Is Your Sales Objective Valid?
In our last post we discussed the common mistake many salespeople make confusing Sales Objectives with Call Objectives. It is common for people to be confused about their ultimate goal and the goal of their most immediate next step. By stripping away the clutter that may exist between the two, we can achieve clarity that gives us perspective as well as the impulse to take the next best action.
In general, your overall Sales Objective defines the reason you are meeting with this particular prospect. The achievement of this objective could be six months away or as soon as the next encounter. If you don’t have an overall sales objective when meeting with a client then you are, quite literally, meeting for nothing. There is no good reason to be there. Remember, time is a valuable and limited resource for everyone. It’s the ultimate equalizer. So invest it wisely and always respect the time of others. Don’t waste time. There should be value for our clients every time we meet with them.
A Valid Sales Objective
Your overall Sales Objective answers the question, “What do I want to happen with this client that isn’t happening now?” Your answer to that question should be specific and measurable.
A well-defined sales objective includes the following:
- It is related to a specific product or service.
- It is specific and measurable.
- It has a specific target date for completion.
- It is realistic from the client’s perspective.
Related to a specific product or service – Because it is a Sales Objective, it should be related to the specific product or service that you intend to sell to this particular client at this particular time. If you offer more than one product or service, then your objective should clearly state exactly which products and services are part of this particular objective. Related products and services can be bundled together into a single objective (i.e. a package).
Specific and measurable – Your sales objective should quantify the specific quantity of products or services that you are intending to sell. For example, if it is licenses then it will be the number of licenses you intend to sell; if it is service hours then it will be the number of hours; if it is for a term of service then it will be for a length of time (e.g. 36 months); and so on. When your objective is achieved it should be easy to measure its accomplishment. You should know, 1. If it was achieved or not, and 2. How close your objective was compared to what was actually sold.
Have a target date for completion – This is the likely timeframe for the completion of this specific sales objective. When do you expect that this sales objective will be accomplished? This timeframe should be realistic from the client’s perspective.
Realistic from the client’s perspective – All three of the previous criteria should be realistic from the client’s perspective—not just yours. No wishful thinking here. No including products they are unlikely to buy. No astronomical quantities. No timeframes that would be impossible for the client to pull off. These criteria should be realistic from the client’s perspective based on what is happening for that client right now. Sometimes we do sell more than we expected and even sooner than we anticipated, but we want our sales objective to reflect what is realistic right now, and we can still hope and plan for the best.
So for each sales objective you should be able to answer the following:
- The client I am engaging is…
- The product/service I am trying to sell is…
- The amount of the product/service I am trying to sell is…
- The date for this to be completed is…
Rephrased into a single sentence, it might look like this: “I am engaging [client] with the intent to sell [amount] of [product/service] by [date].”
The main benefit to creating a Sales Objective for each opportunity is clarity. The clearer you are, the easier it is to leverage the activities that help you achieve that aim. There are other benefits, however. First, by creating Sales Objectives that meet all of the important criteria (specific product, measurable, target date, and realistic) you will find that your sales forecast is much more accurate. Both you and your manager will appreciate this quality.
The final benefit is that because your Sales Objective is specific and reasonable you will be setting specific and reasonable Call Objectives for each meeting as well and these will allow you to advance the sale at a pace your customer is ready for. This will increase your success rate and make the experience on each sales encounter much more enjoyable for both you and your customer.
Closing Tip: Set a valid Sales Objective for each sales opportunity.
Until next time!