when you’re playing blackjack at the Bellagio, the cards are literally stacked against you. This is because the house makes the rules in their favor. If you continue to play, the dealer will eventually win. It’s inevitable.

In your business, you are the house. Stack the deck. It’s all about creating the sales process that will get you to your sales goals. Work your sales process right and you will always come out on top.

If you aren’t there yet, chances are you are focusing too much on the wrong details. Fore example, whoever you perceive to be your top prospects—those “hot” leads. But this would be like the Bellagio focusing on high rollers only.

What works? Casting a wide net and consistently working with people at every level of your sales pipeline. Whenever you talk to anyone (and I mean ANYONE), be on the lookout for buying cues and keep in mind that a “yes” is always just one conversation away.

2. You can change your perspective—literally.

Imagine yourself sitting at your desk with your call list in one hand and a mug of your liquid courage of choice in the other. You hit the phones. But then, you hit brick wall after brick wall—voicemail, unyielding gatekeepers, “I love you, but not now’s.”

What happens next? Do your judge yourself? Give up? Make excuses?

Recently, I was going to meet with a new potential client, who I had met at a networking event and with whom I’d shared a few giggles. When I called to verify our meeting, she was in the hospital. I could have simply given up. Instead I remembered I have choices, I said, “You didn’t need to put yourself in the hospital to avoid meeting with me.” Our relationship went on from there.

The point here is that life happens and you have to let it. So, the next time you feel frustrated, try changing your perspective. Get up. Go out for a walk. Push that reset button. Then come back to the phone with a smile on your face.

3. You do not live or die by your sales goals.

At the end of the day when you hang up that phone for the last time, remember you and your business is more than just one sale. Take a step back and realize that every day is a new day and a new chance to win the business.

Yes, you NEED to make those sales. But this is the best thing ever! You have something to offer and a list of people to invite to join you. You are not solider in Afghanistan looking for IED’s. If you are not perfect at your job, you will not blow up. You will live to make a sale another day.

Finally, don’t forget your wins. Every time you connect with someone, it’s a win. The person who didn’t buy this time is primed for the next conversation. Did it fit into that line on your neat and tidy Excel spreadsheet with you quarterly sales goals? No. But it’s still a win.

I get it! It’s hard to remember these things when your back is up against the wall. So if all else fails, call me. I’ll remind you that the fastest way to reach your sales goals is to relax and let your sales process work. Don’t have a sales process? I’ll help you get your Sales UpRising.

Believe! Your Sales Secret Weapon

Believe! Your Sales Secret Weapon

Believe in the product you are selling! According to every article or book about sales, this is the key to success. While there’s some truth to this, even more important than believing in what you are selling is believing in YOURSELF!

This is what I tell every business owner I work with: No matter how great your product or service, if you don’t believe in yourself, no one else will and your business will go nowhere.

Learning to Believe in Yourself

Have you ever considered how easily children learn to believe in Santa? As a kid, you couldn’t help but believe that jolly, old fellow would deliver you the BB Gun your parents had been denying you.

Unfortunately, while it’s easy to say, “I believe!”  saying it is not helpful, especially when you don’t feel it. So how do you get from point A to point B?

The usual answer borrowed from old school sales advice is “fake it ‘til you make it.” The idea here is if you don’t feel successful now, just do what successful people do and eventually, your internal experience will match your external expression.

Here’s the problem with the “fake it ‘til you make it” sales: you’ll only make it if you are taking real steps forward. Perhaps carrying yourself differently and focusing on changing your body language could give you the confidence to see yourself as the knowledgeable expert you are.

But if your idea of faking it includes lying to yourself, then things will not turn out so rosy. Regardless of how hard you try to bury your beliefs, they are still in your subconscious ready to pounce and create anxiety. And that anxiety will show in your performance.

To really make it at sales, you’ve got to get rid of the beliefs holding you back. So replace “fake it ‘til you make it” with “believe it and make it happen.”

What are you doing to prove you believe in yourself?

Since we are talking about sales success, it’s not enough to convince yourself that you believe. You also have to convince others. How do you show it? What are you doing to prove it?

1. Are you asking for the buy?

When clients come to me asking how to get their sales numbers up, my first question is whether they are asking for the sale. If you have ever been close to buying a product, say at the cosmetics counter at the mall, but then you are suddenly walking away empty handed, it’s most likely because no one asked you to buy the product.

Whether you are selling cosmetics or Cadillacs, asking for the sale is a sign that you are confident, proactive, and professional. Don’t sit back and wait for your customer to ask you if they can buy from you. Go out and ASK!

2. Are you pushing your team forward?

At a very basic level, sales is all about developing relationships. But most business owners focus on external relationships and forget that internal relationships are just as important for moving forward.

One of the best ways to prove that you believe in yourself is to inspire confidence in others. If you aren’t pushing your team forward, it’s a sign that you are afraid of something and that something could be that you don’t believe you can support them as your business grows.

3. Remember where you started!

When you started your business, or took that new Sales Manager position, you believed that it would be successful! Starting out you had the best ideas, the best product, and all the energy in the world to go and conquer. Remember the belief that you brought in the beginning and use it to propel you and your sales team to close those deals!  

Go back to the starting line, feel the rush of adrenaline that said, “I GOT THIS!” Use that to ask for the sale, meet that new client, and add those others to your pipeline.

Once you remember where you started, you are closer to Making it Happen!

There is no time like today to start believing in yourself!  At Sales UpRising, we may not be able to convince Santa that you still believe in him, but we do know how to help you learn to believe in YOURSELF and how to turn that belief into sales!

