Follow these four steps to finish the year on a high note.
Making it as a sales professional has never been easy, and these days it can seem harder than ever before now that the digital environment we're surrounded by provides tantalizing deals that are always just a few clicks away. Despite the challenges associated with being a salesperson, however, those who are struggling should understand that systematic reforms to how you approach the profession can radically reshape your performance and help you finish the year strong.
If you are struggling to make ends meet and have seen your sales figures been dipping recently, here are four ways to boost your numbers and finish the year strong.
Know the lay of the land.
Perhaps the most harmful mistake that many sales professionals make time and time again is a failure to understand the lay of the land. Many of those who are struggling to make ends meet when it comes to their sales haven't reviewed their competition in months or even years, yet the hectic activity of the modern marketplace ensures that someone is going to rise up against you sooner rather than later.
Knowing when a new competitor emerges can be the difference between life or death, so the first thing you should focus on is thoroughly understanding your industry, where you stand within it and how you can go about climbing the hierarchy with success.
Only after you've identified your most serious competitors can you move to bolster your own position. You should start by asking yourself if you're losing sales to a particular competitor, and if so, how. Writing down the reasons customers are flocking to your competitors can help you gather up effective responses to these defections. This will permit you to rope those customers back into your own economic corral. Knowing how to effectively evaluate your competition in order to compete more capably against them is an essential element of getting back on track as a struggling salesperson.
Gathering information about your primary competitors also has a helpful tendency to elucidate your target market. If your competitors are targeting a narrow consumer demographic that you've previously shunned, for instance, it may be helpful to pivot to that under-targeted audience in an effort to expand your sales figures. Never discount researching the opposition as a means of bettering your own operations.
Don't follow foolish trends.
Another surefire way to boost your sales figures and finish the year in a strong fashion is to avoid following in the footsteps of foolish competitors that back the wrong horse. This can be an incredibly difficult proposition; good salespersons will have to learn how to copy their successful competitors while avoiding the techniques relied upon by their shoddier counterparts. One popular trend that's been taking over the sales industry lately is a reliance on influencer marketing. If a salesperson refers to and relies on influencers, the argument goes, they'll see their figures shoot skywards in no time.
As a matter of fact, a majority of respondents in a survey from Tomoson said that they intended to increase their influencer budget in the near future. For most salespersons, however, relying on influencers won't accomplish much other than wasting your already dwindling budget. For all the media hubbub that they've generated (it is, after all, their job) influencers are almost comically inept at actually changing consumer mindsets. Influencers usually don't influence anything at all, and salespeople who rely on dubious marketing trends to bolster their commercial standing will soon discover they've wasted their precious time and energy on another elaborate hoax.
You should thus be cautious of hitching your horse to whatever bandwagon happens to come down the road. There are other, more effective measures of heightening your sales figures than tapping into exotic new trends that are more dramatic than they are effective. Classical means of bolstering your charisma, for instance, can go a long way towards helping you seal future deals.
Improve your sales skills.
The most tried-and-true method used by salespeople to boost sales and finish their year with a strong effort is to improve upon your personal sales skills. This is often easier said than done, but there are practical ways that one can go about living their everyday life that bolsters their persuasiveness and ability to charm prospective customers. Experts have also gone to great lengths to prove that you don't have to be a full-time salesperson to understand the appeal of giving a good pitch.
As the Harvard Business Review illustrates, bolstering your personal sales skills usually begins by focusing on your charisma; sales aren't so much about pushing things upon people as it is persuading them why they need such things in the first place. Salespeople who enjoy great success are usually those who are actually invested in the well-being of their customers. They are invested to such an extent that they can persuasively argue that the item or service they're selling will radically improve that customer's day-to-day experience. Familiarizing yourself with the target demographic isn't enough here – you need to consider the practical everyday uses of what your selling and ask yourself how to make it appealing to those who use it often.
Of course, practice also makes perfect, so don't think that you can boost your sales without staring into a mirror and practicing your sales pitch time and time again until it's perfect. Sometimes, soliciting the honest feedback of your peers is essential to getting this right, as you may need someone else to point out a flaw in your sales pitch before you can identify it and move to remedy it yourself.
Finish your year off with gusto.
Finally, it's worth knowing that finishing off the year in a strong fashion often entails turning back to old prospects to see if they've since changed their minds. No salesperson is perfect, and you'll soon find that a shoddy pitch you delivered to a prospective customer can be turned into a refined, effective pitch that wins them over the second time around. But that will only happen if you practice it over and over again until you get it right. Clients who turned you and a lackluster presentation away in January may find you and your presentation in December to be much more alluring.
You should also be ready and willing to seek out referrals wherever they may be found. If a customer enjoys your product or service, don't be afraid to ask them if they're aware of others who may be liable to make a similar purchase. Consumers often want to spread the news of their new purchase anyway, so tapping into the innate social desire to share as a means of getting more prospective leads is an excellent way to finish your year off with gusto.
Thoroughly evaluating the competition, being brutally honest during periods of introspection, and demonstrating a dogged willingness to try and try again until you get it right are all necessary parts of boosting your sales and finishing the year strong. Even amateur salespeople understand that failing once doesn't mean you won't ever succeed again, as being turned away is a natural part of being in sales.
What separates the real winners from the losers is the ability to get back up, brush the dirt off your shoulders and get back to work with more perseverance than ever before.