Spring is here and I’ve been making new landscaping plans. Well, actually, plans to continue on a landscaping path chosen two years ago – sort of a 3-5 year plan for the yard. I’ve been preparing flower beds, adding (more) perennials, cleaning up some winter trash. It takes time for plants to mature and completing a large project in the right order yields the most beautiful outcome with the least effort. So, I’ve been building a spring playbook to get this year's portion done. I’m surprised at how many people begin similar projects without a playbook. They buy a few annual plants on sale, put them in the ground, and wonder why they don’t return the next year (hint: perennials are the ones that return each year).
I was recently in a conversation with a home building executive for a company that’s completing and selling one home per day in the North Carolina region. He shared how they hired “A” players - people with building experience who also know how to treat customers. It was a secret sauce for the future. They want perennial relationships, not annual. So, although the market is “hot” with more buyers than sellers at this time, he realizes that markets change. When the housing market stalls, this builder will have the best people on his team and the best relationship (and reputation) with any buyers. It’s part of a long-term plan.
When you think of your company's sales revenue, you need the same long-term approach. I refer to Jack (Jack Daly, serial entrepreneur, international sales expert, and author of Hyper Sales Growth with ForbesBooks) for advice in getting your spring sales playbook operational. Jack’s advice has always been proven correct, effective, and actionable.
Below, Jack shares how you increase sales with a Playbook.
Choose any team sport at any level, and the coach will always be focused on the playbook for success. They train their team based on the playbook. Why would we ever consider putting our salespeople “players” on the field without training and practicing before they play in the game?
Here’s my advice: BIGGER SALES RESULTS COME FROM USING A PLAYBOOK. Having a go-to Sales Playbook for your sales team is a proven idea to build bigger results. But what’s the best way to get it done? Or even get started? Three action steps below break it down.
1. Identify your top 1-2-3 sales problems. Some common sales problems are prospecting/lead gen, selling your true value effectively and increasing closed sales. What will make the biggest difference when improved to produce a needed lift? Decide where you need to focus and then get started on #1. Here is a simple starter outline you can expand.
Outline the Key Activities that really matter to drive results!
HIGH PAYOFF KEY ACTIVITIES for Prospecting:
a. Target Prospect List Prep & Planning: Based on pre-qualifying criteria
b. Calling: Warm & Cold-Calling - set minimum standards of measurement to meet goals
c. Emailing: Always remain customer-focused; Use effective email templates to make efficient
d. Networking: Set targeted events & set goals for # of leads at each event
e. Referrals: Be proactive; Ask for referrals after
f. Door-Knocking: When making F2F sales calls, who else in the area can you stop & open up? Prep in advance
g. Social Media / Networking: LinkedIn, Facebook, etc. People don’t want to be sold, but good for building familiarity
h. Leads Tracking & Follow-Up: Recap what actions to be taken; Track status & next steps in CRM
2. Create some Processes, Tools & Practices:
- Build processes to make success repeatable. Example: A clear Sales Process helps your sellers
- Focus on the right high payoff activities in each step. Plus, it becomes more trainable.
- Create cheat-sheet Tools to helps sellers quickly know what to do and how to be more effective.
- Tools like Qualifying Criteria to your smart, right-fit criteria. Skills-based tools and training like Best Questions, Objection Responses. Success Stories that illustrate problem-solving results for prospects based on relevant situations.
- Document the Best Practices of your top producers to help all sellers Model the Masters to be more effective.
3. Start Simple: Get started with ONE thing and improve it! Work to improve your one big problem and get it moving! Building a Playbook is a continuing process of Build – Practice – Execute – Improve.
It’s time to put Jack’s advice to work. In order to make your sales great again, you’ve got to plant perennials, not annuals. The planting time is the same for either, the nurturing the same, the wait the same – but one pays off year after year and the other is a one-hit wonder. Keep your sales team off the “sale aisle” of annual flowering plants. Instead, require a perennial playbook. You’ll be planting sales success for many seasons to come.
Photo Credit: iStock by Getty Images