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A Proven Formula For Sales Success

proven formula for sales success

Og MandinoIn today’s shareholder-driven corporate environment, it seems business success is driven quarter to quarter, rather than year to year. Rarely, is a company satisfied with the sales reported—there’s always a need for more sales. It’s a perpetual problem; it’s not one that can be fixed, such improving product quality or negotiating better pricing.

To increase sales, marketers arm themselves with the typical tactics wrapped around a marketing strategy, including outbound calls, direct mail, logoed products, digital media campaigns, industry events … and the list goes on. While these tactics have a role in increasing sales, there’s no silver bullet. What works for one company may not work for another.

Here is one secret formula from content marketer Peter DeHaan that is universal to sales success for all businesses:

Personnel + attitude + execution + management = sales success

PERSONNEL: 

This is the critical element in the formula. Without the right people in place, nothing else matters. This starts with finding the right person for the job. Of all the roles, it’s hardest to find salespeople because they are all at their best during the interview. DeHaan says that to cut through the fluff, ask these key questions:

How much did you make at your last job? If they made six figures, but can only expect half that at your firm, they are unlikely to work out. They will be unhappy, develop a negative attitude, and leave as soon as a better paying job comes along. Conversely, if their compensation was lower at their last job, they may be out of their league to produce at the level you expect. Ideally, their prior compensation should be 5 to 25 percent less then what you expect them to make with you.

How much would you like to make at this job? The response to this is most telling. Why? Because if it is unreasonably high, they won’t be satisfied working for you. On the other hand, if it is lower then what you are prepared to pay, then they will start coasting once they hit their target compensation. Again, you are looking for a salary expectation that is consistent with what you can deliver, but is still motivating to them.

Would you like to work on straight commission? While you don’t want to pay straight commission, it’s a good “testing of the waters” for three reasons. 1) You will see how the person can quickly and smoothly react to an unexpected event or question. 2) You will learn about their real sales skills. 3. You will quickly get a true idea of what they expect for base pay and how much they are willing to put on the line in the form of commissions, incentives or bonuses.

ATTITUDE: 

Another important element to the formula is having the right attitude. How many times have you seen salespeople talk themselves into a bad month? The thinking goes like this: “Last August was bad. I wonder if August is always bad? I better brace myself for a bad month.” It becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. Another self-defeating attitude is negativity. Consider, for example, the salesperson who says, “Direct mail? That won’t work!” And of course, with that attitude, it never will. Your salespeople need to be open to new ideas and plans in order to have a much greater chance of success. Strangely, all too many salespeople would rather continue to do what has failed in the past than to try something new.

EXECUTION:

Closely linked to attitude is the proper execution. In fact, without the right attitude, successful execution is impossible. Quite simply, there needs to be a plan. The plan needs to be meticulously followed. And those involved need to be held accountable for their work. This brings up the fourth element.

Closely linked to attitude is the proper execution. In fact, without the right attitude, successful execution is impossible. Quite simply, there needs to be a plan. The plan needs to be meticulously followed. And those involved need to be held accountable for their work. This brings up the fourth element.

MANAGEMENT:

Good management starts with hiring the right salespeople, giving them excellent training, providing them with appropriate compensation and motivating them effectively. This must be followed by a sound marketing plan and a supportive environment in which to implement it. Lastly, sales management means investing time on an ongoing basis to encourage, observe, teach and adjust what they do. Put more succinctly, the right management keeps them on task and holds them accountable.

Good management starts with hiring the right salespeople, giving them excellent training, providing them with appropriate compensation and motivating them effectively. This must be followed by a sound marketing plan and a supportive environment in which to implement it. Lastly, sales management means investing time on an ongoing basis to encourage, observe, teach and adjust what they do. Put more succinctly, the right management keeps them on task and holds them accountable.


Peter DeHaan is a content marketer and commercial freelance writer. This article first appeared in PC Today, compiled by Cassandra Johnson

 

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