The key to longevity in sales is to work smarter not harder. The people that do this are top performers, top earners, and find long-term success and career satisfaction in sales. I noticed that the people who stay current, happy, and grow their careers have some methods in common and we can learn from their example. The pros:
- Ditch the “cold calling” for “warm calling”. That means finding good partners! Everyone has to hit the phones at times. The trick is figuring out how to make less cold calls and more calls that will turn into warm leads. Most of my leads come from my network of partners. How does one go about partnering? If you’re new to sales, find a networking group. If you can’t find a group, make your own. Look at this group and the people in it as your top prospects. Treat them as gold.
Don’t come with your hand out, instead, share intelligence on accounts you have in common. You can help each other figure out who is in “buy mode,” for example. That way your calls are warmer because you are contacting people at companies that are growing and making purchases. These organizations are more likely to be looking for what you are selling. Keep in mind developing these channels requires work and patience at the beginning. At first you might feel like this activity isn’t netting results, but trust the pros, time spent establishing your networks will have big pay offs over the long term.
- Remember that past customers are the best prospects. The easiest people to call are people you have already sold. Sometimes I have neglected calling on my past clients because I was only thinking of netting the “big deal.” Now, I realize that these smaller sales add up, and at the end every penny counts. I have also hesitated because of fear that some clients may have complaints and won’t want to buy anything else. This is where maintaining the relationship is so important. Even customers who had rough implementations can become your best advocates because they know and trust you. Always treat your past customers with the same care and attention as you did when you were first prospecting them. This often leads to additional sales and invaluable referrals into your business network.
- Take Vacation. Work hard but take time for yourself. Make sure you take at least 2 weeks off per year or more if your boss will allow it. You need to recharge your battery. I’ve seen too many people burn the candle at both ends and they never hit their numbers. Every top performer I know takes vacation no matter what. Plan ahead take the vacation and shut down. One week of not doing your job and focusing on yourself will allow you to come back and hit it again and again.
- Schedule and plan for the next week. One way to keep from burning out is to know what’s coming and have a plan. Every Friday at the end of the day schedule out what you are going to do the next week so that you have a plan and are not just flying by the seat of your pants. Believe me, you will go through slump after slump and not be successful without a plan. The best sales people are disciplined, even about going on vacation. That planning and discipline in work and play leads to success and less chance of burn out.
- Have fun! Enjoy your successes and smile through the slumps. Remember this is the easiest hardest job in the world. It’s easy to ride through a slump when you remember to have a positive attitude. There will always be slow times but the people who get out of those slumps the quickest are alert for the opportunity in any situation. They think about the alternative of being chained to a desk all day. These are the times to get out in the field, have dinner with a partner, take a client out – have fun!