This is the time of year most people make New Year’s resolutions. As I’ve stated in previous years, this effort, in my opinion, is a wasted exercise in frustration and futility. Most people engage in flights of fantasy when thinking of resolutions, with most resolutions being broken within a few days of the New Year.
I’m not saying categorically that engaging in this practice a total waste of time but unfortunately it usually ends badly. So, don’t make a resolution that will invariably end in disappointment; make a resolution that will always end well. For those individuals involved with the selling process, resolve, in the upcoming year that the first order of business should be to get a complete and thorough sales/production checkup.
Irrespective of what your duties or responsibilities relative to sales and production might be—from management to basic selling—everyone engaged in generating revenue will benefit by engaging in a complete, thorough sales checkup. This is one of the few resolutions business people can make that will also result in something beneficial.
Checkups are only productive if administered by a sales consultant or other experienced sales coach or mentor.
Many companies and managers mistakenly confuse an annual review of sales with an actual sales checkup.
The major distinction can often be as subtle as who is performing the checkup. For maximum benefit and results, it’s advisable to engage a professional from outside the company to perform the checkup.
Sales consultants rarely are in agreement as to the specific format for such checkups, but one thing that most are in agreement with is that the checkup should involve a plan for implementing changes to the current selling process. Most everyone and every plan lend itself to tweaking for the sake of improving your sales results. But some sales plans happen to require more tweaking than others.
First and foremost, the checkup should be a comprehensive review identifying previous sales goals and the resulting achievement relative to the level of success.
Keep in mind not every sales goal can be accurately or specifically quantified nor should it be.
An example of this can be seen when a company introduces a new product or service. In this example, perhaps the main objective is to initiate customer recognition and knowledge of the new offering(s).
Measuring the effectiveness of this goal entails less quantifiable results than theoretical accomplishments.
On the other hand, analysis of specific sales quotas, in numerical terms, can be quantified and the checkup can identify the ensuing results.
In each of these examples, and others not specifically mentioned, the measurement process needs to include a checkup of the goals that were set to measure success.
Therefore, an integral part of the checkup process should always include an analysis and a discussion to ascertain if the original goals were realistic to begin with.
So in this example, let us briefly examine mortgage production as it relates to the Home Affordable Refinance Program.
At the beginning of 2013 management may have established production goals predicated on past performance as well as studies identifying the marketplace and prospects that would benefit by refinancing in this program.
All bets were off once interest rates started to rise beginning this past May, thereby eliminating a great portion of eligible borrowers because they lost the net benefit effect of refinancing their mortgage.
Meeting any HARP goals created at the start of 2013 became impossible.
Another part of the process should include a review of current selling practices and their effectiveness the previous year.
So the checkup should have sales people make presentations for peer review with other salespeople offering their evaluation as relates to effectiveness, product knowledge and selling techniques.
Again, an effective checkup will not only identify areas of concern and/or deficiencies, but should also include expert input in suggesting ways to improve the process.
Selling techniques such as presentation skills, handling objections, closing effectiveness—to name a few proficiencies—should be identified and recommendations for improvement discussed.
All persons involved with sales and production should list and discuss challenges they’ve encountered during the course of doing business.
Obviously, nothing happens until something gets sold (as I have said many, many times before), but that’s just the beginning.
Whatever gets sold needs to be closed (shipped) in a timely manner with customer expectations either met or exceeded, ensuring your customer’s satisfaction.
In addition, the checkup process should include obstacles encountered and whether or not these obstacles were overcome.
The professional engaging in the checkup should identify what was effective and what was not.
The intent of this article is not to provide the reader with the details and specifics of the sales checkup process, but rather, to enlighten and highlight the benefits of engaging in this exercise.
The checkup should never be thought of as punitive, it is constructive and is intended to improve sales production.
Every participant will benefit from a checkup, some more so than others, regardless of position or experience with the selling process.
A sales checkup should be a resolution for all to engage in, and as stated previously, the results will always yield benefits.
Stephen Greenberg is the founder and CEO of Synergistic Associates Inc., a national sales training and coaching organization. For a free consultation, or if you have any questions, Steve can be contacted by email at email@example.com or by telephone at 954-757-6585.