SALES & MARGINS
From a personal income perspective, the last two weeks of December were extremely important to me. The reason is because it is during these two weeks that I decide how much I plan to earn in 2017.
Like many LBM Journal readers, I am paid on straight commission. If I don’t sell my services, I earn no income, so I have found it wise to spend several days laying out my game plan for the coming year.
I have three primary sources of income: the first is made up of my current customers from whom I expect to receive repeat training and consulting business. The second source is made up of the prospective customers I expect to do seminar and consulting business with in 2017. The third source is made up of the sale of training products such as books, DVDs, and CDs.
My planning process begins by making a list of each group of business owners and managers I plan to concentrate on during the coming year. The first group—my current customers—always make up the lion’s share of my business, so based on my experience with each, I attempt to predict how much business we will do together in 2017.
Also like many of you, I don’t sell my current customers every service they purchase, so I’ve found it to be time well spent to jot down beside each of my current customers the names of the services they buy, but not from me. Next, I go back and jot down beside each existing customer what I believe is preventing me from getting the portions of each of these customers business I am not currently providing. Next, I attempt to come up with a strategy to get the business I am losing to a competitor.
Because I have a relationship with my existing customers, I find it a lot easier to sell more to my current customers than to break relationships my prospective customers have with their current service providers. I believe relationships are the most important factor in selling. The better the relationship I have with my current customers, the higher the odds that a competitor won’t succeed in taking business away from me.
My prospective customers are more of a challenge precisely because one or more of my competitors have an established relationship with them and to begin doing business with my prospects, I must interrupt one of these relationships.
I know from experience that I will begin receiving orders from my prospects when we have begun a dialogue and our relationship advances to the next level. So to project how much business I will receive from my prospects in 2017 requires me to make a judgment call. To predict how much business I will receive from my prospects, I use a percentage to speculate on the odds of success. I might speculate that the odds are 50% that I will sell one prospect and perhaps 90% I’ll sell another.
You and I are both very fortunate in that our raises become effective when we do. If it is to be, it is up to you and me. We are in control of our destiny if we keep our eye on our goals and work our plan.
In the final analysis, I believe our existing customers and our prospects must perceive more value in the services we provide them than they perceive in the services our competitors provide. I encourage each of you to decide how you will increase your personal value to your customers and prospects this year.
About the Author
Author Bill Lee has nearly 40 years of experience in the construction supply industry. A seminar leader and consultant, he is the author of two books: Gross Margin and 30 Ways Managers Shoot Themselves in the Foot. You can reach Bill at BLee3Paris@aol.com, www.BillLeeOnLine.com, or 800.277.7888.Follow on Twitter More Content by Bill Lee