Actionable, Measurable Goals Led To Sales Growth

Whether it’s a short-term slump or a challenge that seems to drag on, growing sales is a top concern for many in the promotional products business. Keynote speaker Meridith Elliott Powell knows a thing or two about trying every strategy under the sun, and in her Tuesday luncheon she will share proven tips for growth strategies that work.

Powell spoke with PPB Newslink@Expo about the ways in which promo salespeople can improve their approach to sales in order to develop a successful long-term strategy.

PPB Newslink@Expo: What are some common business practices, or habits, that prevent salespeople from achieving more?

Powell: Being great at sales is about mastering the age-old art of discipline. The same actions that make you a healthy eater or good at saving money are the same practices that make you good at sales. Not exactly exciting, right? We all want a magic bullet, but the biggest reasons I see for why sales professional miss their targets are a lack of:

1. Clearly defined goals. Goals need to be specific and detailed. “Increase sales” is not a good goal. “Increase sales of XYZ product by 20 percent” is much better. Without clearly defined goals, you cannot measure progress, define success or understand what about your sales process is working.

2. Consistency of activity. Sales is a lifestyle, not a task, and sales activities need to be consistent. In sales, slow and steady wins the race. Far too often I see sales professionals who do not have a clearly defined understanding of what and how many sales activities they need to do on a weekly basis to hit their goals. The amount of sales activities you do directly relates to the goals you hit. As a sales professional you need to know that, and consistently do those activities.

3. Self-evaluation. You are your best sales coach, and most salespeople miss the crucial and important step of self-evaluation. Examining your own sales behavior to see what you are doing well, where you can improve, and brainstorming (yes, with yourself) ways to make it even better.

PPB Newslink@Expo: How can promotional products salespeople add value to the solutions they present to their clients, for whom products are the initial appeal?

Powell: Adding value is about one thing: understanding what is important to your customer and what they value. It is different for every customer and that is what makes it challenging. Adding value is not a one size fits all approach. Promotional products sales professionals need to be adept at two skills—asking great open-ended questions, and then really listening. Customers will tell you exactly how to add value to your products, the relationship and the sales, but you have to hear what they are saying. Then take action to deliver on their unique value.

PPB Newslink@Expo: What do you consider to be a crucial element (or two) to developing a successful long-term sales strategy?

Powell: If you want to be successful long-term at sales, you first need to have a strategy; a clearly defined plan of action of how you are going to achieve your goals. You need a strategy that is not only written, but one that you actively use and follow.

Second, you need to become a lifelong learner of sales. No one ever masters the art of selling, and those who are truly successful understand that, and they work hard to continually educate themselves. The economy we live in today is constantly shifting, and the rules are changing. Just because a sales strategy worked this year, does not mean it will work next year. You need to be open to learning, open to changing and open to always improving your sales game.

Keynote Luncheon: Open More Doors, Close More Sales
With Meridith Elliott Powell
Where: Mandalay Bay J, Level 2
When: Tuesday, January 16 from 11:45 am to 1:15 pm
Member Fee: $55
PPAI Associate Fee: $110
MAS: 1 point

Available tickets can be purchased at registration on Level 1 of the Mandalay Bay Convention Center.

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