50 Habits of Top Performing Sales People: Habit #10 – What’s the Plan?

April 28, 2015 Selling Comments Off on 50 Habits of Top Performing Sales People: Habit #10 – What’s the Plan?

Write an opportunity plan detailing each opportunity in your portfolio.

Top Performers have a written plan for every opportunity and every event in each opportunity’s sales cycle. To many, particularly those that are not Top Performers, this seems like a lot of work; however, once you get used to developing a written plan for each opportunity, it becomes second nature, easy and rewarding.

These plans are road maps to the close. They will help determine, if in fact, the opportunity will close or if it is a dead end opportunity. Milestones are needed to track success. If success is tracked by the “seat of your pants” opportunities can be chased to the end without realizing it is at a dead end. Have you ever sat in sales meetings and forecasted the same opportunity month after month after month after month? This repetition shows there is no plan. Without milestones, tracking the sale is impossible and forecasting is, at its best, a guess.

How do you develop a plan? The development of the plan leads to the fundamentals. It starts with what are you going to sell, specifically, and who are you going to sell it to, specifically. The opportunity plan outlines the product, products (or services) that are going to be sold and all the people that are involved at the customers’/prospects’ facility.

The plan includes the names of all the people at the customers’/prospects’ facility, their titles, and it states their influence or impact on the sale. Obviously this kind of detail requires that the sale be well qualified in advance and you must truly understand the justification for the opportunity.

This process works for both expense items such as paints and oils and for capital projects. Understanding the purchasing process is critical for success in both cases and you must know in advance if the opportunity is a fishing expedition or if, in fact, the opportunity is real.

The plan is a written plan, detailing the specific products to be sold, all the people that will impact the sales cycle and the justification for the purchase. In addition, the competition needs to be quantified and detailed with their advantages and disadvantages. Identifying the competition is not enough: you need to understand the competition from the viewpoint of each person on the customers’/prospects’ team. You need to understand the relationship that each team member has with each competitor so you can understand the hurdles that you have to overcome.   All these things need to be detailed in the opportunity plan.

The explanation above is the minimum amount of work that is required for an opportunity plan. In addition, you must detail the in-person and phone call goals for each contact on the customers’/prospects’ team. Each time you make a phone call or make an in-person sales call you must have a written goal and you need to track these goals. Tracking these goals and your success in achieving these goals is critical to converting an opportunity to a sale.

This may seem like a lot of work but if you want to be successful, this is the fun part. Tracking your success makes you more focused, goal driven and successful.

“A Habit” is not work, but just a thing that is done every day and writing opportunity plans can easily become a Habit. Develop the process, write the opportunity plan and follow-up accordingly.

TIME MANAGEMENT. For Top Performers every task is planned and focused on the goals that earn the results. Top Performers use Opportunity Plans to define each interaction with the customer to focus their efforts and maximize the utilization of their time with and on their customers. Top Performers plan and then engage. They act on their plans, they work hard and they get results.

Coaching these skills is a critical part of what we do. We are here to help you develop and implement your Strategic Plan and coach and develop the skills to implement the plan successfully.

We are having great success coaching and implementing these methods and skills and our clients love it!

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