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Professional Selling Skills: Survey Results Regarding 2009 Issues

Number 1 Issue Being Faced in 2009

I’m not surprised by these results, although I am concerned that “keeping your pipeline full” scored as high as it did. This tells me that salespeople have conceded they’re going to lose some of the customers in 2009 that they had in 2008.

If keeping the pipeline full is the number one issue, salespeople must have an excellent prospecting process. Dreading the thought of prospecting is always one of the top items I hear about from salespeople, thus they have a hard time staying motivated when forced to do it.

My recommendation for anyone trying to keep their pipeline full is to do the following items on a daily basis:

  1. Spend 10 minutes a day motivating yourself by actively engaging in a sales audio program or a sales web program as a means of working to improve your sales process.
  2. Devote a fixed amount of time each day to prospecting at each level of your pipeline. Although it would take too long for me to fully explain this, in general you need to make sure you’re working each type of prospect you have. Too many salespeople get into trouble by only going after the easy leads and they soon find themselves staring at zero sales.
  3. Always look for the positive in everything.  Don’t allow yourself to become discouraged just because you have a bad day, week,  month, or even quarter.  Things take time and staying positive is an essential component of your sales process.
  4. Follow-through on everything!  Many sales are lost simply because the salesperson failed to follow through in a timely manner.
  5. Continually strive to differentiate yourself and understand the true value of what you’re selling.
  6. Never forget to close the sale on every call. If you can’t close the sale with an order, you can at least close with an agreement as to what the next steps will be. (Did you notice how this step supports #4?)
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