A "New Year's Resolution" With a $ Value

Get Ready for Some Sales Fireworks of Your Own!

Don't you just love the picture of the 'possum in the 'possum drop! The holidays starting about a week before Thanksgiving all the way through New Year's Day plus one - are sales killers. Even if you are fortunate enough to have products that buyers use to fill out those last purchasing dollars of the year - production probably can't ship it so it won't hit on this year's sales quota - no extra bonus - and your boss will figure out a way to increase next year's sales quota so it won't help anyway!

I'm sure your boss has already set down with you for the big 2012 planning session. You prepared for it by going back over sales you had in 2011, fudged some numbers in that look reasonable. Then you thought through the two plants/doctors/hospitals/technology centers that closed/opened in the territory in June and know how they are impacting your bottom line. So you figure in the change and it still doesn't look good enough. You build a case for the slack time you expect so you can counter what your boss is going to hit you up with. Then you figure in how to avoid bringing up the fact your competitor's rep died and you have a direct shot at a solid 20% increase in the first few months.

The time comes and you set down with your boss. He has the last 3 years of sales plotted for your territory and asks what your plan it to get a 25% increase over the previous year. After both of you laugh uncomfortably for a few seconds, he says, "No, really, we need to see a 25% increase over the next year or one of us won't have a job, and I intend to keep mine." Darn hard-ball player makes you cough up the fact that your competitor has died and you feel like you have a real shot at a 25% increase. You have to sound like you were waiting to pull this out of your, um, hat. Now you follow with some other plans that show how you would have come up with a solid 10% increase anyway not knowing about the windfall. Your boss is pleased, tells you to get with it and leaves to go harass the guy in the next territory.

Make It Your Own Territory

The first step to achieve the goal is to make it your own, not your company's or your boss's, but you own. Decide now that what you are going to do in 2012 is going to be for you, by you and according to your plan. When you take ownership, you will be committed to winning the day. What your boss wants will pale in comparison with what you will achieve.

Have you ever met a salesman that you stop and are truly amazed at their depth of knowledge of the product, the competition, the market effects. You just wanted to ask a few questions but with every question, you are so amazed you are compelled to ask another. Really, you are envious of his/her ability regarding selling their product.

I went to a convention in Orlando several years ago. My wife and I were with another couple and at breakfast a gentleman in our hotel lobby asked both couples if they would like $100 in silver dollars just for listening to a sales pitch. I've paid money more than one time to hear sales pitches to getting paid to hear one was quite the twist. Of course it was a Time Share promotion and my wife was truly annoyed that I wanted to go, but we went anyway to get the bucks.

When we walked in the show room, I immediately told the host I was only there for the $100, that I would not be buying anything and I could save both he and his salesperson 45 minutes to an hours just by handing me the money, to be fair. The Sales Manager said, "I appreciate your honesty and hope you will accept a 25% bonus just to amuse me and see the video before leaving." OK, that's fine, we'll be happy to stay for another $25.

We watched the video and stood to leave but the sales manager was nowhere to be found - but our "agent" was standing beside us to lead us into the next room. I thanked him, told him I appreciated his sincerity and asked for my $125 and we'd just leave so he could find a new mark and work with them. He looked me straight in the eye and said firmly, "You did agree to hear a sales presentation for the original $100, correct? That is what I want you to do, OK?"

A bit intimidating to be sure. I started wondering how they would continue to intimidate or make us feel good so we would stay. My wife, not taking notes on sales techniques, was ready to leave when we walked in. We stayed for the next level, and the person was unremarkable beyond the first engagement so I excused myself asking if I could go find a cold drink. What I was looking for was the Sales Manager, and I found him. Now it was my turn. First, I asked if he remembered speaking with me earlier in the day - he did not. ($25 was riding on this). Then I asked if we could have a different salesperson as this one had been heavy handed and offensive. I wanted my $125 and was leaving. "If you don't stay for the 90 minutes, you don't get the $100" was his response. So that was my clue.

I walked over to the closing table where tourists were lined up paying out from $2500 to $25000 for 2 weeks of bliss a year from now on (plus maintenance costs and other HOA fees, undisclosed, of course. I have a fairly strong voice, so positioning myself about 30 feet from the sales manager, I said "So you are telling me you aren't giving me our $125 promised and you think we are going to buy one of these refurbished hotel rooms as a condominium, pay $500 a year increasing every year for a maintenance fee then another $1,000 a year in Home Owner Association fees? Are you disclosing all of these fees to all of these buyers?" Three of the "buyers" stopped their deals, handed back their contracts and walked out. We received our $125 as did our friends as we walked out the door.

A long story to say this guy had a plan. They worked together and in most cases they knew when they could be pushy, soft, overly nice, and when they needed to finally give in. They had planned well and stuck to their plan - with me being a terrible exception to deal with. You really can't kid a kidder (or some variation on that).

Plan Your Work, Work Your Plan

It is cliche' I know. Get out the paper calendar. You want to make an annual commission of $120,000 in 2012. That is a big increase over 2011, but it is what you want and need. The way you did it for the last 3 years was sell like hell and hope you made enough. This year, let's figure out what "enough" is - and is it doable? Look at your plan for sales in 2012 in a different way than you have in the past. Look at your plan more like a budget.

If you get a commission of 10% on all sales and you want to get a commission of $120,000 in 2012, you have to make $1,200,000 in 2012. There are 12 months in the year so you must sell $100,000 of product a month. You have to sell just over $23,000 a week. The product you sell costs $6,000 each so you have to sell 4 per week, one per day with one day in the office.

Now a strange thought comes to your mind. Only one per day, 4 days a week? Really? What if I sold an average of 5 per week - one a day? That is 20% more - you would make an extra $24,000!

Now you have a visual of what kind of real monetary motivation is there. If you follow up on that extra call, make the extra stop at the end of the day - every day. If you haven't gotten that 5th sale and it is Thursday - what can you do? If you know next week has one or two holidays in it, how are you going to make up those sales? Planning is key - then sticking to that plan.

Get motivated by owning your territory - not relying on pressure from your boss to get going every day. If you aren't excited about what you are selling - find something that does excite you and get on that bus. You can't make it happen if your mind isn't in the game - I know!

The Inventurist

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