Where are you going in 2004? Is a European trip being planned? Is it a two-week family vacation to the mountains? Just where are you headed and what are your plans? I ask this because, if you're going to create a successful trip, you probably are already looking into when it will take place, how much investment it will take and informing those who will be involved in making your venture a success.
Now, let's switch gears and focus on where you're going in 2004 with your sales goals. Are you creating a plan? The answer is, probably not. Most salespeople don't, however, those who do have a plan tend to be the most successful.
If you want to be an achiever, here are some ideas you can implement in creating your selling road map to raise the probability of your success in 2004.
Dollars and Skills
How many dollars in sales do you need to generate to be successful? In our company, I feel the threshold for success for our sales/ designers is $700,000; anything less than that is mediocre, and unless there is a lot of repetitive (cookie cutter) business, above this level makes for a pretty heavy work load. You need to find the numbers that work for you.
For a road map, my $700,000 breaks down to a little more than $58,000 per month, or approximately $15,000 per week. Or does it? In our market, we have seasons that affect the building industry and, therefore, not all of our months are equal opportunities for sales.
Therefore, some months in our plan have to be weighted relative to the seasons involved.
Another way to measure success and create the sales goals on your road map is to use gross margin dollars. I like this better because my designers/salespeople are paid on gross margin dollars created rather than on gross sales. If our hypothetical salesperson were operating at 35 percent gross margin, he or she would have to be creating $5,250 per week in gross margin. I know this is just math but, in order to be successful, there needs to be a strong awareness of your sales goals every quarter, month and week to ensure you are keeping on track.
Depending upon your employment situation, your sales goals may be established for you. In other situations, you may have control or, at least, input in establishing the goal. In either event, you must believe that the goal is possible to obtain or your psyche will keep you from reaching it.
Conversely, if you believe it's a stretch of your skill to obtain the goal but you believe you can, you will be on your way to success. In creating your 2004 goals, always make sure the focus is quantifiable in dollars. The closer you can get the measurement to profit dollars left after all expenses, the better the measurement.
In today's marketplace, the kitchen and bath industry has so many choices, and the technical knowledge requirements are so great, it is becoming difficult to keep abreast and acquire the necessary knowledge for success. In addition, the consumer has an increased level of knowledge and is more challenging today than ever. I believe this will keep increasing. The Internet, changes in distribution patterns and cultural change could all be factors. In any case, it establishes challenges on the human relationship side that we might not be prepared to deal with. If customer communication and relationship breakdowns are a problem for you, put elevating skills into your 2004 plan for success.
You may have other areas where skill levels must be raised to achieve your goals. For example, how are your computer design skills? Is it the software or the hardware that's giving you the most problems? Or, is your lack of knowledge keeping you from maximizing your computer design abilities? If this is a problem area, you should review your software or hardware for its effectiveness for your business, and part of your plan for 2004 should include the proper computer training. Too often, we put off acquiring or raising skill levels, which are important in the big picture of reaching our goals.
I know the industry is tough to keep pace with, but the burden
of keeping up is on each individual's shoulders. If you wait for
the boss, the company, the manufacturers' representatives or the
manufacturer to make sure you are given the information and
training you believe you need, you may have a long wait. Skill
upgrading is, for the most part, a do-it-yourself program. If you
do get assistance from other sources, take full advantage, because
it means others believe you are important to them and their
Another factor to help secure your 2004 success is ensuring that your selling tools are in good order. Do you have a discontinued display that needs to be changed? Are you lacking a full sample set of your solid surface line? Are you missing door samples, stain samples, hardware, literature, etc.? Sales tools that are missing or not current have a negative effect on your ability to sell. When you are plotting your road map to success, make sure that you have a plan to keep selling tools in order.
Just as we try to understand our prospect's needs by asking who, what, where, when and why, take a moment and ask these easy questions about your selling plans for 2004. The answers, I believe, are easy.
WHO: Who is responsible for the plan for
success? You are!
WHAT: What needs to be done? Clear and concise goals must be created and worked toward.
WHERE: Share your goals with your supervisor, family and friends, and keep them in front of you for constant awareness.
WHEN: The time is now, and follow up should be weekly, monthly and quarterly.
WHY: Because you deserve to be successful.
I challenge you to set goals for 2004, goals for dollars produced, skills improvement and employing the right sales tools. If you do this process correctly, next year you will have the time and money to go Europe, the mountains or wherever you want to go. Without a plan and objectives to be accomplished, the results are an unknown.