“Always strive to improve and never be afraid to change.” 

– Jeff Glackin | VP of Sales

As another year comes to an end and it’s important to look back on the previous year to analyze what part of your process helped move the sales needle and what parts of your process need improvement. It’s also a great time to plan your activities for building your pipeline to ensure a successful launch of the new year. 

The close of 2018 ends my 26th year in automotive and in sales and every year I can still outline things I can do to improve my results in the coming year.

There are three ways you can build a solid sales pipeline in the new year. You can upgrade your current clients by adding additional products and services, you can get referrals from clients and other business relationships, or you can prospect for new clients. Let’s talk about each one individually.

Upgrade your current clients

This is one of the best ways to experience growth as a company. If you are providing results, communicating properly, and building relationships with your clients they should all be open to considering expanding that relationship. This means you can’t be that type of salesperson that disappears after the commission hits your paycheck. If you aren’t currently in a position to approach your company’s current clients because you have been handed off after the sale, make changing that your New Year’s resolution.  If not, you not only miss out on the opportunity to grow through add-on sales, but you likely haven’t earned the next bullet point which is a referral.

Referrals

When you deliver, and clients feel you have had a true impact on the growth of their business, they typically want to return the favor and help you grow yours.. It is also a way they can help their colleagues realize the same results they have. The best referrals are unsolicited and your client approaches you. That is when you know you and your company are on the right track and have developed a solid business relationship with that client. It is acceptable to approach your clients and ask for a referral but only if you are confident you have earned that right. Again, earn the right THEN ask. Referrals are a very powerful way to break the ice with new prospects because they already have been given a huge vote of confidence from your current client. If you aren’t getting referrals and aren’t confident you have earned the right to ask, there is another New Year’s resolution for you. Fix that.

Prospecting

If you aren’t seeing enough growth from upgrades and referrals you have no choice but to prospect or “cold call”. This is the most difficult way to grow your business and requires the most effort and discipline. You are in sales. Nobody is above prospecting. I find ways to make it fun because you are going to experience a lot of rejection and sometimes even anger. Shake it off and keep going. Each prospect typically requires multiple forms of cold contact before they even acknowledge you. Once you get through you better be able to establish some value to that prospect or you are done. That’s why I typically like to cold call with a purpose. Do a little research specific to them and bring something to them that shows you not only know what you are talking about but that you are truly interested in helping them improve and grow. Be very careful here though. You can spend too much time doing homework prior to contacting a prospect that you aren’t making enough contacts to be successful yourself. It’s only a very small percentage of dials that will actually result in an addition to your pipeline. You have to find a happy medium and spend more time contacting than researching but I feel the research is a differentiator from the competitor that isn’t prepared and knows nothing about the prospect other than he wants to sell him something. Use all forms of communication possible. Phones, email, social media, and good old fashion knocking on doors.

Always strive to improve and never be afraid to change. I hope this helps you and your clients have an exceptional 2019.


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