It doesn’t matter what you sell — HVAC equipment, parts and supplies, or women’s shoes — tracking is a key component for any successful salesperson.
You might say, “Yeah, but my company already has reports that track my performance.”
Are you really going to rely on reports that are probably made up by some non-salespeople to help propel you forward?
You will also find that a lot of tracking or reports focus entirely on the wrong set of numbers. The key to personal success in sales is for you to take responsibility and decide for yourself what is valuable — what are the indicators that will help determine your success rate.
The old school way of thinking is that volume will determine success. It is the classic upside-down funnel model of sales.
The funnel will show that the more calls you make, the more appointments you will get set, which will turn into more leads, which allows you to quote more, which will lead you to even more sales.
Done With The Funnel
We live in the information age, so scrap this way of tracking numbers.
Unfortunately, you will find that most companies cannot make this paradigm shift, so you may have to take it upon yourself to track what’s really important.
It isn’t a volume game. I had an old boss who was like this and was tied to making more and more sales calls. He was wise enough to let me do my thing, which worked out well for everyone.
A salesperson can run seven to even 10 sales calls a day, every day, and I will run less than half that many but outsell them by a mile. I have done this throughout my career. How is this possible?
I do not run a sales call just for the sake of saying that I ran another sales call that particular day. I bring some sort of value to all the sales calls that I go on. It isn’t about the volume of calls/visits; it’s about the quality of the sales call.
I am not showing up to check in or to see what’s going on. I am showing them a better way to place orders, helpful ways to better manage their techs, inventory control tools, or offering various sales techniques.
The point is, I am there to provide value, not donuts. The salesperson who provides the most value wins.
Everyone sells furnaces, air conditioning units, gas valves, etc. You can buy these products from any number of supply houses all over town, but you need the person who can help you to be more effective and efficient. If you can help your customers to become more profitable, you’re going to win the day. How knowledgeable are you, and have you learned how to become a trusted advisor to your customer?
With that in mind, I don’t feel the need to run X number of leads per week or to quote X amount of dollars. What’s important is the amount of sales I bring in.
The more important number is really not even the amount of sales, but the amount of gross profit dollars and the gross profit percent I can bring to my company. Sales will not buy you a cup of coffee, but enough gross profit dollars can buy you the entire coffee shop!
If I make a ton of gross profit dollars but at a very low gross margin, the company will not make any real money. The volume of sales to make the low margins will usually mean hiring additional sales support staff, whether that is more counter help or people in the warehouse, but more overhead will be needed to handle the volume. The company will get bigger but not more profitable.
What needs to be tracked is: Am I really selling the right product mix to my customers? Do my customers only buy the inexpensive, low-margin products, or am I able to teach my customer to upsell to their clients?
I try to pick the top-tier customers who already understand the value of upselling and then provide them some additional assistance. Working with smart customers who already get it is a key; they produce more gross margin dollars and take up less of your time.
Do You Like Your Customers?
I try to pay attention not only to what my customers are buying but to what are they not buying from me. You can’t sell everyone everything, but I sure as heck try. You need to be a one-stop shop making things easier for your customers. Convenience is king.
I do track how often I touch all of my top accounts. I need to be present, and they need to feel that I am there for them whether they call after hours or whether they can only meet with me first thing in the morning.
It is good to have a strong working relationship, and it’s even better if you are friends. If all things are equal, you will always do business with the person you like the most. I am never fake or phony; people can tell, plus that’s just not me.
I find that most of my customers have similar likes and dislikes as me. If you look hard enough, you will find smart, likeable customers, and you will not only sell more, but you will enjoy your job all the more.
It all starts with providing value and flawless customer service. Everything else branches off from that.
Track the right things — gross profit dollars, gross profit percentage off the different products you sell. Make sure you are tracking how often you see your top customers, what are you selling to them, and what are you not selling. Forget trying to run so many sales calls per day.
Slow down, analyze, and do it right.