This is one of a series of blogs written specifically for those people in small businesses who are responsible for winning sales. These people will often have other roles and responsibilities which requires them to be very time-efficient during their selling activities. Larger businesses are likely to employ one or more full-time salespeople and this blog series is also written to help these people.
All experienced sales people understand that success in sales can be very transient. At the start of each financial year, sales targets are set and everyone in the sales team starts at zero. The clock is reset. Last year’s successes no longer count. Everyone starts off motivated and optimistic about reaching their targets, but as the weeks and months go by there is a very real risk that motivation and enthusiasm will drop.
To reach your sales target for this year, you will have to cope with aggressive buyers, rude buyers, inconsiderate buyers and, possibly, incompetent buyers. You will get rejection after rejection. No wonder your motivation starts to wane.
Despite all the rejection, there will be many high points too. There will be new clients, new orders and winning orders at the expense of other suppliers. The secret to achieving success in sales is to find ways to keep yourself motivated and maintain your focus. Motivation really is the key ingredient. It stops procrastination from creeping in; it helps you bounce back from setbacks; it gives you the energy to go the extra mile and it gets you going on a cold, dark Monday morning.
I’ll give you 10 ways you can maintain or even increase your motivation. The first 4 are given below, you will receive the final 6 next time.
- Set goals and plan how to achieve them
To help you focus on where you are going it is vital to determine what your goals are. Be sure to write them out regularly and spend time visualising yourself reaching them. Get yourself some books on goal setting from Amazon and learn how to harness the power of your subconscious mind to help turn your goals into reality.
Produce plans showing how you will reach your goals. It is quite illuminating to work back from the date you want to realise the goal to the present. Break down your goals as necessary to enable a detailed plan to be produced. From this point, provided you complete each of the activities on your plan on time, you will reach your goals.
- Continually search for solutions, not problems
Everyone has to deal with problems, obstacles and setbacks. This is just part of life. It is how you respond these obstacles and setbacks that is important. When you encounter a problem, don’t dwell on the problem, focus on the possible solutions.
The more you think about something, the more likely it is that your subconscious mind will attract similar things into your life. If you focus on problems, it will seek to bring more problems into your life. Focus on looking at solutions. Focus on positive things. Focus on making progress. The more you think about the positive, the solutions and the way forward, the more likely it is to come about.
Use “mindstorming” to identify possible solutions to a particular problem. Capture them on paper. It is advisable to continue this process until you have a list of 20 possible solutions. Resolve to take action on the best solution you have on your list.
- Mix with positive people
Choose your friends carefully. Mix only with positive people, the people who look for the good in situations and who are recognised as people who “get things done”. Their optimism and forward momentum will influence your own behaviour and you too will move ahead.
Negative people will also influence your behaviour. Even if you are a high-energy positive person, associating with negative people will drain your energy like a light bulb drains the energy from a battery.
- Build strong relationships
Invest as much time as you can in building strong, trusting relationships with others. This investment will pay off over and over in the future as the people in your network help you to reach your goals. Networking, both online and at meetings, is increasingly popular. Some people spend hours attending events and collecting business cards from the people they meet.
What is a great surprise is that few people have a process in place to build on those initial connections to turn them into long-term trusting relationships. Next time you collect a pocket full of business cards at an event, make sure you follow up afterwards. It takes between seven and ten contacts with someone before you make an impact on them, so a single follow up email after meeting somebody is pretty ineffectual. Develop a process that helps you get a minimum of seven contacts (Marketing Touches) with a person over a 3 – 4 month period.
Strong relationships are based on mutual trust and respect. These take many weeks to develop and will probably need several 1-to-1 meetings during which you can really get to know each other. Once you have developed these relationships, you will find these people will help you unconditionally. You, in return, should help others without any expectation of receiving something in return.
These are the first 4 (of 10) ways to maintain your motivation, especially important if you are experiencing a dip in sales success. Each is simple enough to implement, just needing you to take notice of who you are interacting with and how you can be of value to them. Look out for negative thoughts and negative people and banish them from your lives. The next 6 ways to maintain your motivation will be presented next time.