There are pivotal points in your sales career that create a perfect opportunity to make proactive adjustments. Adjustments that will help ensure continued success.
Maybe you had a bad quarter, are at the beginning of a new quarter, or are just feeling stagnant in your current sales efforts. Now is the time to take a look at your daily habits. Even just adding or changing one small habit can have a huge positive impact on your sales effectiveness going forward.
The most successful field sales reps weren’t necessarily born that way. In fact, according to a Harvard Business Review survey, only 60% of sales reps meet their quotas. But, those that do all have one important thing in common that sets them apart - they take the time to regularly implement some powerful strategies into their daily and weekly routine.
Maintaining a set, repeatable sales process and habits each day helps set them up for success and ensures optimal sales performance regularly. Great sales professionals not only have a high level of persistence, but they also have a continuous drive to hone their skills. They know that there can always be improvements made and habits tweaked.
Whether you are in your first year as a field sales rep or you’ve been at it for a while, implementing some of the key long-term habits below will help propel you to the top of your sales game.
So, if you are wondering how to be a better salesman, here are 9 things you should start doing today:
#1 - Consistently Having a Good Plan in Place
One key thing to remember about sales (or really any venture for that matter) is that going in blind with no plan and looking for good results will rarely work. So, to be a better field salesperson, one of the first places to start making changes is by having a good plan of action in place each and every week.
In doing this, you’ll always know who you are going to be meeting with, where your focus should be, and what you will be aiming to accomplish every day. This will keep you focused, motivated, and much more effective in selling. It will also mean you will be prepared for every sales meeting you go to.
Consistently having a good plan in place is twofold. It will entail staying organized and regularly reviewing and managing your calendar.
Keeping yourself organized is the foundation of any plan you are going to have. The very minute you start to let organization slip, everything slips. Customers or prospects will go untouched. Critical follow-ups don’t happen. New opportunities fall through the cracks.
At minimum, dedicate a block of time at the end of each day to make sure all of your notes (electronic and handwritten) are properly tagged and in the right place, any checklists are organized and up to date, and your customer data is up to date. An even better habit to get into is utilizing a tool that enables you to easily log and manage notes throughout the day while you’re out in the field.
Make good organization a top priority early on (or start today) and you will have a successful career as a sales professional.
Also, at the end of every week, dedicate a block of your day to evaluating exactly how much time was spent on prospecting, sales conversations, specific customer work, follow-ups, driving, and administrative tasks. This will give you a launching point to review where your time was spent, better schedule for the coming week, and improve your time management overall. (More on this in #3)
#2 - Regularly Setting Sales Goals That Push You Beyond Your Boundaries
There is a huge difference between striving to make a little money each day through a few sales and setting sales goals that make you push past your comfort zone.
Even if you have had a rough quarter and aren’t closing as many deals as you want to or should be, when it comes to setting goals, don’t underplay your max selling potential. To become one of the best field or remote salespeople you have to set targets that actually scare you. Sales goals aren’t meant to be easy. They must scare you into strong action. Higher sales goals will force you to plan proactively, be on the offensive, and put such plans into action.
Goals like this will drive you to find every piece of information, sales tip, method, etc. available to help you achieve them. Even better is that when you achieve these goals they will continue to elevate your performance standards to higher and higher levels.
Review your goals every week and reaffirm your “why”. Why are you truly doing what you are doing and striving for these goals? The bigger your “why”, the bigger your effort will be.
“The greater danger for most of us lies not in setting our aim too high and falling short, but in setting our aim too low, and achieving our mark.”
#3 - Making Good Use of Your Time
The best sales reps have mastered how to allocate their time wisely. According to sales expert Jason Lemkin, the top 1% of sales reps are extremely efficient with their time.
So, as we mentioned above, when planning your calendar for the next week, take an honest inventory of what exactly you are spending your time on and how your time can be used more effectively. Then, make changes where you can. Look for areas and processes that you can streamline even further to give you more time on things that are/should be a higher priority. The better you allocate your time, the better your plan will be consistently.
More often than not, you will find that your calendar will have too many internal meetings and admin time interfering with your ability to focus on selling. Any non-productive time during the day can easily set you back in meeting the sales goals you are striving for.
Also, take a look at the routes you are taking each day to get from one customer or prospect to another. You may be wasting more time driving than you may realize. Optimizing your sales routes to reduce the amount of time on the road will help you make even better use of your time.
Moving forward, when it comes to how you are spending your time each day, focus on the fact that the more time you have to actively sell, the more deals you will close. Maintaining effective time management and focusing your time on what matters most is key to improving your sales performance.
Plan more intelligently and quickly with the Map My Customers Smart Planner functionality. Reps can get smart recommendations for how to build their plan for the day/week, and then easily turn those plans into action. Smart Planner suggests certain sales activities for reps to add to their calendar, preventing accounts from falling through the cracks and reps from having gaps in their day. Daily agendas can be turned into an optimized route with just a tap, putting reps on the road in minutes.
#4 - Not Driving Past Potential Revenue
The best field sales reps always have their eyes open for new opportunities. One instance of this is when you are out in the field traveling from one stop to the next in your territory. Your prospecting doesn’t have to be and shouldn’t be only relegated to while you are in the office. When you always have a good plan in place, are prepared, and are making good use of your time, you won’t be rushed during your day. This means you can make prospecting a part of your field activities also.
