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  • Think Backwards: The Key to Getting What You Want

    Guest Post By: Emmie Brown

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    On a coaching call, my client told me she wanted to sell ten million dollars in business. I said, “Great! How do you plan on doing that?” She replied, “I really believe in myself, I know that I can do it I just know that with confidence I can hit my goal.”

    So I asked again, “How are you going to hit your goal?” She said: “I have made a vision board, and I’ve been focusing on it. It will help me hit my goal. I’m going to work harder than I ever have!”

    Again, “How?” She knew what she wanted. Without knowing how you are going to hit your goals, you can easily set yourself up to fail.

    In order to really move your business forward, sometimes you need to do a little backwards thinking.

    In every business it takes a certain number of dials to make a certain number of contacts, to set a certain number of appointments, to have a certain number of presentations, to have a certain number of sales. Your business might be a little bit different in terminology, or the process might be slightly shorter or slightly longer. One thing we all know is that every business follows a sales cycle.

    First, we have to track our numbers.  We need this information so we are aware of how many dials it takes to get someone on the phone. That’s our dial to contact ratio.

    We have to know things like how many contacts it takes to set an appointment.

    We have to know how many of our appointments actually stick and turn into presentations.

    Out of those presentations, what’s our closing percentage?

    How many of those turn into sales, and what is our average package size?

    Once you know those numbers then you can do some backwards thinking. Start with the goal you want to hit.

    Let’s say you’re like my client and want to sell $10 million in business. In order to get there, you need to take your average package size/sale size and figure out how many sales you need to make. The next thing you do is take your closing percentage and figure out how many presentations you need to run in order to have that many customers. Then you back end it out and figure out how many appointments you need to set based on your appointments set-to kept ratio. Then figure out how many contacts you need to make, and ultimately how many dials you need to make.

    Once you know how many dials, contacts, appointments set, and appointments ran you need, that is where you put your focus, not on the results.

    So many of us focus on the results. If we focus on the results that pressure builds up and we lose focus on the activity that is going to lead to the result. Consequently, we don’t achieve the result.

    Instead, you should almost forget about the revenue, the goal, and the money, and focus on the activity. When the activity is there, the results will follow. The results are a natural by-product of the activity.

    If you want to hit your goal, you have to think backwards!

    Write down how you’ll work backwards, let me know what you come up with!

    Emmie Brown is an executive level coach and an expert in the Psychology of Scripting. Emmie started her career with The Southwestern Company as a student intern at the University of North Carolina. She continued to work with Southwestern over the next 10 years as a top producing sales manager until joining Southwestern Consulting in 2009. Emmie has spent the last 4 years traveling the country as a professional sales trainer, executive coach and business consultant with Southwestern Consulting and the Success Starts Now! conference series. She is also the author of the audio series Talk Less, Sell More and a breakout presenter at the Success Starts Now! sales training conference.


  • Making Client Meetings Matter

    Guest Post By: Emmie Brown

    Many account managers stay very busy meeting with their existing customers- so much so that they don’t make time to get in front of new business. This can be a costly mistake that prevents them from building their income. And, over time, as accounts slowly go away, can even cause them to have a dwindling income. Their income is most likely to dwindle if they are not making every one of those visits truly worthwhile. In other words, they are acting as professional visitors, rather than as consultative sales professionals.

    If you are not uncovering a new opportunity to quote at least 1 out of 4 of your visits, then it could mean 1 of 2 things:

    1. You are going to frequently.

    2. You are not effective enough with your visit.

    PREPARING FOR YOUR VISIT

    You can actually do fewer visits with each customer, saving you massive amounts of time, money and energy if you plan and use your time effectively on each visit. The problem is that most salespeople underprepare for the visits. Consequently, you don’t get to meet with everyone you would like to get an audience with, you spend too much of the valuable time in unproductive conversation, you forget to follow-up on key decisions, and you don’t get the results from those visits that they could. To get the most from your customer visit, do these 3 things:

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    1. Know who you are going to see. Make sure that you are not just meeting with the same decision-makers while failing to see others while you are there. There are people who are technical users of our products, conceptual decision-makers, and financial decision-makers. Make sure that you are getting in front of all of them on every visit if possible. If there are other decision-makers who are part of the organization who oversee a different department but are not yet your customer, make sure you have a plan for how you are going to get in front of them during your visit. Arrange an introduction. Make sure you know when they are in. Have a reason to see them.

    2. Know what you are going to talk to them about. As a manager of an account you have to manage many details. You have to remember when someone last ordered something and in what quantity, when you presented a quote and when you should expect to receive the purchase order, when someone told you “not right now” and when and why you should bring it back up again. . . Forgetting to remind someone that it is time to reorder, not following-up on a purchase order, not bringing new ideas to your customers’ attention will cost you a lot of money in the long run!

    3. Give value every time. On every visit, you should plan to provide your customer with something of value. And, no, we are not talking about doughnuts or cookies! The value of that you provide should be relevant to the products you sell and the service you provide to them. Bring them an article that shares valuable education. Bring them a referral for the new employee they are looking to hire. Bring them an idea of how you can save them money. Show them a new product that will help save them time. Customers will not keep you around just because you are a nice guy and you stop by every week. People want to keep vendors around that are valuable to them. It is not your customer’s job to find a need for you, it is your job to make yourself irreplaceable.

    Don’t waste valuable time, time that you could spend going after new business, driving to meet with customers without a plan. To get the most of your visit, prepare for it. Make it count.

    Emmie Brown is an executive level coach and an expert in the Psychology of Scripting. Emmie started her career with The Southwestern Company as a student intern at the University of North Carolina. She continued to work with Southwestern over the next 10 years as a top producing sales manager until joining Southwestern Consulting in 2009. Emmie has spent the last 4 years traveling the country as a professional sales trainer, executive coach and business consultant with Southwestern Consulting and the Success Starts Now! conference series. She is also the author of the audio series Talk Less, Sell More and a breakout presenter at the Success Starts Now! sales training conference.