If 2009 taught you nothing else, it taught you that you can’t always rely on renewals or re-signs from your existing customers to hit your targets. 2009 was the year that existing customers were looking for ways to cut costs in their businesses, and I think it’s fair to say mobiles and telecoms were among the first costs to be looked at. Far too many salespeople stop prospecting when they’re busy, then they wonder why their sales figures suffer afterwards. Prospecting should be done on a continuous basis, not just when you’re quiet.
Sales lesson number two – Control the sales cycle
2009 highlighted the need for the salesperson to control the sales process more than ever before. It was the year where customers started asking for proposals, but then didn’t seem to proceed with the buying decision anywhere near as fast.
In a lot of cases, prospects were trying to get a feel for what was available and what it would cost, before trying to get approval for who to go with, which often resulted in internal discussion and slow decision making by potential clients. So the salesperson did lots of running around for very little reward.
Sales lesson number three – Know more about the competition
Again, 2009 showed us that we have to be sharper in this arena. Many telecoms companies were finding increased competition when trying to make appointments and also when trying to close the deal face to face. Often this was happening in existing accounts as well.
If you truly want to be able to sell against your competition, you’d better know them inside and out.
You want to know about a competitor’s marketing and promotion, their sales campaigns, their offering, where they’re strong (and weak), and how you can sell against them effectively. That is, if you want to be more successful this year than last….
Sales lesson number four – Write a sales plan
I’m often amazed how few people have a proper sales plan in place. I mean a specific document, written down, with a focused plan of how the individual, team or business is going to win business for the forthcoming year.
Without a proper sales plan in place, most people will miss opportunities that they could have converted, and miss other opportunities they weren’t even aware of.
Not the best thing to happen in a tough market, so start your year off well and get a written sales plan in place, right now!
|Read Part Two of this article later this month.|
|Andy Preston is a recognised sales expert who specialises in working with mobile phone companies in particular, helping them generate more appointments, stand out from the competition, and close more deals. You can see and hear more about Andy at http://www.andy-preston.com/|
Telecoms sales lessons From 2009 – Part 1
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