What are your selling plans for the year 2001?
I raise that question to hopefully capture your attention. The
fact is that, too often, the honest answer I hear is, “We haven’t
given it a thought.”
I believe it’s always important to have a future sales goal
firmly in your mind, and to have a definitive plan on how you and
your com-pany are going to achieve that goal.
Most Kitchen & Bath Design News readers would probably agree
that the old phrase, “If you always do what you’ve always done, you
will always get what you always got” is no longer true in the
kitchen and bath industry.
In contrast, with today’s fast-paced life, if you continue to do
the “same old things” with respect to sales, you’ll quickly be
passed by those competitors with a real plan for selling
Let’s look at some different ways you can plan for sales success
in 2001, and beyond.
First, make sure you’re comfortable with the company you work
for and that you’re enthusiastic about both your job and the desire
to elevate your skills and improve your productivity.
Next, take time out from your daily workload and dream creating
in your mind the optimum professional goal, or goals, for next
year. Since we work primarily for money, and money is the measuring
stick of our success as sales professionals, creating goals based
on personal income earned, and corporate profits achieved, seems
Should you choose to earn more money next year than you’re
earning this year (and I certainly hope you make that choice), it’s
important that you consider your willingness to do three
1. Invest money toward obtaining new skills and knowledge.
2. Set aside time to develop new selling skills or hone your
3. Have an unwavering discipline toward achieving the goals you
Let’s look at each of these three areas in closer detail:
- Investing money. It’s highly unusual that you can obtain
something of value without making a monetary investment. For
example, going to the annual Kitchen/Bath Industry Show (K/BIS) can
carry a pretty hefty price tag. Unless the location is within drive
time, airfare, room, food, registration and related costs can come
to a couple of grand pretty easily.
However, ask yourself how many more sales dollars you will need to
add to cover the costs of show attendance. Ask yourself if you’ll
learn to sell more effectively and profitably by attending the
show. Ask yourself if you’ll learn how to do your work more
efficiently, giving you more time to sell and more time to
Those answers should govern your decision.
My experience with our staff has been that we’ve often gotten our
money’s worth within days of our investment in a learning
experience at a show like K/BIS. This doesn’t mean you’ll always
feel that your financial investment is worth it but, if you’re not
involved and take no risks, you’ll certainly never grow.
- Finding the time to train. I recently was a banquet speaker and
sales trainer for a cabinet manufacturer. The training involved a
week-long experience for attendees. Not only were dealer
salespeople part of the session, but also customer service people,
sales representatives and corporate’
Part of the learning process had nothing to do with cabinets and
design, but rather dealt with bonding with other people who are
involved in creating a successful support system for profitable
sales. If I were asked to put a price tag on the value of that
training, I couldn’t.
To some people, I’m sure, it wasn’t worth their time or investment
but for others, I believe it was a life-changing event that will
make them better designers and better salespeople. It will also
enable them to work more efficiently, be more accurate . . . and
make more money.
My point is that, for good training, there’s a price both in terms
of money and time.
And the price is worth it!
How about you attending such a sales training session, or setting
time aside each week to learn on your own?
Our company has a sales meeting every Tuesday starting at 8 a.m.
These meetings vary from one to two hours in length. To remain
operational while we’re meeting, half of our sales/design staff
attends an early session and the others attend a duplicate session
We do a lot of the hands-on training ourselves, but we also invite
representatives to be’
part of these sessions. We train on systems designed for good
communications and customer’
service. We train on gaining product and industry knowledge. We
also train on improving our’
With these regular sessions, we’re able to get in 50 to 100 hours
of training every year. Many people don’t see how we can afford the
time to do it. However, I can’t imagine how we could continue in
business without the training.
How much time does your company devote to sales training?
It’s not always easy, but there are great rewards to gain from
setting aside the time to learn.
- Having the discipline. Actually investing money and time in
your success difficult as that may seem at times is actually far
easier than developing the discipline required to make the
It’s not easy, for instance, for our company to have successful
Tuesday sales meetings. Nor is it easy for us to get the right
people to K/BIS . . . or to have people out of our office training
with a manufacturer . . . or to cough up the money to invest in
Sticking to your commitment to improve is often extremely
difficult. There are many distractions. There are many important
things on your desk pulling at your time. But, as the Nike motto
sums it up, “Just do it!”
For many of you, what I’ve shared in this month’s K&BDN will be
a “yawner” that seems aimed at people other than yourself. But some
of you, I hope, will seriously examine your future and do something
You’ll soon discover that having a sales plan for tomorrow will
start paying dividends as early as today.