How to Succeed at Sales – Top 10 tips for planning success

Expert AdviceHave you ever found yourself in a position where you have had all the energy and feel really buzzed up about selling and then found it difficult to find enough people to call? Ever been slowed down and lost momentum because you’ve been getting caught up in researching your calls and deciding why you’re calling? Or how about finding your self a little less “up for it” and distracting your self with other “important” activities and decide to do some sales tomorrow? If the answer is yes to any of these then this is for you..

The British army swear by the seven Ps

7 P's Milatary Adage

Prior Planning and Preparation Prevent Piss Poor Performance

In Truth this is really for everyone that works in sales. The part of the job considered by many to be “admin” is the most fundamental contribution to success, when done consistently.

Everyone knows how important it is to hit your sales targets in terms of business development calls. The more calls you make the greater the chances of making a sale, as it’s just a numbers game. Surely we’ve all heard that in the past, yes?

How many of us go that bit further and plan the calls for tomorrow, today? Planning is the foundation of success for all of the best sales people in the world. By putting together a targeted list of prospects to speak to, about something relevant and specific, you are much more likely to make some money as you will engage the client in something of interest to them.

I sat with a consultant at their desk recently to do some coaching with them. The consultant deals with I.T. contract recruitment in the UK market. Having found a grade A candidate we created a targeted list of companies that utilized those skills. The consultant prepared a succinct presentation to deliver over the phone and sell that candidate. The result? After 12 or so well planned sales calls a client, who had a robust PSL in place, asked for the candidate to start on Monday! Result! Luck? Some may say so I on the other hand know how well planned it really was….Here are my Top 10 Tips on how to plan to succeed in sales.

  1. Plan at the right time of day! For many it is at the end of the day. Collating together all the business intelligence you have gathered through the day and creating a targeted list to call. There is nothing better than getting into the office and knowing whom you will be calling that morning. It allows you to make your first sales call at 8.30/9.00am! This is when your competitors are still thinking who to call first.
  2. Plan more calls than you intend to make. Recognise the fact that you wont get through to every person on the list. Want to get through to 20 people? Plan to speak to 40! The other 20 will carry forward to the next day.
  3. Do it in analogue. Writing things down on paper is a tremendous way to create commitment. A cut paste spreadsheet is quick to do so can be easy to ignore. Put some love in to the list and create some commitment!
  4. List out the basic info: Company name, contact name, contact title, telephone number and then, most importantly the reason for your call!
  5. Set aside business development time. That means ONLY DO BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT in this allotted space! Close down or ignore email and other displacement opportunities. Stay committed to the time you set aside.
  6. Plan not only which organisations you are going to call but also who in those businesses you wish to speak to. Planning at the right time of day (such as 5.30 – 6.30 when clients and candidates are more difficult to track down) gives you the opportunity to invest in the research each call needs.
  7. Ask yourself the killer questions – Who do I wish to speak to at this company? Who else will be worth talking to? What do I want to talk to them about? How will I engage their interest? What are my objectives?
  8. Plan to speak to more than one contact in every business. One company, one contact, one phone call = telesales. One company, multiple contacts, multiple phone calls = business development.
  9. Make it a daily habit. The hardest part about planning is doing it consistently. That means, every day!
  10. Measure the difference it makes to your productivity and celebrate the success. Recruitment success comes down to hard work and effective use of time. Both of these are the result of planning.

Already you will be realising how powerful it is to really think about planning for tomorrow, today. It is possible to come in everyday and make sales calls without any real thought as to why you are calling them and hit your KPIs. Clearly, as you can see, there is also unlimited opportunity to make money with just a little planning….

Make a commitment to yourself: Throughout this week plan at the end of the day who you are going to call tomorrow. Start by asking yourself: Who am I going to place this week? then make it happen.

Liked this article? Then take a look at these other pieces of value advice from Recruitment Dad:

Selling Better – How to develop more new business

Top 5 Books Recruiters Should Own

How to work smarter, not harder, as a recruiter

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5 Responses

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  1. What phrase… super, remarkable idea

    Каталог статей 27 January 2010 at 2:43 am Permalink
  2. Good article – I also recommend SPIN Selling by Neil Rackman

    Gurjit Dhesi 6 March 2010 at 4:49 pm Permalink
  3. Hi Gurjit

    SPIN selling is an all time classic and nearly made it into the top 5 books for recruiters.
    Check out the top 5 books from Recruitment Dad here:

    Recruitment Dad

    RecruitmentDad 7 March 2010 at 7:08 pm Permalink
  4. For those of you who have digested SPIN(R) you should have a look, a read and a think about The Challenger Sale. This book is changing they way we all sell, even Recruiters!

    Brian MacIver 21 September 2012 at 8:46 pm Permalink
  5. Good article – I also recommend SPIN Selling

    Merajuddin Ansari 8 May 2013 at 7:24 pm Permalink

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