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Five tips for selling in an upturn

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The savvy salespeople and companies right now are getting ready to take advantage of the upturn. Are you really fully prepared and ready? Follow these five tips.

1. Write a sales plan

If you’re a salesperson, you need to have a written sales plan of how you’re going to exceed your sales target. If you’re a sales manager or a sales director, you need to have a written sales plan. Anyone notice a pattern here?

There is NO excuse for not having a written sales plan. Even if you think you don’t have the time to write a sales plan, in my opinion, you don’t have the time NOT to write a sales plan!

2. Focus, focus, focus

Now you’ve got your written sales plan, the next step is to make sure you’re focused! Focusing has been forced on a lot of people as the recession hit, with many companies noticing a drop-off in incoming enquiries and sales leads.

This forced their sales team to concentrate harder on those opportunities, and focus more on each opportunity individually – and how they were going to get it to convert into business. 

3. Work to your strengths

This is an important point, and one that’s often missed. One important thing here is to be aware of your energy levels. Back when I was a sales manager, I had one rep that truly was a morning person – jumping around at 8.30 in the morning, yet when 3pm came he was almost asleep!

We then decided to play to his strengths, and re-arranged his diary to take advantage of his energy levels. We made his ‘new business’ activity (cold calls, new business appointments etc) in the morning, and existing client calls and paperwork in the afternoon. Month on month his sales went up fifty percent! Amazing.

If you’re a manager or a director, are you playing to the strengths of your team?  

4. Block out time for prospecting

I’ve lost count of the times people have said to me ‘oh but Andy, we don’t have time for prospecting/cold calling’.

There is NO excuse for not prospecting. Everyone should block out time for prospecting. It should be the most important thing in your day! The first thing IN your diary, and the last thing OUT of your diary! 

Too many salespeople don’t prospect because it’s easier to deal with existing customers etc., then they complain when they miss target the following month.

5. Get motivated

Motivation is an area that’s vital to the success of yourself or your team. Many organisations make the mistake of ‘assuming’ their salespeople are already motivated. Yet in my experience, most salespeople generally work between 30-50 percent of their potential.

If you’re a manager or a director, what steps are you taking right now to work on the motivation of your team? If you’re the salesperson, what would it take for you to get and feel more motivated right now? And then go and do it! And don’t say ‘more money’. That’s known as commission!

Follow the tips above and watch your sales soar! I look forward to hearing how you get on.

Andy Preston is a sales expert

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