How to dramatically accelerate sales

December 12, 2016 -  By

screen-shot-2016-12-05-at-11-55-40-amHow satisfied were you with your company’s sales this year? Did you convert all the highly qualified leads that crossed your desk? To ensure your company hits its sales goals next year, and to maximize your chances of having a breakthrough year, follow the five-step sales accelerator below.

1. First, you need salespeople who are hungry and competent. Ideally, a salesperson is the main earner in his or her family. This is not a must, but it does ensure he or she is motivated to succeed, especially for the difficult job of business developer.

Finding a competent salesperson is a much harder step to address. Salespeople come in all shapes and sizes. That is part of the problem—because a large percentage of salespeople don’t belong in sales. They are not naturally hard wired to open leads, build relationships and close the sale. They lack the confidence and self-esteem to sell work for a high profit. They may have gotten into sales because they wanted to try it, or they were forced into it. You want salespeople who have dedicated themselves to the craft of selling and have shown on-going improvement. The best salespeople show ambition, self-confidence, organizational skills, creativity and the ability to think and act on their feet.

2. Next, set proper sales goals. Salespeople need monthly and annual sales goals that are tracked weekly. It’s best if you have them set their own goals as opposed to you dictating their goals. This creates buy-in, plus it gives you a view into their mind and how they think. When they set goals that are too high or too low, you coach them on the bigger picture and how they fit into it. Help them set goals and believe in targets that fit into the larger company plan. As sales manager, you also need to set monthly and annual sales goals by division and decide who is going to sell what. This dual approach to goal setting gives you the leverage and control you need to maximize your company’s chances of reaching your year-end sales targets.

3. Implement a green-light selling process to filter out your red-light (wrong fit) leads and better qualify your yellow-light leads. Spending the majority of your time building relationships with green lights (your target clients) and qualified yellow lights will grow your business faster and help you develop a stronger base of referrals. Moreover, spending less time with red lights will indirectly protect your self-confidence and help build positive momentum. Many contractors have told me this has been the key to profitably growing their entire business. Success is measured by an optimized closing ratio, improved sales margin and accelerated sales volume.

4. Tie commissions to profits.
Most salespeople can impact profitability either because they estimate their own work or they steer the client’s expectations and thus satisfaction of the work. For these salespeople, step four is developing a commission plan that ties them to the profitability of the work they sell. The most obvious way is to modulate the sales commission based on the margin of the work—as sold or as built. The more control they have on the final outcome of the job costs, the more helpful it is to base their commission on profit as built.

5. Finally, ensure salespeople remain motivated throughout the entire sales season and keep selling in the final months. You need them to hit—and even beat—their annual sales target for your company to reach its year-end production and profit goals. A year-end achievement bonus is a useful tool to maintain sales acceleration, and it ensures your salespeople sprint through the finish line.

Breakthrough idea: Once you have a good sales team, you need to take care of them. Are your existing salespeople sharpening their edges? What are you doing to train and enhance the skills of your sales team?

Take action: Grade your company, A through D, on each of these five steps in the sales accelerator. How well are you doing, and where can you make the most impactful improvements?

Who is acting as sales manager in your company? Are they prepared to lead your sales team to victory next year? Have a discussion with them and develop their action plan.

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About the Author:

Jeffrey Scott, MBA, author, specializes in growth and profit maximization in the Green Industry. His expertise is rooted in his personal success, growing his own company into a $10 million enterprise. Now, he facilitates the Leader’s Edge peer group for landscape business owners—members achieve a 27 percent profit increase in their first year. To learn more visit www.GetTheLeadersEdge.com.

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