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Start the New Sales Year with a Bang: Seven Tips for Taking Your Business to the Next Level

January 28, 2016 - 7 Comments

boyThe beginning of each year is the perfect time to start fresh with a new outlook and approach for the coming months. Make the commitment to consistently do those things that differentiate you from your competitors.

Follow these tips to kick your sales up a notch in 2016:

  1. Analyze your customer and prospect base and schedule your time based on where you can have the biggest impact. Most of the time, 80 percent of your sales will come from less than 20% of your clients. Identify where those opportunities are and plan your time accordingly. Focus on the clients that really matter–the ones that can make your year and stop spinning your wheels with the little guys. Unless a prospect has been willing to provide you with some information, they’re only a cold prospect. Don’t let them take your time.
  1. Prioritize your existing customers as your best prospects. The probability of selling to an existing customer is 60 – 70%. The probability of selling to a new prospect is 5-20% (Marketing Metrics, 2013). Cross-selling and up-selling to your install base are your biggest opportunities for success. You’ve earned credibility there – leverage it.
  2. Establish a consistent communication cadence with your customers. Carve out time every single week to contact your existing customers and prospects. Establish a routine schedule for each prospect and stick to it (weekly, monthly or quarterly). Your customers will be much more likely to think of you first when the next opportunity arises if you are the one keeping in touch instead of your competitor. Use a mix of phone, mail and email to maintain contact.
  3. Become an inquisitive seller . Ask questions of your clients. Listen carefully. If you are talking more than 50 percent of the time, you are talking 10 times too much. Your job is to probe and understand what the prospect’s problems are so you provide solutions that are tailored to each one.  You will be the preferred vendor in a competitive economy if you are a good listener.
  4. Send hand-written notes. This may seem old fashioned, but it happens so seldom now that it can make a big impact. Send a thank you note after each purchase to let your customers know how much you appreciate them and to further develop the relationship.
  5. Get active in your business community. Join associations that dovetail with your best prospects’ interests. Volunteer for industry committees and network with this select group of high-value targets. Rise to the top of these organizations to generate deserved prestige in your industry. The orders will flow in. People like to buy from winners.
  6. Commit to being an ongoing learner. Don’t let your skills become stale. It’s important to continue to develop your skills and knowledge base on an ongoing basis to keep up with industry trends. Complete a minimum of ONE learning opportunity each quarter. This will allow you to maintain your relevancy and continue to bring added value to your customers.  Many training courses are free and available online or even on demand to fit within your schedule.

One great way to hone your selling skills is through the Partner Plus Softskills training webinars. These dynamic, consultant-led courses are scheduled monthly within every region and are free of charge to Partner Plus partners. Topics covered include “Building Effective Relationships,” “Business Outcome selling,” “Selling Cloud Services,” and “Better Listening.”

Check-out the courses available in your area at

So now is the time to re-invent yourself and take your business to the next level. Follow these tips and start your year off to a bang. What other tips do you have for making an impact? Let me know in the comments below.


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  1. Thank you, Karin, for reminding me of these points – I’m a great believer in No.7 but it can be challenging. It’s just too easy to be too busy doing your job to carve out time for professional development, but without it you run the risk of being left behind. Especially as the decision-maker moves from IT to the Line of Business – really understanding the issues that Marketing, HR or Operations are grappling with in order to identify appropriate solutions does not come easy.

    • Pippa, I couldn’t agree with you more. It’s so hard to fit in enablement sometimes. But you are also right about being left behind if you DONT take the time to continue your training. Even if you work in corporate America and don’t sell to clients, you really need to stay on top of the latest industry trends, available tools, business lessons…unfortunately, its just too easy to get caught up in the day to day and then suddenly 3-5-10 years go by and you realize you really haven’t kept up ! And with downsizings happening all over the globe, no one can afford to lack relevancy. Training helps keep you competitive.

  2. I really like your advice #6 because its easy to focus on your top customers and forgot about extending services to other communities.

    • Janice – thanks for the comment. I really think networking in your community is one of the best ways to build your brand and notoriety with prospective customers. I can personally vouch for this. I joined a few networking groups prior to coming to Cisco and then started a “Women in IT Peer Group” where I met some amazing people. Several of those people became customers, and later, one of the women I met recruited me to work at Cisco. So although networking can be time consuming, it should be considered an investment in your business and yourself. The rewards are tremendous!

  3. Thanks for the comments Electrician and Alat…Hand written notes seem to be a lost art these days. Its amazing how something so simple and easy to do can make such an impact on people…I think it’s a reflection of how fast paced everyone’s lives have become.

  4. Is a good tips on running a business such as send hand-written notes and Commit to being an ongoing learner. Either way it will be very helpful in developing your business. Thank you for this very useful tips.

  5. Great ideas as usual, especially the handwritten notes! I feel like this is almost always a forgotten aspect. Thanks for posting!