March '15

For the Business of Apparel Decorating

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2 2 | PRINTWEAR M A RC H 20 1 5 with hot prospects most frequently, at least week- ly. You may decide to call interested prospects less frequently and maybe once a month or so for qualified prospects. Regardless of how often you choose to follow up, invest your selling time appropriately and proportionately. Concentrating the bulk of your activities on any one part of the pipeline will cause greater peaks and valleys in new account production. IT'S ALL ABOUT THE NUMBERS Let's say you've coached and developed your sales team into becoming consummate professionals— they make high-quality sales calls and allocate their selling time with aplomb and precision. But they only make three sales calls a week. Ugh, right? Every salesperson has his or her own close ratio, usually based on experience, time with the com- pany or in the territory, and motivation to sell. It's easy to calculate one's close ratio—simply add the number of sales calls made in a given period and divide by the number of new accounts closed in the same time period. For example, if a new sales rep makes 72 sales calls in the first six months and closes one new account, the close ratio would be 72-to-1. Con- versely, if the superstar sales professional makes 72 sales calls in one quarter and closes six new pieces of business, the close ratio would be 12-to-1. I've found that the average outside decorated apparel sales representative has a close ratio of between 25-to-1 and 40-to-1. Therefore, if the goal of a particular sales- person with a known close ratio of 30-to-1 is to bring in two new accounts each month, he or she must schedule, plan, and make at least 60 sales calls to reach the quota of 180 calls in three months. When you count the number of days in a year a sales rep has to sell and tend to the territory—subtracting for weekends, holidays, and emergencies— there's, at best, 220 days available. That's 55 days per quarter. For the aforementioned sales rep, it stands to reason that he or she has averaged more than 3.25 sales calls each available selling day to improve chances of closing six new accounts this quarter. The numbers are what they are—just as the ability to make high-quality sales calls and allocate one's time is what it is. It's strictly up to the individual sales rep. There's no magic wand that instantly makes new accounts fall from the sky. It takes persever- ance, awareness of one's abilities and areas for improvement, practice, and a desire to be better tomorrow than you were yester- day. Good luck. Your Personal Business Trainer | | | | pw POST- SALES CALL EVALUATION When I've joined sales reps or listened in on phone calls or Web conferences, I like to facilitate a post-call debrief by asking the following questions: • What do you think is the decision-maker's strongest unmet need? Any hot-button issues? • Today, what is his or her dominant profes- sional need—perfor- mance, finance, or image—and personal need, such as rec- ognition, authority, affiliation, or security? Is that different from previous meetings? • What new information did you learn from the meeting? What suspi- cions did you confirm? • What did you do well and what could have been done better or differently? How closely did you follow your precall plan and how did your planning help you prepare for the call? • What is your next step and objective for the following sales call?

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