Have you ever felt like you are already behind and it’s only the beginning of the year? Every January countless sales producers receive their new quota and immediately feel like they are behind. For some people, this can be almost debilitating. For others, it sparks the drive to succeed … at least for the moment. Somewhere over the next few weeks, or even days, after the initial and momentary motivation, there comes that sinking feeling. After all, if you were already fully capable of delivering the new higher number, wouldn’t you already be doing it?? Reread that question a few times. Now read it again. Then consider the popular definition of insanity, “doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.”

If you met your 2016 goal, you probably already have most of what you need to succeed in 2017. If you fell short, there may be a little (or a lot) more work ahead. Regardless of whether you fell short or exceeded the goal, there is a simple method to jump starting your new year and grabbing that critical early success. After all, nothing drives future success like current success. Newton’s First Law of Motion states, ”An object in motion continues in motion with the same speed and in the same direction unless acted upon by an unbalanced force.” In other words, if you can get early growth, you will keep growing. The opposite is equally true. If you only do what you have been doing and not seeing the growth you will need, and you keep doing the same thing, well, you get the picture.

Let’s look at a simple method for rapidly jump starting your 2017. In general, the easiest, least costly and most effective way to increase sales is to ensure that you have thoroughly mined your existing customer base – striving to find ways that you can deliver more value and therefore be rewarded with new revenue. Remember, this is a “jump start” program that is only one program in your arsenal, not the entire set of strategies and tactics for the full year. This should be designed as a beginning of the year, blitz-style campaign with specific beginning and end dates.

Customer Name Currently Sell Currently Buy Not From Me Aren’t Buying But Should When Will I Approach
         
         

In the matrix above, identify what each customer currently buys from us, what they are buying from competitors, what they aren’t buying from anyone but should be considering, and when we will approach them. It’s not a complicated strategy but it is rarely deployed. Why?

There are three primary roadblocks to jump starting the year by mining the existing customer base.

  1. FALSE BELIEF - We have a tendency to believe that our biggest customers already buy everything from us.
  2. CHOSEN IGNORANCE - We don’t want to admit, even to ourselves, that we don’t really know what they are buying from a competitor or what they should be considering and aren’t.
  3. IRRATIONAL COMFORT – We get caught up in the routine of what we have been doing and don’t commit to doing something different. We know that what we are doing won’t get the results we want but we chose to stay busy, never find the time, don’t have what we need … (insert any reason for not doing something different and outside of your comfort zone) as opposed to growing (which always requires us to experience levels of discomfort).

I recall a sales call I made with a dealer’s sales rep some time ago. As we prepared for the call, I asked how much of that customer’s business they received. The answer was the usual, “We have almost everything”. After the meeting, the rep now had opportunities that were multiples of their current sales level. From “almost everything” to “a fraction”. What happened? Before the meeting started, we made a commitment to each other that we would look specifically for three things. Subsequently, we moved past false belief (“I own this account”), through chosen ignorance (“I haven’t talked to them about ___________ but I know they aren’t into that”) and then had to address some irrational comfort.

How did we move past all three of the key roadblocks to growth? We created a 10 second sales call plan that said we would do not leave without accomplishing one of these three goals:

  1. Look for a new piece of business.
  2. Look to move an existing piece forward.
  3. Look for someone who can help us do 1 or 2 above.

If you are looking for a great 2017 and want to prime that pump with a little jump start, try filling out the matrix, being aware of the roadblocks and focusing in on the three goals.

Brad Roderick
Brad Roderick

is executive vice president of InkCycle Inc. He is an industry veteran with more than 25 years of sales and marketing experience. He is an active member of the imaging industry as an author, trainer and speaker. Contact him at broderick@inkcycle.com.