If you’ve been selling for a while, you probably think you’ve got your pitch and technique nailed. That may be true, but have you suddenly noticed you’re having trouble making quota? You might be tempted to blame that shortcoming on product changes or something your manager’s done. In truth, you might be guilty of making a few mistakes.
It’s common for salespeople to get relaxed after they have a few years of experience. By then, they won some key accounts, suffered a big loss or two and learned how to deal with rejection. But, they might also be taking a few shortcuts. As Jeff Hoffman says, when citing HubSpot data, “the majority of salespeople with five-plus years of experience say that when they find something works, they don't change it.” That’s a big negative. Here’s what you can do to stay at the top of your game.
If you aren’t constantly keeping track of what’s changing and keeping your skills up to date, you’re in danger of falling behind. Make it a point to read articles about your industry on a daily basis. You can also subscribe to podcasts that highlight what’s new in the field of selling. When you know what’s going on, especially in your clients’ world, you can bring something new to every discussion.
Humility and sales aren’t two concepts that people frequently use together. In sales, it’s tempting to focus on the big deals. After all, you might only need one or two deals make your quota. Hoffman points out there’s big risks associated with big deals. If you lose the one account you’ve been counting on, the one that’s going to get you all kinds of attention in the company, you’ve got a problem. When you work multiple small deals, the numbers will work in your favor. Plus, some of the smaller accounts have the potential to grow into large deals.
When’s the last time you added a new contact person to your list? If it’s been a while, sharpen up. Employees come and go at every company. Don’t make the mistake of leaning too heavily on one or two contacts at your client companies. Keep track of what’s going on in these organizations and add names and contact information to your CRM regularly.
As an experienced and successful rep, you have what it takes to make a difference. Don't rest on what you've done in the past. Stay curious, humble and connected, and you'll make quota every year.