In my last post, I spoke about how to identify your target market and how to build a prospecting list. In this post, I will cover how to develop and implement a sales plan. Also I will cover how the sales funnel works and how it relates to sales success.
Now that you have your prospecting list, it is now time to add up how many total prospects are in your total territory. Once you have this number, you need to divide it by a two to three-week sales cycle. In most sales positions, you are required to be on a two to three-week sales cycle. In other words, you should be able to see all of your prospects and customers at least once in a two to three-week period. My sales plan was built on this cycle. The only exceptions to this, is if you have an extremely large territory such as several states or if the item you are selling is a high ticket item; where multiple decision makers have to approve the sale.
You have now come up with the number of customers that you must call on each week. Now you must divide the weekly number of calls by the amount of days that you work, which is five or six. Now you have the number of calls you must make per day. It is important to either put the names of the prospects into a daily spreadsheet or log sheet. When I was in sales, I had to fill in prospect names and information on a log sheet my manager printed out for me. Also your monthly sales goals can be broken down into weekly and daily goals. Simply take your monthly goal and divide it by four to get your weekly goal; to obtain your daily goal take your monthly goal and divide it by the number of days you work in a month.
When you use your spread sheet or log sheet, it is important to collect information on the prospects you call on. The sheet should contain the following: (CRM software such as ACT! OR Salesforce can be used to keep this information)
1 The names and addresses of the prospect you are calling
2 The date and time of your visit
3 The person in the office that you spoke with
4 The name of the decision maker
5 The service provider that they use
6 Notes on the call and what the next step in the process should be
It is imperative as a sales person that you keep records so that your calls with customers are organized and focused. This information will also help you forge relationships with your prospects and customers. If you are new to sales, you will fill in the above information as you make calls.
I would recommend getting some kind of CRM software that I mentioned above to help with the record keeping and creating a Sales Funnel.
As you keep making calls, the information you collect on prospects and your customers will provide you with a great deal of insight into developing your sales process. This information can also be used to build a sales funnel.
Now I want to touch on what a Sales Funnel or Sales Pipeline is. A sales funnel is an analysis of your sales cycle. It takes a look at every customer and prospect you call on; examining where you stand with each one. This will allow you to categorize them into groups to distinguish where to best spend your time and resources. As you will learn, not all prospects and customers are created equal when it comes to hitting your sales goals. It is important to note that this analysis should take place when you are done making calls for the day. As a salesperson, your time is best spent in front of prospects and customers. You should examine your sales calls once a week or two to three times in the sales cycle.
Your Closing Ratio and Your Work Load
You can easily examine your performance in the sales cycle by taking the number of sales you made for the day and dividing it by the number of sales calls you made for the day. This is what is known as a closing ratio. Simply stated the closing ratio = #of sales per day/#sales calls per day. The closing ratio can be expanded to examine your performance for the entire sales cycle. As a sales person it is important to know how many calls you need to make to earn a sale.
As you can see, your sales plan, sales funnel/sales pipeline and closing ratio can provide amazing insights into your performance; allowing you to identify the specific steps you need to take to become a sales success. In effect, this information can allow you to be your own sales manager.
In my next post, I will examine how to get past the gate-keeper and discuss how to make a cold call.
Please send me your questions so I can start my ask Dan section.
Until then, thank you for reading!