Are you playing it “safe” with your sales results?

The theme of this blog is largely surrounding the aspect of safety in the workplace.  But, it’s not what you think!  We’d like to suggest that something you shouldn’t play it safe with is sales.  So many individuals and companies play it safe when it comes to making more sales happen.  What does that mean?  It could mean that you aren’t striving to double the size of your organization.  For some, it means that you don’t have goals that you shoot for relating to sales.  For others, it might mean that you are taking on business, are busy, but perhaps you aren’t taking on the right type of business.  Maybe it isn’t for enough money.  Maybe it’s too small.  Maybe it doesn’t hit your sweet spot.  Whatever the case may be, don’t play it safe.

As we approach a new year, it becomes important to plan for the future, especially when it comes to growth, sales, and profit.  We teach organizations how to track, what to track and how to shoot for more.  One of the planning pieces an organization can put into place now is planning where their sales come from.  Depending on the strengths of your organization, perhaps the growth could come from increasing the number of referrals you receive.  If you are used to collecting a sizable amount of business through referrals each year, why not concentrate on how to “get” more.  How do you do this?  Well, for many, referrals are simply “word of mouth” and come in sporadically and unpredictably.  Do you know that we have clients that plan out how many referrals they will receive each year?  They get fairly accurate with their expectation by tracking.  They track how many times they ASK and RECEIVE.

As you probably have already figured out, we teach people how to ASK for others that they could do business with, not to simply wait until it happens.  Experts believe that the majority of the population will give referrals to people they trust if they simply are ASKED.  It’s true of me, for sure.  If a client asks for a referral, I usually respond with, “Sure.  Let’s talk about it”.  Why didn’t I do it on my own?  Because, like many, I’m very busy.  It is simply out of mind without someone asking me.  But, once they do, I make it a priority.  Find a way to ask.  As a side note, I am a big believer that in order to gain more we have to give more.  There’s a law of reciprocity that definitely exists.  Look to give more referrals and watch how it helps your own business grow.

Let’s go back to the company that plans for referrals.  If they know that by asking 10 good customers, they have received 3 referrals in the past, it doesn’t take a genius to figure out what might happen if they ask 100 people for referrals.  It becomes an odds game.

Another way to grow is to seek larger opportunities.  If we want to grow our business, double it or even quadruple it, we should be careful not to take on too many small projects.  It will cause us to run out of capacity, which hurts us when a good opportunity shows up and we’re not as attentive to it because we don’t have time.  Recently, I came across two salespeople working for the same organization.  They had worked there about the same amount of time, were in similar territories, and sold the same services.  However, one of them was earning significantly more than the other.  Why?  It was all about the type of business they each took.  The higher earner was distinctly taking on the “right” business, and saying “no” to all the others.  The lower earner was saying, “yes” to everything, thinking to himself, “well, a buck is a buck”.  It takes guts to say, “no” to someone, but it is often the right thing to do for our business.  Don’t play it safe, learn to say, “no”, more.

Although we could talk about a number of other ways that salespeople, “play it safe”, the final suggestion for this post is this: don’t play it safe when it comes to people.  Let me explain.  Most will agree that some of the best salespeople out there today also have the best relationships with people.  Their circle of influence is big, and the people they hang out with are winners.  By building our network of influential people, we give ourselves a much better chance of growing our business, and with the right type of business.  Look for ways to meet these people, whether it is through a charity that you might enjoy, a high-level networking group, or by attending a few big events that these people might attend.  If you want to do business with more “eagles” and less “turkeys”, you have to spend more time with “eagles”.  Get it?  I read something recently that said we are the average of the five people we spend the most time with.  Wow!  If that’s the case, I certainly would want to make sure my group is successful.  Measure your own relationships and try to figure out who you should be spending more time with, and less.  Don’t just let it happen.  Decide to do it and do something about it.

Playing it safe can cause more mediocre results than one might think.  It starts with making the decision to do more, be more and produce stronger results.  Getting ourselves out of comfort zones and breaking through uncomfortable barriers and bad habits can be difficult, but so important to our business growth.  Learn to take some calculated risks, don’t play it safe with your sales, and you’ll have an incredible new year.  Now go out and make it happen!