So, make sure you are not driving past potential opportunities on your way to your next visit/appointment. Give yourself plenty of time in-between visits so that if you see another potential lead that may be a good fit for your product or service, you can stop in and introduce yourself.
Also, if a customer visit or sales meeting cancels last minute, you should be able to quickly pivot and pinpoint any possible new prospects in the area that you could visit instead. Then, you’re not losing/wasting a whole day of work just because your original plans changed.
Make it a habit to always be open to new opportunities while you are out in the field and then you’ll usually find yourself always having plenty of leads to fill your pipeline.
#5 - Staying on Top of Prospects and Customers
Studies have shown that 80% of sales close after 5 or more follow-ups after the initial meeting. You can’t expect to close deals by just meeting with a prospect or customer once and then moving on. So, making effective follow-up strategies part of your core habits is key.
Establish an effective sales cadence and then schedule your follow-up activities to match this cadence. This will ensure you stay on top of everything and there aren’t any opportunities falling through the cracks.
The best field sales reps also know that regular follow-ups should continue after closing a deal as well. Don’t make the mistake of forgetting the customer once the sale is finalized. Completing a sale doesn’t mean you also close the book on communication or interaction with that client.
Once you make a prospect a customer, you should view them as your customer forever. So, stay on top of customers as well and use follow-ups to ensure that you continue to meet their wants and expectations of the product or service. This includes great customer service, quick problem resolution, and fast responses to any emails or calls they may send you.
Remember, there may also be opportunities for upgrades or additional sales to existing customers in the future. And, if you maintain good business relationships with your customers, they will be more apt to refer possible new customers to you as well. Brands are built by repeat sales, not single transactions.
“You don’t close a sale; you open a relationship if you want to build a long-term, successful enterprise.”
- Patricia Fripp, sales conversation expert
#6 - Strategically Balancing Customer Priority
When you combine making the best use of your time and mastering the art of follow-up, you get another important habit you should be practicing. That is, effectively prioritizing and balancing your focus between your best/most profitable customers and the ones that need more development.
A good prioritization strategy will ensure you can keep existing customers happy, nurture fledgling relationships, and close as many new deals as possible.
An effective approach is to follow up with and reinforce your relationships with your top existing customers. Aim to meet their needs first. Then, prioritize your prospects that need more development but have a higher potential to close soon. Finally, take a look at expanding your reach to new prospects or areas with potential.
Ideally, you want to balance customer and prospect priority so that one area isn’t getting all of your time, allowing other things to fall through the cracks, but you’re continuing to spend time where it matters most. That way you’ll optimize your existing sales relationships and continue to book more new business.
#7 - Actively Listening to Your Prospects
You simply cannot succeed in sales by only being a smooth talker. To become an exceptional sales professional you have to actively listen to your prospect, detect their obstacles, and examine how these can be resolved by using the product or services of your company. Do more listening than talking.
Listen for the solutions that your prospect is looking for.
To create a loyal customer, you have to focus on what they need as well as their expectations of a product. Offer suggestions from your product or service portfolio that match the requirements that they have made clear that they need.
To truly make your listening effective, you have to aim to provide relevant solutions to your prospect. This will also mean you have to truly know your product. As a successful sales professional, you must be able to listen to their pain points and then give your prospect some relevant solutions or tips in the form of things like technical inputs, performance metrics, and customer success stories that are not easily available elsewhere.
Your customer’s buying decision should be heavily influenced by your in-depth knowledge about your product or service and the solutions it offers. Plus, the more you are confident in and believe in what you are selling, the easier it will become to sell it, and you can easily answer any difficult questions from your prospects.
#8 - Utilizing Technology as Your Ally
With ever-increasing technology and sales applications, it is essential to utilize these available tools as much as possible to implement these habits we’ve covered and set yourself up for success. There are dozens of apps out there that you can utilize even on the go to help improve your sales productivity, time management, and performance.
Technology can do wonders for you and your selling process and should be a valued ally. As a field sales rep, it is essential now to be utilizing an all-in-one field sales solution that can provide powerful mapping, optimize your sales routes, and also help manage your current clients and prospects. Programs and applications like these save you valuable time and transportation costs, streamline processes, open the door to new sales opportunities, and help identify trends that would otherwise be buried in manually created spreadsheets.
#9 - Always Striving to Learn More
You may have heard the term “always be learning”. That could not be more valuable than in the field of sales. Ignoring this concept and thinking you know better could literally cost you thousands of dollars in missed sales.
Make it a habit to regularly read books on sales techniques and motivation, attend conferences and seminars, complete valuable sales certifications, work with a mentor (especially one who is familiar with your business or even a veteran on your team), or listen to podcasts from top sales experts. As a sales rep, regular training and mentorship can help keep your sales counter ticking and ensure you are meeting your goals.
The sales world can be very tough, but taking the time to continually expand your skills and improve your game can help motivate you again and again. You will constantly be learning from the best, building your confidence, and reducing the feeling of wanting to quit when times feel tough.
You Can Master How to Succeed in Sales Today
If you are searching for tips for salesmen to help increase your success, you can easily start implementing these 9 habits today. As you can see, many of these habits are interconnected. When you start to implement one or two of them, implementing more of them will be much easier than you may have thought. Embracing technology and automating some of your processes can make things even easier and more streamlined.
If incorporated and executed correctly, you can utilize these valuable habits to significantly boost your sales career to new heights. You can be standing with the top sales professionals too.
Start working some of these habits into your day today and master how to succeed in field sales!