As you come out of your holiday daze it’s time to realize that the new year is already here. If your sales plan is in place and backed with the tactics and strategy to achieve your goal, I applaud you! You are in the very small minority who understands that behind every “lucky” sale you make is lots of work and preparation. You also understand that every “overnight success” comes only after years of experience in the trenches.
If your plan is still a dream waiting to be written down, it’s time to pull yourself and your scraps of ideas together. No success is sustainable without a plan and no plan comes together without focus and hard work.
There are many excuses to not plan for the coming year. I think I heard everyone in my career. There is one compelling reason to plan your year. You must succeed to make the money you and your family need to live.
How do you start? You will need information about last years’ sales and top accounts. You also want to look at your margins, top prospects, and your marketing plan.
Start by reviewing your top 20 clients from last year. Do you expect them to increase, hold, or decline in sales this year? Be realistic here. Your plan cannot be based on hope. Go through this process client by client, adding or subtracting as needed. What does the total tell you about the coming year? Do you need new clients or is the business outlook pretty good?
How about those margins? A 5% increase can have a big impact on your income. You can pick up this increase if you buy better and/or develop a greater confidence in your pricing strategy. Either way, a bump in margins helps you and your company, and it is pretty easy to do.
Referrals and account development are two similar sales-building techniques that are very effective. If you currently work with an HR buyer, it’s very easy to ask HR who else in the business buys promotional products. Ask your buyer to make the introduction and you’re in! Account development involves a plan to move from a handful of buyers to a national network of buyers. It’s easier to build within clients like than it is to get into an unknown client. By using email, social media, mail, phone and referrals, a large network of buyers can be won over in a very short period.
If you have a sales manager or mentor who will help this process, be sure to utilize their support. If not, team up with another account executive so you can work on this project together. It’s going to take three to four hours, but worth every minute you spend.
Ultimately you are accountable to yourself and your family to make this year the best year yet! Plan your activities, work the plan, and check on your progress every week. Remember this is your plan to change and improve to achieve the best results possible in the new year!