Salespeople have many things they need to remember. Unless they’re wildly unproductive, a typical salesperson is in contact with dozens of people throughout the day, and has to not only manage the moving parts of existing deals, but also juggle the administrative demands of the job (Spiro can help with that), while prospecting for new business, all while keeping their sales manager in the loop.
It’s not surprising then, that many salespeople feel as if they’re always playing catch-up, being reactive rather than proactive in their day-to-day activities. While this might be inevitable, it makes it more difficult to focus on what’s important, and leads to forgetting the critical aspects of what a salesperson should be doing.
Some of the things salespeople forget to do are inconsequential, while others can mean the difference between failure and success. Here are the four most important things salespeople forget to do:
1. Come up with a plan
While many sales organizations do provide scripts and some forms of structure, most (thankfully) don’t set a salesperson’s schedule, which means that most sellers are left to decide how they want to approach their day. The problem, however, is that too many salespeople simply wing it, and don’t approach their job with the same type of planning taken by an engineer, or a professional athlete.
The solution is to map out exactly what you want to achieve, then engineer a plan for how best to get there, before executing and adjusting the plan based on results. It might seem like a lot to ask of people who are already perpetually busy, but sometimes you need to slow down in order to go faster, and careful planning can pay dividends in the form of big commission checks. So figure out how many deals you need to close, how many (approximate) contacts you need to make, then structure your day around those goals. You will, of course, want to go into much greater detail, but any plan is better than no plan, so set aside some time and strategize — you’ll be glad you did.
2. Take care of themselves
These days, most salespeople understand they need to take better care of their physical and mental health, but far too many still deprive themselves of sleep, days off, exercise, and a healthy, nutritious diet. Part of it is bad habits, and part is the lack of free time. But in order to make it a true priority, salespeople need to understand that taking care of themselves will help them close more deals and make more money.
Numerous studies show that a good night’s sleep boosts productivity, that a good diet can improve your brain function, and that taking time off can help you perform at higher levels. Taking care of yourself, therefore, isn’t just about being kind to your body and minimizing the chances of early death and disease, it’s will also help you excel at your job, and allow you to become the very best version of yourself possible.
3. Listen for clues
Every salesperson knows that listening is just as — if not more — important than talking, and that asking a prospect-open ended questions can help people open up to you and help you uncover a prospect’s true needs. But in practice, even those who have taught themselves to keep quiet and let prospects speak oftentimes neglect to follow-through on the second part of the formula: paying attention to clues.
Clues are the things prospects will tell you that can show you exactly how to close their deal. These clues are usually small comments and asides about the things they like/don’t like about their current situation, and sometimes explicit statements about what they’re looking for. When listening to prospects, it’s important that salespeople believe them rather than trying to convince them of something they don’t care about. Let the prospect tell you what they want, then give it to them — much of the time, it’s as simple as that.
4. Prioritize new business
While distractions abound in a salesperson’s day-to-day, the best performers know that it always comes down to pipeline, pipeline, pipeline. This is easy enough to understand when you’re taking a 10,000-foot view of the role, but when you’re in the thick of it, putting out fires, updating the CRM, and trying to keep everybody happy, prospecting for new business can fall by the wayside, even though it’s literally the most important thing you can work on.
A good way to get around this is to set aside dedicated time to prospect for new business every single day, no matter what. This means that even if your manager wants you to work on something else, even if a deal in process is crumbling, and even if you stayed up all night watching Breaking Bad reruns, you have to do your hour (or more) of daily prospecting. Once you turn prospecting for new business into a minimum daily requirement, you’ll see your pipeline filling up with opportunities, and you’ll have prioritized the one thing salespeople should never, ever forget to do.
Related: Before Contacting Your Next Prospect, Do These 5 Things