Happy 2018! Whether you crushed your 2017 sales goals or fell short, in January you have the opportunity for a fresh start. Great salespeople have the ability to celebrate successes with the same even temperament as handling defeats. Like the best NFL kickers, you need to shake off the last field goal attempt and focus on the next opportunity. This month, we’re going to look at sales tips to get your year started successfully. The first week in January is a great time to do these three things:
- Review your Account plans (and revise if needed)
- Book your Customer Meetings
- Plan your next Career Move (if it’s time to leave.)
Review Your Account Plans
As a sales professional, you’ve likely created your 2018 customer account plans sometime in the fourth quarter of 2017. Now is the time to go back and review what your plans were to make sure there are no revisions necessary. Your manager may have given you a revised revenue goal or something has changed at your customer’s company…regardless, now is the time to make adjustments.
I like to do this review jointly with either my manager, or the salesperson, working on the account. It’s important that you and your manager are aligned to what the revenue goal is for Customer X and also aligned with your sales plan to achieve that goal. If there is a disconnect, now is the time to discuss questions and get on the same page. You don’t want to discover in May that you and your manager, or salesperson, were confused about a goal or strategy for Customer X. So, have any conversations, difficult or not, in early January.
Book Your Customer Meetings
It’s difficult to book customer meetings for January. You’ve probably tried to book these early January meetings sometime in December. But, the reality is that your customers are trying to close the books on their year at that time and not thinking about meeting salespeople. If you do have customer meetings set for the next few weeks, I encourage you to confirm the scheduled meeting. The sales pro is always confirming meetings but this time of year it’s best to double-check. Don’t be left in a customer lobby with an unconfirmed meeting.
The first week of January is an excellent time to book future customer meetings, though, because your own meeting schedule is light. Email, or even better, get on the phone to get those customer meetings for later this month and into February. There are also a lot of conferences and seminars happening in the winter months…usually in warm-weather locations. If you are attending any of these events, make sure to book new, or confirm existing, customer meetings. I try to use these conferences as an opportunity for breakfasts, lunches, or dinners with current customers. It’s a great way to say an additional “Thank You” for business in 2017 and also an opportunity to listen to their current needs or concerns going into the new year.
Plan Your Next Career Move
Many salespeople look at January as the time to reflect on their overall satisfaction with their current job. Most salespeople have some kind of annual bonus that is usually paid out in early February, so January is a good time to think about one’s career. When asked, I encourage a discontented salesperson to truly evaluate the opportunities at their current employer. Maybe the salesperson is going through a slump and that things can be improved at their existing organization. It’s easier to work on fixing things at a current job than to think make a move to another company. But, sometimes a position at a new employer is the right thing to do.
You’ll need to prepare before looking for a new opportunity. It’s very important to have both a current resume as well as a current LinkedIn profile. What was appropriate, resume or LinkedIn, in 2009 will need to be upgraded for 2018. There are new styles of profiles to consider and you’ll need to update your experience, performance, and activities, too. I believe it is worthwhile to consider working with a professional who specializes in either resume or LinkedIn profile creation. It is a small investment to make for a profile that truly reflects your individual strengths.
There are other steps you’ll need to take in planning a career move and we’ll review some of those next week.
The first few weeks of January can set the tone for your entire year. The best salespeople use these valuable few weeks as the starting point for their annual sales journey and you should consider using them that way too!