The things that salespeople neglect can tank sales productivity and even your entire career.
My wife and I moved to a brand new subdivision from a very mature area earlier this year and what we missed most this summer was a backyard with a patio and lots of grass. Fortunately, a few weeks ago the sod people arrived and covered the dull brown dirt with bright green grass. Yay!
The builder issued instructions to water our grass for approximately 2 hours every day for the first couple of weeks to ensure that the sod could take hold and thrive.
Once my green grass was in, I noticed that several homeowners had neglected to consistently water their lawn and as a result their grass is had turned brown and was starting to die.
The same type of neglect also happens in sales. Salespeople often neglect crucial things that contribute to their success and they wonder why their sales falter or die off. Here are eight things that many sales people tend to neglect:
Nurture Existing Accounts
Just because you captured the initial sale does not mean you have a customer for life. You need to nurture your accounts and keep adding value to ensure a competitor does not come along and take the business from you. Keep in touch with these key accounts and look for ways to continually add value. A coffee meeting or lunch is often all it takes to keep abreast of the changes in their company and to discover new opportunities to help them.
Many sales people make contact with prospects but fail to keep that contact alive when the sale doesn’t immediately happen. Unless you sell a small ticket item, it is essential to keep your name in your prospect’s mind. Look for ways to stay in touch with prospects by providing valuable information or industry insights that will help them improve their business.
Too many people stop learning and integrating new strategies into their routine. What worked last year may not be relevant today. Just because you attended a training program a few years ago does not mean your skills are current. Make the time to read new books, attend an industry conference, listen to audio recording, or participate in a training program.
Taking time to rest and recharge is essential if you want a long term career in sales. Let’s face it, selling is challenging and it requires a tremendous amount of effort and energy especially in today’s difficult business environment. Recharging your batteries can give you renewed energy and inspiration not to mention new ideas and thoughts. Take your allotted vacation or if you operate a business, take time away from it so you can return refreshed and recharged. Even a few days away from the day-to-day rigors can make a difference.
Many people aggressively network when they first embark on their sales career. However, as time passes and their sales grow, they gradually stop networking as much as they used to. They get caught up in the day-to-day busyness of their job and stop making time to connect with others.
Filling the Pipeline
Some people experience major fluctuations in their sales and this is usually a result of not keeping their pipeline full with new prospects. This is particularly true for small business owners or sole proprietors who work directly with their customers. They often end up working on a few projects and stop prospecting. However, when those projects are completed, they usually discover that they have no leads to follow-up on. A general rule of thumb is to ensure that you have 300% of your sales quota in your pipeline at any given time.
Not every business relies on cold calling to generate new leads or business. However, the vast majority of sales people rely on this age-old strategy and neglecting it can seriously affect your results. You may not enjoy calling strangers (I don’t know many people that do!) but it still generates business.
Although it is mentioned last in this article, follow-up is one of the most important concepts. Many of my prospects and customers have said, “Thanks for following up” when I finally connected with them after making multiple attempts. Decision makers are extremely busy and neglecting to follow up after an initial meeting can cost you the sale.
Neglect is a Slow and Insidious Process
Neglect, in its very essence, is a slow and insidious process that rarely makes its presence felt immediately. It often begins with a seemingly innocuous oversight—a missed deadline, a forgotten responsibility, or an ignored commitment. Over time, these minor oversights accumulate, feeding off complacency and evolving into a more profound pattern of negligence.
What might begin as an unintentional omission can, if left unchecked, snowball into a chronic habit that permeates various aspects of your personal and professional. The initial signs of neglect might be subtle and easy to dismiss, but they are the first steps down a path that can lead to more significant consequences.
The outcomes of sustained neglect can be both vast and devastating.
In relationships, for instance, continuous disregard can erode trust, leading to estrangement and emotional detachment.
In a professional setting, repeated oversights might result in lost opportunities, damaged reputations, and eventual career failure.
On a personal level, neglecting one’s health or well-being can result in severe physical or psychological issues.
Like the tiny cracks in a dam that, over time, can lead to its catastrophic failure, these small acts of neglect can culminate in situations that are not only challenging to rectify but also leave lasting scars. Recognizing and addressing these minor lapses early is crucial to prevent the spiraling effects of neglect.
Take a moment now to consider what you might be neglecting that is impacting your sales productivity?
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About the author
As President of The Robertson Training Group, Kelley has helped thousands of sales professionals…