If I need to tell you it’s Q4, and you still haven’t made your numbers, you’ve been hiding under a rock. Let’s focus on looking through your sales windshield instead of in your rear-view mirror. It’s a bit late in the game to beat yourself up any more than your sales manager is doing. Plus, that behavior makes everyone short-sighted and stressed.
1st Yada-Yada: Mentally eliminate the folks who are toying with you.
Get rid of the customers you either 1) aren’t going to close by year end or the folks who 2) love making you feel that way. Just stop chasing them. Stop calling them and leaving voicemails or sending emails that repeat when the deadline is for renewal, “or else your account will be cancelled.”
Really? They don’t believe you for a moment. These types of customers know you need them to make your numbers. They don’t care or respect you enough to have renewed earlier. They enjoy making you sweat. You are entertainment to them.
Walk away from their active pursuit. Historically, they may be long-term customers who always behave with extreme inconsideration for the sales person. Eliminate the mental energy you are spending on them. Pull your head out of the end-of-year sand. They’ll renew. They always do.
Second Yada-Yada: Actively work with the folks who have benefited the most by working with you.
These companies may be new accounts, and small ones, which you landed this year. However, that little bit of oomph you added to their capabilities has resulted in stabilized cash flow, increased profits, new customers. You did what you said you were going to do. You delivered. Now it’s time to ask them what they need for you to do in 2014. Continually grow their business.
Chances are these are your A-List customers. They are the ones you do your best work for. Besides, and I can see you smiling, you enjoy collaborating with these folks. You both learn from one another. That’s what sales and business development is all about. This scenario feels creative instead of limiting and quota-driven. There’s intrinsic value involved in the relationship, not just a commission check.
Third Yada-Yada: Make your bucket list for 2014. No, not that kind. Your sales bucket list.
Which customers are a pain in the you-know-where to work with, no matter how large, or small, the account? Think about allocating a day or two a month to focus on them. Then drop it and concentrate your energy to your remaining sales pursuits.
Which customers are your A-List customers? Aren’t these the types of folks you’d like to work with, 100% of the time? In fact, aren’t these the types of folks you would love to have referring you to their business circles?
These are the A-List folks who are your sales resource advocates. Why? Because you have earned their trust by having their backs during the course of the year.
When you take control of your sales landscape in this manner, it becomes your gig to manage and control instead of your management’s to dictate. You have greater autonomy in making your proverbial numbers, and enhanced creativity and sense of self-worth as well.
Babette N. Ten Haken, Founder & President of Sales Aerobics for Engineers®, LLC, focuses you and your company or startup on cultivating the mindset, skills, markets, customers, and investors necessary for professional and business growth. Her book, Do YOU Mean Business, is now available in eReader format!