Contact us now to get on the road to start your Sales UpRising!

Not Following Up is Like Not Calling After a First Date

A couple of weeks ago I invited you to network with me at the Virginia Women’s Business Conference and did you ever! I met hundreds of amazing businesswomen and now I’m busy following up.

What about you? Are you following up with all the great contacts you made at that conference, networking event, holiday party?

If not, I get it. Second to asking for the business, following up is everyone’s least favorite part of the sales process. We know it has to be done, but we put it at the bottom of the list anyway.

Here’s the BIG problem with that: If you let prospects go cold, it’s doubly hard to get them back.

Think of it like having an amazing first date—I’m talking about sparks flying everywhere—and silence for a week. How likely are you to agree to a second date when he finally gets around to texting you again on Friday night?

Following up after that initial sales contact is like communicating after a great first date. It confirms that you are both ready to take the next step and it gets everyone on the same page. So, don’t let the moment pass you by.

Best practices for following up.

Now that we’ve established that you must follow up, let’s discuss how to make it happen:

1. Time management.

As soon as you know you’re going to a networking event, conference, or prospecting opportunity of any kind, schedule time with yourself for following up. You have already pulled up your calendar to block off time for the event, so why not also block off time immediately after for follow up?

This is important because if you are making the most of your event, you will feel tired after spending 24+ hours learning, socializing, traveling, and selling yourself. Or you may be one of those weirdos (meant as a term of endearment) who feels energized and excited to dive into new projects after networking all weekend. Either way, you don’t want great leads to get lost in the shuffle.

2. Stick to the 48-hour rule.

Do follow-up’s no later than 48 hours after your event. If the event is small, reach out within 24 hours. Following up on a larger event can take longer (I took the full 48 hours to follow up with my 200+ new contacts last week).

Do not rationalize your procrastination: “Maybe waiting longer to connect makes me seem busier, more elusive, and thus, more valuable.” No! Now is not the time to play coy.

Remember your #1 goal is to stay top of mind. The onus is on you to make yourself memorable, not for your prospects to track you down. If you wait longer than two days to reconnect, you risk being forgotten. Or worse, you risk leaving the impression that you are difficult to work with.

3. Following up is not one-size-fits-all.

Follow-up does not look the same for everyone. You may be tempted to cut corners when you have a bunch of leads by sending a boilerplate email. Resist this temptation too.

One of the easiest ways to connect, especially with cooler leads, is on LinkedIn. But if you see that a prospect just barely has a LinkedIn page, then an email, phone call, or even a handwritten note (old-school!) is probably a better option.

Finally, as you’re following up, keep track of your progress with each contact. Email tools like Mailchimp and Boomerang can help by automatically reminding you to connect with people.

Following up is only the first step in helping you jumpstart your sales. To really work your leads, you need to start putting systems that work for you. At Sales UpRising, we’re full of ideas that will help you capitalize on your golden sales opportunities.

Contact me today and let’s get going!

How to Sell at Your Next Conference

How to sell at your next conference

You go to conferences with the explicit goal of professional enrichment and upping your professional game. That’s great! But if you attend a professional conference without a sales strategy, you are passing up a golden opportunity to sell.

Plus, you’ve just spent money! So why not get a return on your investment?

On the surface, conferences don’t seem like ideal places to sell. Attendees all have their own agendas. You are likely to meet your biggest competitors, which is intimidating to say the least. And the one or two day program is completely scheduled out down to the minute.

But if you look beyond all of this, conferences are great places to sell. Think of it this way: conference participants represent your whole sales life cycle. You literally can’t toss a handful of business cards in the air without hitting a prospective client.

How can you carve out time to sell?

1. Create touch points with hot leads.

Before the conference, do your homework. Examine the speaker list and session titles, and consider who will be attending the conference. Reach out to any speakers with whom you’d like facetime and offer to buy them lunch before or after their session.

Are there any potential clients on your list who could benefit from attending the conference? Reach out to see if they are planning to attend or suggest that they attend. They will appreciate you thinking of them and pointing out the potential benefit. If they attend, propose a meeting during one of the built-in breaks.

2. Gather new leads.

It is always beneficial to treat conferences like giant networking events. Make good use of the time before and after breakout sessions to introduce yourself to new people, find out what they do, and let them know what types of clients you are looking for. You never know who might refer you to your next big client.

Add these new leads to your pipeline, but don’t simply stop at exchanging business cards and connecting on LinkedIn. Go ahead and push to schedule your sales-cycle next steps. We all have our calendars on our smartphones these days. Instead of waiting until you’re back in the office to send an email, why not set up the call to close that deal now? Especially if it isn’t a referral situation and is a potential client that needs your help now.

3. Connect with current clients.

Finally, conferences are a low pressure way to show current clients how much you appreciate their business. Instead of taking an hour out to login to a computer and “get some work done” why not take the time to close some business (“get some work done”!)?  Between workshop sessions, sit down with clients and get their feedback about how much they love working with your fabulous team or listen to any concerns they may have.

Use this time to gather information about any new directions and budget plans for the future. After the conversation, be sure to jot down some notes for yourself. Connecting with current clients lets them know you are looking out for them and helps to guide your forecast with the consideration of their needs (aka, potential chance to upsell!)

One reason I’m so jazzed up about selling at conferences is that Sales Uprising is sponsoring the skills workshop at the Virginia Women’s Business Conference on Friday December 2nd. There are still tickets available, so come network with me!

What is your sure-fire sales strategy for conferences? I’d love to hear about it!