There’s something about turning that page on the annual calendar. Whether in our personal lives or in business, it’s a perfect time to reflect back on the past year, and also to plan for the new.
Annual sales meetings reward and celebrate last year’s high performers, and communicate strategy, objectives, and expectations for the coming year. Salespeople put together their plans, target accounts, and account strategies for the new year. We may (and should!) take the time to reflect on the past to inform our future plans. But in sales, the past year, with all of its hard work and lessons learned, often gets short shrift. When it comes to sales planning, we often jump straight into the new year and miss opportunities to bring more value to our customers by revisiting the Old.
My experience is that the highest performing salespeople focus on both the past as well as the future to bring value to their clients and ensure their satisfaction. Are you taking the time with your clients to review your company’s past performance before planning for the New Year?
When meeting with customers to discuss 2018, begin by taking a brief look back with them.
For example, try asking these questions:
- How did we do last year?
- What worked well?
- What could we do differently?
- What would be the impact of doing it that way? For the business? For you?
- Remember those 3 Key questions: Tell Me More, Impact, Catch All
These questions work well when dealing with an incumbent competitor as well.
- What did you like about working with ABC Company?
- Is there anything you would change if you could?
- And finally, what’s the #1 way to find out if your customer is satisfied? ASK.
Don’t wait for the company customer satisfaction survey. The best time to find out is when you are talking one to one with your customers. Checking in with questions like these identify gaps that can be closed before they become problematic, helps shift your customer out of that “Zone of Indifference” to more highly satisfied, and demonstrates your sincere intent to support their success and bring more value.
Here’s to a New Year of success and fulfillment. Happy 2018!
Vice President- Business Development & Performance Improvement
Susan brings over 20 years of experience working with global markets and organizations, helping them navigate through tough economic challenges while maintaining their margins. Since joining SEG in 1995, she has had the privilege of working with organizations that truly value the development of their employees and recognize the impact their people have on their bottom line results. Learn more