A Thirteen-Week Personal Sales Development Plan

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  1. Week One | Study the Iron Laws of Success: There are common attributes that all successful people possess. By reading, studying, thinking about, and applying your efforts and energies towards improving these attributes in yourself, you can become more successful at sales (and just about anything else). Read these posts, especially the second link under each category. Then, write your plan to implement one new action based on these attributes over the next ten weeks.

  2. Week Two | Study the Iron Laws of Sales: There are skills and attributes that all great salespeople possess, in addition to the Iron Laws of Success. The more you build these skills, the more successful you will be in sales. If you have been in sales a long time, it is worth revisiting these to work on the ones where your mastery isn’t what it could be. Read the posts here. If you are short on time, skip to the second link under each category. Then, write your plan to work on one of these skills each week over the next ten weeks.

  3. Week Three | Stop Hitting the Snooze Button on Your Life: Turns out, you get a lot more done when you are awake than when you are sleeping. Who knows, your competitor might be out of bed working on your dream clients while you are sleeping. Set your alarm to rise one hour earlier. Then, do something to improve yourself during that hour (read, write, exercise, whatever).

  4. Week Four | Get a Bigger Vision of Yourself: Sometimes you have to stop and decide if you are who you might be. Spend this week working on your vision of who you are as a salesperson. Make a list of your goals, your dreams, and your vision. Make a list of the things that you must stop doing in order to reach those goals.

  5. Week Five | Make a List Dream of Clients: If you haven’t made a list of the clients for whom you can do breath-taking, mind-blowing work, now is the time. Dig out all of the names of the dream clients that are locked up tight by your competitors, all of the dream clients that you have lost in the past, and all of the dream clients you have believed were beyond your capabilities. Make the decision to work on these clients before you do anything else this week—and every week.

  6. Week Six | Write Your Nurture Plan: If you are going to win the big deal dream clients on the list you made last week, you are going to have to nurture those relationships over time. Take time this week to write your plan to nurture these relationships. Answer the question as to how you are going to create value for them now so that you can earn a chance to compete for and win their business later. Then, start nurturing them.

  7. Week Seven | Clean Up Your Pipeline: Your pipeline is full of client names that are not really opportunities. Review these company names and compare your progress with your sales process. Remove all of the nonsense that doesn’t belong in your pipeline, even if it makes your pipeline look weak. You can work on rebuilding that pipeline over the coming weeks.

  8. Week Eight | Learn to Make a Better Cold Call: If your pipeline and sales results are not what you want them to be, you need to be more effective at prospecting. The fastest way to schedule appointments is to cold call (I know some of you don’t like hearing this, but those who succeed know it to be true). Spend this week working on your cold calling skills. Read these posts: Six Principles, Lose Interest, Warming It Up, C-Level Executives, The Truth.

  9. Week Nine | Spend More Time Prospecting: Your calendar is the best indication of your results. If it is packed with new sales calls with dream clients, then you are looking good. But it is more than likely you have some big chunks of time each day. The only thing that will fill those blocks of time with appointments with your dream clients is prospecting. This week, write a prospecting schedule that you will live with for the remainder of the year. If you prospect for an hour a day, find a way to make it two. My advice? Block off the first couple hours of each day to prospect and set appointments.

  10. Week Ten | Write Your Scripts: You are using scripts, even if they are from memory. Take this week to write a script for each and every client interaction you engage in. Cold calling? Write a script? Resolving concerns? Write a script. Sales call opening? Write a script. Need analysis? Write a script. Make sure every script ends with you asking for an obtaining a commitment that advances you towards a deal.

  11. Week Eleven | Write Your Call Value Creation Plan: Hard to do, but well worth it. This week write down exactly what you hope your client will gain by spending their time with you (which is very different from what you will gain). Make a list of the commitments that you ask your dram clients to make and then write down how you will justify that commitment by describing how your dream client will benefit from their commitment.

  12. Week Twelve | Improve Your Needs Analysis: Your need analysis can define and differentiate you in your space. Write a list of power questions that you can use to do a better need analysis, one that will demonstrate to your dream client that you have the situational knowledge and business acumen to create value for them. Make sure your questions don’t assume your existing diagnosis or solution.

  13. Week Thirteen | Write Your Own Success Case Studies: Last week of the quarter. What do you have to show for it? What have you learned? How did that learning help you to grow as a salesperson? As a business professional? Take this week and write at least five one-page case studies on your successes. Then, do the same for your failures, working to understand what caused your failure. How will you do more of what you learned that succeeded and less of what failed?

  14. For more on increasing your sales effectiveness, subscribe to the RSS Feed for The Sales Blog and my Email Newsletter. Follow me on Twitter, connect to me on LinkedIn, or friend me on Facebook. If I can help you or your sales organization, check out my coaching and consulting firm, B2B Sales Coach & Consultancy, email me, or call me at (614) 212-4279.

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    Comments

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  • http://www.lymelightwebs.com Jayme Squire

    Excellent piece! I really appreciate that it’s so in-depth and that each week ties with the previous week to create such a full plan; and it really seems to hit all the bases =) It’ll take some time to get through all of the linked posts, as well, but I’ll look forward to continuing through the reading. Thanks so much!

  • http://lookingtobusiness.com Daniel M. Wood

    A great list Anthony,

    Everything on it is important to a salesman.
    I do think that cramming all this into 13 weeks doesn’t let you really utilize the lessons you learn.
    For example, improving your skills in cold calling needs to be given more time you want a significant improvement.

    I do think you mean you should be working on these different lessons even after that week that is allotted to them, but that makes your efforts split and instead of becoming proficient you often become a jack of all trades, master of none.

    Other than that great article, just give it 26 weeks instead of 13 (there is a lot to learn if you are to be a sales star).

  • http://www.SalesforceAssessments.com Brian Jeffrey

    Well done Anthony. This is an excellent map for putting oneself on the road to sales success. Once the 13 week trip is completed, take the trip again, and again. That’s what professionals do to stay on top of their game.

  • Hank Merkle

    … and this Anthony is why, you sir, are a ROCK STAR!

  • Tom Miller

    Cheers, always good to find something to help improve yourself especially in todays competitive markets. I found this article also helped me a lot: http://www.salessense.co.uk/sales_success_formula_transcript_1



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