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Gerry Weinberg & Associates, Inc. | Southfield, Michigan

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You have an inventory to take, a phone call to make, and a report to write. But instead of diving in and getting the tasks completed, you put them off. “I’ll get to them soon,” you tell yourself. But your definition of “soon” and Webster’s definition have little in common. Can you relate to these situations…or perhaps other recurring situations of similar thought and behavior?

After Thanksgiving, many of us sales people feel fat and happy, and decide to pull off the throttle and take some down time. After all, nobody really wants to talk to sales people, make decisions, or think about expenditures. Right? Wrong! The little known secret is that the holiday season is a fantastic time to assemble a powerful framework that builds your business, and sets you up for a great first quarter.

The transition from employee to manager is tricky in any position, but it can be especially challenging in the sales department. The skill sets are different, and the boundaries can get blurred in sales. Whether you are currently a sales rep looking to advance your career into sales management or a newly minted manager trying to make the transition to leader, there are some important things to keep in mind as you evolve from one role into another. 

The last quarter of the calendar is both relieving because the end is in sight, but also foreboding for many sales teams if sales targets have not yet been met. An incredible amount of revenue exchanges hands in the last quarter, and many companies know that it can make the difference between a good fiscal year or a bad one, especially in product sales. Managers are regularly tested to find ways to push teams over that last mile. 

The best and fastest way to get a better team and better results is to become a better manager. Investing time, money, and energy into building your leadership skills can show a return-on-investment for the rest of your life. 

Whenever I think about my first days in sales, I always remember my second sales meeting. The meeting began with the usual pep talk by the management. If you have attempted more than two sales meetings in your life, you know exactly what was said. “Sales are good…but they could be better. Our competition has a new product, but we can sell around it.” And so on for the next 30 minutes.

As the Holidays approach and the year ends, businesses are preparing for the final push to ensure that their organizations reach their annual sales goals. It can be a time of considerable stress on sales teams and managers trying to reach the highest possible numbers and reap the benefits for themselves and their business.

Most people who spend a little time searching on the Internet or in a bookstore can quickly find a guide on how to write a business plan. However, just following these templates doesn’t guarantee that the business plan produce will be successful or even good. A successful business plan needs quite a bit more to actually be useful and even more to be functional and successful. As the elements come together, if done correctly, the most important component of success will come from the business owner and leadership versus the company itself.

Most managers wait until the end of the year to reflect on their sales team’s accomplishments (as well as the roadblocks, speed bumps, and detours encountered), analyze their findings, and identify areas for improvement in the coming year. That’s a good strategy. But, why wait until the end of the year. 

These days, salespeople get asked to participate in numerous prospecting activities that include group networking events. Often times, it can be difficult to translate these types of events into actual dollars. Networking can be an effective way to capture business and increase your brand's awareness and should be a part of any salesperson's healthy behaviors.