When do you know if a Seller is going to meet his or her target?
With just 12 weeks left in 2022, Sellers and the companies that employ them should know with reasonable certainty if they are going to meet their annual sales target.
Studying performance metrics will give you some clues. Sellers who miss their targets are stuck with routines and habits that no longer serve them. They resist coaching, training, and trying a new approach. I do a lot of sales coaching and have discovered these common “leading indicators” among Sellers who under-perform.
- Use an Organic Approach – Sellers who reject process, strategy, and planning in favor of a fluid approach lose out to more disciplined Sellers. The rate of business change is exponential. Companies and services considered ground-breaking two years ago are rendered obsolete if they don’t adapt to rapidly to changing market conditions. Sellers without a win plan lose.
- Rely on a Single Point of Contact – Companies that buy engineering and construction services rely on a complex network of people to make purchasing decisions. Sellers who limit their contacts to one or two people in a client organization limit the opportunities to grow the business. Relying on a single individual to advocate for your company is risky. Between the Great Resignation and retiring baby boomers, you may find that one person you were counting on to help you make your sales goal is long gone.
- Refuse to Make a Cold Call – There is nothing like being introduced or referred to a key target by a trusted colleague or industry leader. However, getting referrals and warm leads is not as common as it once was. And, it can be risky if the Seller fails to deliver as promised. Today there are more resources to connect with key people in your target organizations than ever before. There also is more free advice on the most effective ways to network digitally and in-person, to stay connected, and remain relevant. If you can’t open a door, you can’t close a deal.
- Can’t/Won’t Use Technology – CRM, PowerPoint, Email, Adobe files, spreadsheets, and Word documents are fundamental to customer engagement. Sellers who won’t make the time to learn how to use technology that helps them be more productive and effective don’t achieve their targets.
- Focus on Order Taking – The Transactional Seller is a Taker. His pitch is “call us and you won’t be sorry.” He puts in minimal effort, sends an email, and waits for the phone to ring. He is focused on getting an order rather than helping a customer solve a problem or fill a need. He gets the last-minute emergent work while the plum contracts go to those with strong relationships.
- Talk Too Much About the Past – Whenever an under-performing Seller reminds me how much business he did with his former employer, I know there is trouble. We all like to reminisce about the glory days. However, not every sales tactic produces repeatable results. Clients who found your naivete charming a few years ago now find it irritating. Sellers who refuse to change consistently deliver poor results.
If these “leading indicators” sound familiar, it is not too late to begin again. Clients need your wisdom and experience. There may be some discomfort in change, but experienced Sellers know how to endure.
Imagine driving a car and only looking in the rearview mirror. It is helpful to glance in the mirror occasionally, but you will get to your destination faster if you focus on the road ahead.
Embrace the change now. When fourth quarter 2023 rolls around, you can be top of the leader board again.