Behind On Your 2017 Sales Goals?
Here’s what to do to salvage your year.
With Labor Day and the end of summer just around the corner, a sickening feeling is beginning to develop in the pit of their stomachs for a large percentage of relationship managers.
Do you know that feeling? The feeling of being behind in your 2017 production. Possibly way behind.
Lisa and I hear this every year at the end of summer. “My production seemed to be on track coming into June and my pipeline was pretty strong. A couple deals I thought were going to happen didn’t. And a couple other deals I was counting on aren’t going to happen until next year. Now I am way behind on my production goals.”
We’ve all been there. We all hate those sleepless nights, tossing and turning wondering where we’re going to find a few deals that will close quickly so we can salvage our year. And the pressure only gets worse as we move into September and the year marches on.
Here are five actions you can take immediately to salvage your year:
- Adjust your priorities – In order to find deals that have a possibility of closing this year, you must adjust your priorities from trying to develop new relationships to cultivating existing relationships. The probability of meeting with a prospective new customer for the first time in September and having that prospect turn into a new customer this year is remote. It can happen, but it is unlikely. In the time you have weekly to devote to business development, a disproportionate amount of time must be dedicated to reconnecting with those prospects you’ve already met.
- Leverage existing relationships – Make a list of every prospect you’ve met with or spoken to in the past 18 months, but haven’t talked to or met with in the past two months. Consider even going back 24 months. You already have some type of relationship with these people…that’s what you need to build on and leverage if your hopes are to pull out a decent 2017. Leveraging existing relationships holds a much greater probability for new business this year, than initial prospect calls with new prospects. Remember, the business you close today is the by-product of your collective activities over the past 12 to 24 months. The relationships you initiate today are more likely to become closed transactions 12 to 24 months in the future. If it’s September and you’re behind on your production, at least 75% of your calling activities need to be focused on cultivating existing relationships.
- Don’t overlook turn-downs and lost deals – Circumstances change. Sometimes we forget that. Review every deal you turned down or lost to another bank in the past 18 months. Make a list of those borrowers and give them a call to check in and see how things are coming. With a reasonably high degree of frequency, the lenders and RMs we coach uncover a borrower whom they had written off where circumstances had changed and they were able to close a piece of new business. That happened with an RM last week where he called a borrower that “decided to go with another bank.” Well, the borrower didn’t switch banks as represented and, in addition, their circumstances had changed. Making them much more receptive to the structure offered by our client and the RM picked up a new $500,000 relationship. At this time of the year, you can’t afford to limit your possibilities as to where new business can come from. Turn-downs and lost deals represent another source of new business in 2017.
- Make more calls and schedule more appointments – When it’s September and you’re behind in your production, it is imperative you increase the number of phone calls made and appointments set every week. Again, the bulk of your time is spent calling prospects where you already have a relationship and trying to schedule an appointment where it makes sense to do so. You must be willing to suspend judgment and simply “make the call” when you’re looking for new business opportunities.
- Block time in your calendar – Most RMs make sales calls in between all of their other work as opposed to blocking time in their calendar to make phone calls. This lack of consistency in an RMs calling efforts creates a lack of consistency in their pipeline. It’s just that simple. Let me say that again…weak, inconsistent calling efforts usually create weak, inconsistent pipelines and mediocre production. One of the first disciplines Lisa and I develop with our coaching clients is how to develop a disciplined calling effort which starts with having a disciplined calendar and systematic time and priority management process. Hint: A “to-do” list is not what we’re talking about here. We recommend blocking at least one hour, four days a week (Tuesday through Friday) dedicated to calling prospects. And it needs to be the 1st task or project completed of your day. Period! By blocking the first hour of your day, you ensure the likelihood of actually doing the work. When we don’t schedule calling time or try to fit it in later in the day, the chances are much greater than you won’t make the calls. In fact, most RMs in this situation are behind in their production in large part because they haven’t made enough quality calls throughout the year.
In summary, a lot of business can get closed in the last four months of the year. If you are behind on your 2017 production, then a disciplined calling effort that is focused on prospects you’ve already met with or given proposals to is required through the remainder of the year. Even if all these efforts don’t translate into closed deals in 2017, your efforts will ensure a much stronger pipeline going into 2018 which also isn’t a bad thing.
If I can help you end 2017 on a stronger note, please don’t hesitate to give me a call at 760-720-9270.
Best of luck,