Time For Selling - You're Having a Laugh

Guess what - 13 weeks to Christmas. My kids tell me that is 91 sleeps or 2184 hours. Assuming the mythical five day / 40 hour working week (come on, I'm having a laugh!), that's actually 520 working hours. Regardless of busy, that's still plenty of time to make a difference to how your year ends. The question is are you up for it or has the year already run its course in your mind?

Allow me ask: how many of those 520 hours will you and / or your team spend on focused, purposeful sales and marketing activity? Or putting it another way, how much time are you and / or your team willing to commit every day, every week to ensure doing any, or all, of the following before year-end:

1. Seek meaningful engagement with your existing customers; ensure no opportunity goes unnoticed or unexplored; assume nothing, regardless of how long you have worked together. Seek real dialogue.
    •    Do they know you care, understand and value their business and, in turn, won't go elsewhere in 2013?
    •    Do you know what challenges they are facing so you can identify the right products, services, solutions, payment and delivery terms to ensure you are fit for purpose going forward, and can deliver on expectations and needs?
    •    Can you anticipate changing trends, challenges and opportunities facing your customers, which will allow you to lead in your market place rather than follow?

2. Chase up lapsed or lost customers who decided to try elsewhere or just not bother for now - how are they faring? Can you win them back? Can you re-activate by pressing the right buttons?

3. Close business that has been hovering for far too long - get to the bottom of why your customers and prospects are not converting. Ask some meaningful questions, create a sense of urgency. Demonstrate real value and ROI for your customers so it's worth their while investing and committing to buying from you...now!

4. Examine your pipeline and focus on moving your opportunities forward with the objective of influencing your end of year sales. What can you do to hit target, improve performance, grow, sustain and survive, depending on your personal objectives? Can you take greater control of outcomes or are you in sit and wait mode - they're busy, I'm busy, no-one's moving things forward.

5. Examine your pipeline - what's dead and buried? Be honest - remove the dead wood. Don't waste your time on 'hope' - it's hopeless.

6. Examine your pipeline - is there anything really worthwhile in there? If not, get proactive and identify new prospects in order to ensure you have some new business coming in over the coming months. How many new prospects can you seek to commence dialogue with and maybe even close in 2012? Will you start 2013 ahead or behind - is your pipeline in danger of running dry?

7. Take time to be strategic and explore your marketplace: identify new opportunities and new target audiences versus same old, same old. Who's buying, who's not, who's hot, who's not, who will buy, who won't? Change, adapt, and move forward, versus getting stuck or falling behind.

8. Take time to see what your competitors are up to - what can you learn - the good, the bad and the ugly.

9. Take time to review your sales, marketing and ROI (return on your marketing investment time and money). What's worked, what hasn't, what do you need to do more or less of and what new strategies and tactics will you try going forward?

10. Renew, refresh, up-skill, challenge and reward yourself and others. Ensure you and yours are fighting fit to take on the challenges that lie ahead in quite often static and highly competitive marketplaces.

The thing is we're all busy. There aren't enough hours in the day and sometimes, if sales and marketing isn't in yours or in your team's DNA, we all default to doing what we do best or responding to the most immediate pressure. This can be a recipe for disaster as the current climate demands that we are 100% proactively focused on searching out and nurturing our key existing and future customers, identifying, triggering and fulfilling needs profitably. If we're not, someone else is. I'm reminded of one of my favourite quotes, not from any Harvard Business Review but rather from one of A.A. Milne's much loved Winnie-the-Pooh stories:

"Here is Edward Bear coming downstairs now, bump, bump, bump on the back of his head behind Christopher Robin. It is, as far as he knows, the only way of coming down the stairs but sometimes he feels there really is another way, if only he could stop bumping and think of it".

So as we pile more and more pressure on our people and ourselves to multi-task and be all things to all people. Remember to be realistic, strategic and focused - there's still (or only!) 520 working hours to go in 2012. What percentage of this time will you allocate to meaningful and proactive sales and marketing activity and what will you specifically do with that time from the list above? Decide NOW and COMMIT. The amount of time will vary from person to person, depending on the role and the business but one thing is sure, it won't happen by chance. We rarely 'find' time, it was never lost in the first place - we just need to commit to using it in the right way, on the right things that will help drive our business forward, rather than stand still or fade into oblivion.

If you need help turning the above into reality and maximising on the potential of your business and your people, get in touch for a FREE no obligation dialogue. Let's explore - contact me by email or call me on 07801-387321.

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