Five Must-Have Strategies for Your New Year’s Sales Plan
By John Monroe
“˜Tis the season to thank your clients for their business and give them a gift to show your appreciation for their support. After all, clients have holiday parties to thank their clients and vendors for supporting them. It’s also a great time of year to reflect on your own success and the achievements of your clients.
This is the time of year when sales professionals start planning sales strategies to improve their sales performance in the coming year. If you don’t have a plan, it’s going to be hard to hit your sales goals and experience the success you had this year.
Your sales plan should begin with a sales objective that states in broad terms what you plan to do in the coming year. The plan should then state the target markets you are going to call on. Next, determine what differentiates you from your competition and whether the target markets you plan to call on see that service or product as helping them solve their needs and pains. Spend a lot of time thinking about this! I find performing a market assessment that includes a SWOT analysis of your company will help uncover areas where opportunities for differentiators exist.
Now you’re ready to set up the sales strategies to accomplish your sales objective and conquer that new sales budget. Remember, sales strategies need to be measurable, so create a baseline for each. Then measure its success using common sales metrics such as these.
- Closing rate
- Qualifying leads
- Conversion rate
- Appointment acceptance rate
- Number of referral customers
If you want to improve your sales performance next year, there are 5 strategies you should implement into your sales plan. Set a measurable metric for each so you can determine how the strategy will improve your overall objective.
1. Humanize the sales touch with asynchronous video
How many emails do you send that never get opened? How many phone messages and texts do you send that are never returned? If you’re like most of us, the answer is too many! It’s estimated that post-COVID, less than 24% of emails are opened.
Instead of sending words to read, consider attaching a 90-second video of you introducing yourself with a screenshot of the potential customer’s website or LinkedIn page in the background. Video helps you establish a customer-centric approach to your sales process while differentiating you from the competition who is still sending plain text emails that can be misconstrued.
Here’s what an asynchronous video can do for your sales.
- Establish a genuine human connection and showcase your authenticity by allowing the viewer to see your face while hearing your voice.
- Be used throughout the sales cycle, from scheduling meetings to moving deals forward, demonstrating products, explaining a proposal, and saying thank you after a sale.
- Make the most of prospecting by helping you stand out, earn trust, and create interest or a sense of urgency. Using video checks all these boxes.
2. Show you have a sales purpose by adding value
People hate to be sold, but they love to buy. Do you know what your selling purpose is? Mine is to help people get the good feeling they want by buying from me. Before you get to closing the deal, you must build trust with the client. While the competition is bringing in candy, donuts, pens, and notepads, do your homework and find out what the needs and pains are of your customer and then build trust by bringing them solutions for those needs.
A sales rep’s job is to help customers build and retain their customer base. You can add value in the following ways.
- Research the industry your target market is in and learn everything you can about that industry.
- Take a 360-degree view of your prospects by putting yourself in their shoes. This will help you develop personal and relevant value.
- Use your knowledge of the industry and the prospects to develop Value Add Handouts (VAH) that help the prospect build trust with their clients.
3. Talk less and listen more
A sales professional asks good questions and then listens intently to what the customer is saying. An average salesperson asks the questions, but before the customer has finished answering, they have already stopped listening and are formulating an answer. When a prospect feels heard and understood, they are much more likely to trust who they are doing business with.
Here’s how you can become an active listener.
- Do your homework by researching your prospect and their industry, then create great questions. Preparation breeds confidence.
- Ask open-ended questions that build a connection, create credibility, develop a sense of urgency, and confirm value with clarity.
- Listen to understand, not to respond.
4. Ask for referrals
This is the most overlooked tool in a salesperson’s toolbox. You have clients that trust you and believe in your service and products, but after they tell you how great you are, you fail to ask the simple question: “œWho do you know that I should call on to help them with my great service?”
A good referral strategy is the key to tapping into a network of warm leads. Here are some ideas for how to ask for the referral.
- Use your client’s LinkedIn connections and ask them for an introduction through LinkedIn messenger.
- Ask your client to introduce you in an email or phone call.
- While attending a networking event together, ask your client to introduce you.
5. Focus on your client’s experience
Sales is a numbers game””the more calls you make, the higher your chance of getting a sale. But you must slow down and remember that behind every sale is a person.
The beginning of this article talked about the end of the year being a good time to show client appreciation. This is true, yet you should be focused on your clients’ experiences all year long. The way you make your clients feel is a direct correlation to your sales success.
Improve your clients’ experiences and build loyalty in ways like these.
- Respond to questions and concerns in a timely manner and with empathy.
- Exceed clients’ expectations and give them better service than they expected.
- Respect their time by having a purpose for your visits and calling ahead.
- Always do what you say you are going to do.
- Say “œThank you” often.
Now that you have 5 ways to improve your sales performance next year, what are you going to do? The only way to improve is to create a sales plan today and follow it tomorrow. The sales professional is highly organized and is relentless at measuring every possible sales metric.
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February 21, 2023