Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Introduction to Personal Branding

Learn what Personal Branding can do for you and how to build it.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Your own sales plan

At the start of the year you are assigned a sales target. You got to put all your efforts in obtaining that figure. At first you seem to have a whole year to reach it, but if you don't organize and plan your work, you'll probably regret at year end.

That organization is what I call the sales plan. The sales plan is NOT just for business or sales departments; the concept also applies to the professional responsible to make the sales.

What we will look with the sales plan is to determine the number of activities / tasks to do each day / week / month to achieve the objective. As it is impossible to know to whom, what and when we are to going to sell, we will use statistics to measure our daily activity and have a scale that allows us to know how we're doing and if we need to assign more time to some activities and less to others.

The first thing you do is translate that economic data into something that allows you to organize the activities necessary to reach the goal. What is the average price of a sale of your products / services? If the prices of the "projects" can vary greatly, you could create categories of projects, including: large, medium and small. Then you'd have to answer another question: "What is the ratio of sales between the different categories?" and "What is the average price of projects in each category?"

Say, as an example, the ratio of the categories is: 60% of the projects are small projects with a value of 1.000, 30% are medium projects having a value of 5,000 and 10% are large projects with a value of 20,000.

Now we calculate a weighted average price to obtain the mix price of your projects. The method of calculating the weighted average is: 60% x 1000 + 30% x 5000 + 10% x 20000 = 600 + 1500 + 2000 = 4,100.

This means that the projects mix price is 4,100.

The next step is to determine the amount of sales you have to do. If your goal is 100,000, then divide that aim between the price mix, i.e. 100,000 / 4,100 = 24.39. In other words, this year you would have to make 25 sales to reach our goal. If statistics are true, you should make about 15 (60% of 25) small sales, 7.5 (30%) average sales and 2.5 (10%) big sales.

If we do a simple calculation without taking into account seasonality, we have that would require a little more than 2 sales per month, or a little over 6 quarterly sales.

Excellent, you already have an initial idea of the magnitude of the work you'll need to do. At this time, you know that at mid year you must have 6 sales. If that is not the case, you should analyze very closely what you have been doing and determine the changes needed to improve your performance.

Now let's try to identify the number of tasks that you will need to do to reach that number of sales. For that we need to work with the sales process: what are the activities that comprise it? Let's use a simple process:

The first step of the process is making cold calls. Once you contact the person you will request a meeting to present the product and make them to ask for the offer. The third step is to present the offer and close the sale. For each of these activities is necessary to determine your success ratios. In other words, how many calls you have to do to get a meeting? How many customers you have to visit to get one who asks you for anoffer? How many deals have to be present for a sale? Again, this sales process is very simple, but it is just an example.

To keep the model simple, we assume that success ratios are the same for all three categories (large projects, medium and small) we have identified.

The table below illustrates the information discussed in the preceding paragraphs, including the likelihood of success for each phase. Those odds of success are specific to each vendor and product. The values that I placed in the table are invented and should not be taken as a reference:

Success fact
Cold call Set meeting 25% One in 4 calls you succeed
Meeting Ask for a Offer 50% One out of 2 asked for an offer
Submit Offer Accept the offer 80% Four out of 5 offers are accepted.
Sale made

The next step is to calculate, starting from the last step, the amount of activities necessary for achieving the target, i.e. 25 sales. The reasoning is this: If I have to achieve 4 to 5 offers sales (80%), how I do to get 25 sales?, The result is 31.25. This result is rounded up, giving 32. In other words, To make 25 sales at year end, it is necessary to submit 32 offers.

Follow this reasoning to the rest of the activities and get a table as follows:

Cold call Set meeting 25% 214
Meeting Ask for a Offer 50% 64
Submit Offer Accept the offer 60% 32
Sale made 25

You now have a guide to measure the amount of activities you do to achieve your annual goal.

Now it is time to take those amounts to a timeline. To keep the model simple, I will not consider seasonality, i.e. taking into account that the level of activity is not the same in all months. For this example assume that we work all year and all months are equal. For example, also assume that all months are 4 weeks.

How long may take each phase? Let's say the entire process of selling, on average, takes 2 months, which requires 1 week reaching a meeting, 3 weeks to be asked for the offer and 4 weeks to get signed.

This means that of the 12 months of the year, we need to make the 214 calls in 10 months, since the processes that are started from that time can not be closed within the year (remember that the sales process requires 2 months). So every month we must do 22 (21.4) calls.

