By Mike Ackerman
DigiPay Solutions Inc.
Most merchant level salespeople (MLSs) believe in setting sales goals, but many go no further than setting a number and moving on. They think about winning but overlook the smaller workouts and competitions that will get them across the finish line. With 2017 in full swing, it's time to reassess sales resolutions we made in 2016.
Are you a "set and forgetter"? If so, it's not too late. With the right sales plan, effort and commitment, lofty goals are achievable. Creating a bulletproof sales plan begins with setting a goal and breaking it into manageable parts.
The following steps will help you reset and get on the fast track toward your 2017 milestones:
The first step in setting an achievable sales goal is to review your original goal in detail and see exactly what you want to accomplish. As we near the end of the first quarter, where do you see yourself nine months from now? Your goal might be to increase your residual by 30 percent over 2016. Are you on track, or have you fallen behind? How can you improve your performance?
Break long-term goals into a series of smaller, actionable sub-goals. These sub-goals will get you focused on near-term milestones that get you closer to your main goal and help you track progress. Here's a simple formula I've used that always works: A x F = R. Action times frequency equals results.
For example, in football, if a quarterback throws a certain pass to a receiver in practice, it should work in a game. If it doesn't, the pass play is wrong or they have not practiced it enough. It's simple, but it works.
If your goal is to close 30 percent more deals in 2016, break it into daily, weekly and monthly sub-goals to determine how many cold calls you should make per month, week and day, based on your cold call conversion rate, to reach your goal. For example, if you are selling the American Express One Point program, measure your results for each day, week and month to determine your success, and adjust your frequency or actions accordingly.
Once you break your sales goal into daily, weekly and monthly sub-goals, make a schedule. Again, using football as an example, a team or individual is focused just on next week's game. Sales is the same: focus on the week at hand and the goal for that week. Having a schedule in place to work on goals will help you measure your success and make necessary adjustments. This schedule should take precedent over non-priorities.
Sooner or later, you'll find an excuse to renege on your commitment to improve. You may decide you deserve a break after everything you've accomplished and promise yourself you'll pick up right where you left off after a pause. However, such breaks can interrupt the chain of success and throw salespeople off course. After a short hiatus, the next phase of reaching a goal can feel like starting over.
Create mini rewards for mini stages. A short-term bonus is an excellent way to reinforce short-term goals. It could be a dinner, iPad or a weekend trip. If you fail to achieve results, do not accept your short-term bonus. Tack the shortfall to the next "mini goal" to keep pace with your larger annual goal.
A well-defined path with associated rewards will help you accomplish your goal, much like it would help an NFL football player. NFL teams keep players engaged by rewarding them for a great play or for accomplishing a difficult task along the path to the Super Bowl.
Remember, recognize your great plays, and reward yourself along the way to your Super Bowl. When you hit a "mini goal," you will become more energized and set your course with the focus and energy needed for the long game ahead. A first-quarter reset, combined with an honest assessment of your strengths and weaknesses, can set you up for a big win in 2017.
Mike Ackerman is President of DigiPay Solutions Inc., which specializes in high-risk, high-volume, card-not-present and business-to-business merchant services. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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