So another year begins and the Midwest is off to one of the coldest starts ever, thanks to the Polar Vortex! This will definitely put a hamper on January sales figures, which are normally slow to begin with in this part of the country. So, what is the best way to utilize the extra time that comes with the lull in the action?

The answer is sales training. When I am sitting in my deer blind in the middle of the day, when most deer are sleeping, one thing I do to pass the time is train. I imagine a big buck coming down from the hill to the left. I get out my range finder and read the distance to that hill. It is 160 yards. So, I say to myself, if a big buck comes trotting down that hill, I will quickly click off my safety and adjust my scope to 6X. Okay, what if I see the top of his antlers moving from right to left through the bushes 50 yards out at 2 o’clock? Well, I know that trail, and I know where it exits, so I adjust my scope to 2X and point it toward the exit of the trail at 10 o’clock!  The point is … I use the downtime to train for various scenarios so that when the action comes, I am ready.

Failure to do so, and you will lose your chance. Big bucks don’t become big bucks by posing in the middle of a field. They are very smart and cunning. You are hunting in their element—not yours. In many ways they are superior to the hunter. So, when the action begins, you better be ready if you want to succeed.  If a trophy buck appears and you are not ready, he will quickly slip away and your chance will be gone. Once he is gone, your chances of seeing him again are very slim, so you better be ready.

The same thing applies to the sales world. You can use this downtime to train your sales force so that when the action comes, they are ready to pounce upon the opportunity, ready to meet their prospects needs before the competition can do so!  Use this time wisely. Bring your sales people into the office and prime them for when the weather breaks. Talk about sales goals for each territory. Do this together in a group setting and let them compare notes. Let each salesperson talk about the challenges he or she faces in their territory or customer base and let the others chime in to offer suggestions. Just like hunters love to tell about how they bagged a big buck, salespeople love to relive scenarios where they were faced with tough competition but came out on top!

Review new product lines and discuss new features and benefits that are being brought to the table. Review new financing options that your company is offering, and discuss how these can be used to get the sale now as opposed to later or not at all. Introduce new sales tools including window samples, literature and demo kits that are available. Have several of your top salespeople demonstrate to the newbies how they will use these new sales tools in the home or showroom to demonstrate superiority over the competition.

Most of all, remember the words, “demonstrate superiority over the competition.” Because when it comes to closing the sale, the single most important thing you must accomplish with your prospect is to demonstrate superiority over the competition.  Train your salespeople to do this on a daily basis with all of your products and with a wide variety of customer types and scenarios and your sales will grow well above the market rate.

Fail to do so, and, like the trophy buck that got away, the customer and sales opportunity will slip away, never to be seen again. So, when opportunities present themselves, be ready to demonstrate superiority over the competition!

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