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What Is Your Sales Plan for 2009?

February 18, 2009

Written by Meredith Oliver

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Winging it won’t work. (let’s face it most of us sales types love to wing it)

Hope is not a strategy.  (although hope is a great emotion to hold onto)

To be successful this year, you need a plan to give you clarity and focus. Plans steady you in the midst of chaos, give you reassurance in times of doubt, can be easily changed if you remain open and flexible, AND provide direction when the outcome is uncertain. Plans are cheaper than Xanax and less self destructive than vodka and large amounts of chocolate. Take it from a self proclaimed “plan-a-holic”… plans are a fantastic way to manage stress and get the results you are looking for.

Of course you can go overboard if you are too rigid. But, that isn’t what we are talking about here. Think about a sales plan as your personal and professional business plan. You wouldn’t invest in a new business without reviewing the business plan first.

A sales plan is a strategic approach that seeks to answer one question– How are you going to make sales happen this year?

You’ll notice two thing about that question:

1) “How are YOU…”– not your sales manager, not your boss, not the Web site or the advertising…the question is what are you personally willing to do to make sales happen.

2) “…Make sales happen…” — this implies a need for proactive action and a focus on doing activities on a daily basis that make money.

How do you create a sales plan? Keep reading and be sure to check out our Web seminar, Personal & Professional Business Planning at www.CreatingWOW.com.

Five easy steps to create your winning sales plan TODAY!

  • Strategy #1 — Personal + Professional = $ales!

Generating sales is a function of who you are personally and professionally. How well is your personal and professional life aligned? Do you have the right amount of work/life balance for your family situation? You can’t be successful at work if your home life is a mess and vice versa. Get your personal life running smoothly and your work life will as well.

On the flip side, how clear are you about your professional life? Do you have a preferred future? A preferred future is the future you want for yourself, not the accidental future that just happens as life unfolds. What does your preferred future look like? How does this interact with your home life? What kind of money do you make? How many hours do you work? Do you envision working from home, the car or an office? Do you work alone or with others? In order to have a sales plan that WORKS you have to start with the end in mind. And, the end result has to be aligned with your personal goals, beliefs and values.

  • Strategy #2 — It is all in day’s work

The next step is to prioritize your daily activites to support your preferred future. Remember, you can’t do everything and not everything works. What activities could you do on a daily basis that make money? Making follow up calls, attending networking functions, giving free speeches and sending email campaigns are just a few ideas to build awareness of your product or service. The key here is to spend time where your greatest opportunity exists. Action Item — Review your sales from last year. How did they happen? What source did they come from? Make a list of all the sources and prioritize them in order from most to least number of sales. Take the top three and find a way every day to spend time cultivating leads from those sources.

  • Strategy #3 – It’s my party and I will write if I want to…

Do you have the discipline to write down your sales plan? There is a proven connection between your brain and the physical act of writing things down. This physical connection puts your sub-conscious into motion and you end up taking action to support the plan without even knowing it! WOW!

It is important that you break your plan into timed action steps. A very long to-do list is overwhelming and by the time you knock the first item off the list you may want to give up. Your plan should be a year in scope and break the tasks down by quarters.

  • Strategy #4 — Lights, Camera, Action!

Take action immediately. Not tomorrow. Not next week. TODAY. Get the process started while you are still excited about it. No one likes delayed gratification. We want results and we want it now. The sooner you get results, the more likely you will stick with the plan. Think through in advance what obstacles you will face and think about how you will overcome them. Where possible, build routines around your plan. Routines are a great way to ensure consistency.

  • Strategy #5 — The best laid plans of mice and men…

A plan is only as good as your willingness to change it when needed! Don’t be inflexible or rigid. Keep your antenna up and constantly look for ways to improve and grow. Look for new markets and unmet needs. Be aware of your degree of personal and professional alignment. Measure and monitor your success and be open to going in a completely different direction if needed.

Please comment and tell us about your plans. What works for you? What doesn’t? We would love to hear from you!

Best of luck. But you don’t need luck. You have a plan…

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