8 Must-Have Conversations at Your Sales Kick-off
In the last vlog, I provided you with insight into how you can use the Sales Growth Blueprint and the seven drivers of sales growth as a fantastic reflection and planning tool. Something I didn’t mention is that the best thing about the Blueprint is that you DON’T have to improve all 7 drivers to improve sales results. After 20+ years of consulting on sales performance in over 25 countries I can confidently tell you that if you improve any single driver you will get an immediate improvement in sales results.
Now if you’re pulling all your people together for a Sales Kick-off event, please keep this in mind: the self-reflection, conversations and personal planning your people do at a Kick-off event are far more important than the presentations they listen to and watch.
In this vlog, I want to share what I believe are the 8 must-have conversations at any kick-off event and throughout the year in your coaching sales conversations. For each conversation I’ll provide you with the key question salespeople should be asked to start the conversation — these questions can also be used as reflection questions if you’re an individual salesperson.
1. What are my goals AND what’s the most probable, controllable and efficient way to achieve them?
Conversation #1 is all about making sure people consider cause and effect at a high level. Our results flow from the quantity of our activity but they also flow from the quality of that activity. This is the question each salesperson needs to start with.
2. Where are the growth opportunities inside my existing customers?
Conversation #2 is all about analysing your existing customers and starting with the opportunities that are right in front of you. The question you need to be considering is “Where are the growth opportunities inside my existing customers?”. An adviser I worked with in Canada generated over 70% growth in revenue over a 12-month period by focusing purely on his existing client base. If you start with this question you often realise that this is where a significant percentage of your sales growth time should be allocated.
3. What type of people or companies am I MOST able to deliver value to AND capture my fair share of that value?
Conversation #3 is all about smarter targeting. So much sales and marketing energy is wasted on people and mediums that are never going to provide a return for your time, effort and energy. You must be doing more of the right activity with the right people at the right times if you want to achieve major sales growth without sacrificing your health, personal life and all the other things that should matter to you. The question to consider is “What type of people or companies am I MOST able to deliver value to AND capture my fair share of that value?”
There is no point in providing massive client value unless you are capturing your fair share. And there’s also no point in chasing a targeted person or company if you don’t have some sort of edge over your competitors in relation to delivering them value. A big hint on considering this question is make sure you do an analysis of all the customers you won business with last year and ask yourself why they chose you. Even better — go out and ask them!
4. What’s the most persuasive, efficient and effective way to attract and engage my ideal customers?
Conversation #4 is all about making sure you’ve developed strategies that make you confident in engaging your ideal customers. Figuring out who your ideal customer is happens in conversation #3 but that’s only half of the battle. You need to figure out how you are going to attract and engage these ideal customers to talk to you about working together. The question to consider is “What’s the most persuasive, efficient and effective way to attract and engage my ideal customers?” People need to know you, like you, need you and trust you if you want to attract them and engage them. This question is even more important if your analysis of existing customers is telling you that new business will need to be a major part of the growth strategy.
5. What are the most efficient and effective ways to convert interest into confirmed need and genuine opportunity into new customers?
Conversation #5 is all about improving your first meeting and proposal process. I see so many people and teams failing because they have what I call a “quoting” or “free consulting” mentality. The goal is not to provide lots of people with pricing and written solution plans. The goal is to win business and do it with the least amount of time, effort and energy. The question to consider at your Kick-Off and throughout the year is “What are the most efficient and effective ways to convert interest into confirmed need and genuine opportunity into new customers?”. I like to constantly remind people that there’s usually a 40% uplift in profit achieved from a 10% improvement in conversion.
6. Who can help me?
Conversation #6 is all about leveraging the credibility, networks and goodwill of others as part of your sales growth strategy. “Who can help me?” is a question not enough salespeople ask. One of the more powerful activities I like to do in Kick-Off events is digging deep into this question to highlight all the ways salespeople can grow through the efforts and introductions of others.
7. What can I do daily and monthly to maintain consistently high levels of motivation and confidence in executing my sales growth plan?
Conversation #7 is generally ignored, and it relates to sales confidence and motivation. I love the debate around whether competence is more important than confidence. I believe confidence is the number 1 determinant of success for salespeople and there’s an abundant amount of research supporting this. I’m not saying you don’t need to be competent. I’m just pointing out that a competent person that doesn’t have the confidence to do business development or close deals is probably not going to succeed. The question to consider for this conversation is “What can I do daily and monthly to maintain consistently high levels of motivation and confidence in executing my sales growth plan?”
8. What are the 3 most valuable leading or lagging indicators of success and how can I measure, monitor and hold myself accountable with these?
And finally, conversation #8 is about the thing we all know we need to be successful but we all don’t really like. That’s accountability and feedback on our reality. If we want to achieve a disciplined, effective and efficient approach to sales growth we need to be measuring, monitoring and paying attention to our results on a daily basis. The question here is “What are the 3 most valuable leading or lagging indicators of success and how can I measure, monitor and hold myself accountable with these?”
I remember working with a wonderful woman in New York who was struggling to make 20 calls per day. She knew they mattered and she believed in their value, but she was finding it difficult to make them happen. When she considered this question in a coaching session, we came up with a simple plan. She put 20 coins on her desk in the morning. After each call, she would put a coin in a money box. This visual accountability tool enabled her to achieve 35 calls a day as her average for the quarter after she started this and no surprises, her sales results dramatically improved.
So, those are 8 great conversations to consider including in your Sales Kick-Off.
If you’re doing a major kick-off, please speak to my team about having me along as a conference presenter and if you’re an individual salesperson or have a small sales team, come along to our Sales Kick-Off event on February 12th. All the details are on the website and there’s even a competition to win over $12000 worth of sales training.
Here’s to a better sales life and a better kick off for you and your people!