Similarly we continue with other activities: the deadline for the 64 meetings is 10 months + a week, and to present the 32 deals in 11 months. The result is the following:

Cold call Set meeting 25% 214 1 10 months 22 (21.4)
Meeting We offer claims 50% 64 3 10m +1 s 7 (6.2)
Submit Offer Accept the offer 60% 32 4 11m 3 (2.9)
Sale made 25 8 12m

This chart is telling you that if you want to reach your goal, you must perform 22 calls a month (once daily) and achieve 7 meetings per month (plus or minus 2 per week) and close 3 offers a month. These are your short term goals.

Perfect! You can organize, from you first day, to achieve your goal. I recommend you do all these calculations with a Spreadsheet, so you can make the necessary adjustments based on your actual experience, for example: changing your odds of success and the times, if you find out that the initial ones are not valid.

With a little common sense you can adjust the model to take into account the level of activities of each month, include your vacation and even you may work with eleven month, instead of 12, providing a cushion of emergency.

There is only one more thing to do: implement it.

Good luck.

Design your future

Many people live their life as it comes, things happen and they react. Surely your life is full of emotion; they never know where they go. It is as if they were in the middle of the Atlantic in a sailboat, not knowing where they are going or when they arrived. In particular, the latter will be difficult to determine because they don’t know what they want and have no way of knowing when they find it.

To succeed it is important to know what success is.

What do you want?

If you can describe what success means to you is very important that you put a date, which determines a time frame to achieve it, because if you don’t do it, it is just a wish, instead of an objective.

How it looks like?

The next step is to imagine how it looks like to be there. You need to see yourself in that moment in time, describe how you feel, what are you doing, who are with you and how do they feel and think about you. What have you achieve to reach there. Enjoy that feeling, live the moment.

This experience is what will motivate you to keep going when obstacles appears in your way, because the truth is that it will be very hard. Many unexpected things will happen. If your vision is not strong enough, probably that is not what you really want to achieve.

It is very important that the description of what you consider success, along with the description of everything surrounding that success, must be put it in writing. Write it in present and in first person. Write from the heart as if you were already there. Write as if you are telling someone you love how to be successful. Write to motivate enough that person who is willing to fight and face all the obstacles he/she will find.

What need to happen?

Now you have to identify things that must happen to become so successful.

What are the intermediate steps between now and then?

What studies do you have to have?

What do you need to be specializing in?

Where do you should work?

What group of people you need to know?

What community of people you should to be with?

What techniques you must develop?

Now you should write down that list of activities and give it a chronological order. Describe each of these activities so that someone can understand what you mean. Try to quantify any value: the amount of money you intend to gain, the weight you want to have, and so on. Finally assign to each activity a time when you should make reached, in a way that the ultimate goal could be achieved on the date shown at the beginning.

It is very important that the dates are realistic. One can not become a nuclear physicist in 3 weeks. Neither is much good pressure as it can be demotivating. Try placing achievable dates and reset dates that need to change, even the date of final success, so that everything makes sense.

I recommend you write it on a computer, so you can modify by adding new activities without problems.

Start now

Finally, take the nearest activity and split it on more specific tasks that you can approach the culmination of that activity. Put completion dates for those tasks.

When you're ready you've planned your future. This does not mean that magically all will go according to plan. What this represents is a guide plan to achieve what you want. First of all, you know what you want and have the motivation to achieve it. You know the steps you have to give and to give them motivation. Even closer you described tasks, tasks you can do right now and will approach the success you wanted.

When you have an obstacle or that you have to make a decision, rely on your plan and analyze the situation. If changes are needed to plan, you can do and then adjusts the dates. But try not to give up very soon. Read carefully as your success, relive that moment, use the descriptions added to the plan, which should motivate you.

It may be the case, reviewing your plan, that the goal no longer motivates you enough. What will you do then? Change it! It's your future. Remember that the plan is a guide to help you reach what you want. Again, “help you”.

Remember, it's very important to describe the success you want ... Do you really wanted? What are you willing to do to achieve it? Are you willing to sacrifice your time? Sacrifice your friends? ... if you are not willing to sacrifice anything, then perhaps you've focused your success or poorly described. Try again.

I think it's much better that each one of us to design our future and work to achieve our objective, rather than waking up every day to see what fate has prepared for you.

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