Have you ever wondered why some people seem to be very good at selling their products and services, while others struggle? Yet, it’s often nothing to do with what they’re offering or indeed the quality of their services. So what is it that makes the difference?

Sales guru Tom Hopkins says that “champions spend only 40 percent of their time presenting or demonstrating, and no more than 10 percent of their time prospecting”.

Just for the record, the definition according to Tom of a sales champion is someone who falls into the top 10 percent of the sales force in terms of income and production, and they have made training and learning sales techniques an important part of their success.

He then goes on to say that some champions spend no time at all prospecting because referrals keep them busy.

And what does this difference equate to in sales success?

While spending only half as much time demonstrating and presenting as the average sales person, they manage to turn in atleast twice the volume in sales. Infact, it’s more than that, it’s between four and ten times as much as the average sales person will turnover. Imagine what would that do for your business?

How does this compare to the average sales person trying to sell their business products and services?

Research shows that the majority of people spend between 80 to 90 percent of their time presenting and demonstrating their products and services and often they don’t ask for referrals. That’s a marked difference in behaviour.

The success of the high achievers is certainly nothing to do with their confidence in presenting or demonstrating (although I’m sure they will be confident in that part of their practice). It is however more to do with their attention to detail and ability to planning sales. They put time into selecting and qualifying the right people to sell to, at overcoming objections, closing the sale and at deserving and obtaining referrals.

All of these skills are learnable and with practice you will improve. But it’s also about changing your behaviour in managing your time and where you place your focus.

Here are some tips on how you can change your sales behaviour to increase sales performance:

i. Time Management

Keep track on how much time you spend on the different areas of your business. Break it down under each category for instance, Sales conversations, administration, accounts, presenting, networking etc. This will enable you to become aware of where your precious time is going, and more importantly, highlight the areas you need to make changes to.

ii. Referrals

If you don’t already have a referrals policy in place, then it’s time to do that. It doesn’t have to be overly complicated, simply add a short message to your website, business cards or other literature, making people aware of what your referrals policy is. You can use this as a marketing exercise by sending out an email of your new referrals policy directly to your current database.

iii. Tracking ALL Sales Conversations

This really is key to improving your sales performance. Firstly, it’s about identifying what a sales conversation is (and what it isn’t).

Secondly, it’s about increasing the volume of sales conversations that you have. Each day you need to be asking yourself, “How many sales conversations did I have today? This week? This month? This year?

Thirdly, is really important to record all conversations to track your progress. In doing so, you will start to see a pattern on how well your sales conversations are going and it will show up the areas you need to improve on and where the sales process is breaking down. Aim to learn the skills to improve in those areas and track your conversion rate.

Above all else – enjoy making more sales!

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