Making Sales Your Personal Mission
(Blog #13 in the ongoing series derived from a book Harris DeWese wrote several years ago—“A Year of Selling Profitably.” The book was written for printers to use as a guide in training their sales teams through a series of two-hour sessions over 48 weeks.)
In this session, you will begin to develop individual sales plans for the balance of 2011. If you believe that you already have a plan in place, I hope you will come to understand that static plans are worthless. Planning should be a moving target that you are constantly fixing, refining, improving and embellishing. This process inevitably leads to more successful plans.
In today’s exercise, you will begin to develop your individual sales plan and, at the same time, have the chance to improve your planning skills. You will begin by writing a personal mission statement.
The second step will be listing your personal strengths and weaknesses, as well as those of your company and your competitors.
Next, you will begin to develop sales objectives based on your assessment of those strengths and weaknesses.
“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail. Reduce your plan to writing. The moment you complete this, you will have definitely given concrete form to the intangible desire.”—Naploeon Hill
I have quoted the late Napoleon Hill, renowned author and public speaker, to remind you that you will need paper and pencil or, preferably, your laptop to record your planning work in these sessions. This reminds me of another famous man who, when questioned about what he was doing, said, “I’m just preparing my impromptu remarks.” You should be able to guess that remark was uttered by Sir Winston Churchill, one of my historic heroes.
Exercise I (60 minutes)
Better planning inevitably leads to better customer service, more persuasive sales presentations and, finally, more face-to-face time with buyers—a winning combination. Salespeople and companies that have embraced a formal, yet flexible, approach to guiding their own destinies will be the wealthy salespeople and the high-profit firms that will be the survivors. Even rookie salespeople recognize that, in many respects, sales in our industry is “warfare”—and the battle is for high stakes.
Write a one-paragraph (one to three sentence) personal mission statement. The mission statement is the first step to planning. Check the annual reports or marketing materials for all the great companies and you will find their mission statements. It’s their reason for existence. Yours might read something like this:
I am committed to providing superior quality and service to satisfy my customers’ graphic arts needs. I wish to be recognized by my employer, competitors, fellow employees and customers as a salesperson who solves customers’ problems and contributes to the attainment of my customers’ and employer’s objectives.
Now, come on. Don’t just copy what I wrote. Think about why you do what you do. It better be more than “This is all I know and the only job I could get.” Every six-figure-plus print salesperson that I know has a fire in his/her belly for their professional sales role in the graphic arts industry.
Now, get out there—with that fire lit and burning white hot in your belly—and think up a great mission statement AND sell something!
Remember to come to a complete stop at stop signs and red lights. No texting while you’re driving, and if you have an important client phone call make or return, then pull over in a parking lot. I don’t want you arrested, maimed in an accident or injuring another driver (he may be a customer).
A Year of Selling Profitably
By Harris M. DeWese with Jerry Bray
Employ techniques and tools that turn weekly sales meetings into energetic learning experiences, resulting in a more enthusiastic, more motivated, and more effective sales force. Understand how these techniques and tools required to build successful marketing, sales and, ultimately, profits, will help you achieve “A Year of Selling Profitably.” Click to order a copy.
Harris DeWese is the author of "Now Get Out There and Sell Something." He is chairman/CEO at Compass Capital Partners and an author of the annual "Compass Report," the definitive source of info regarding printing industry M&A activity. DeWese has completed 100-plus printing company transactions and is viewed as the preeminent deal maker in the industry. He specializes in investment banking, M&A, sales, marketing and management services to printers.