The new financial year is a great time for sales people to stop and relook at their sales territory. By now the figures for the last 12 months should be in, making it a great time for wine reps to go through their own customer list and do an honest appraisal of where things currently stand.
Assumptions are a salesperson’s worst enemy: assumptions that your wines won’t suite a venue, assumptions that the buyer won’t want to see you, assumptions that the decision maker is too busy, assumptions that your competitors have better relationships than you and most importantly, assumptions that you know your sales territory inside out.
I guarantee that that for the great majority of reps, an hour studying recent sales figures by customer by SKU versus historical data will highlight a raft of changes that haven’t necessarily been obvious during the everyday activity of doing business.
Sales people focus on orders coming in and opportunities that we want to exploit, while we tend to overlook or (if it’s painfully bad news) blatantly ignore contractions in our territory. It isn’t easy or all that pleasant to follow up where sales have diminished but it is a habit that the best reps have managed to get into and as a result they tend to minimise their losses where other reps would simply move on.
A solid annual review is your chance to right this wrong, to identify where business used to be and potentially could be once again. The loss of a small restaurant winelist is annoying at most at the time, such is life, but over a year that loss it might have punched a big hole in your budget for several wines. Have new listings replaced this loss? If not then you’re behind the eightball. If yes, then great, but quite often that new winelist you like to boost your ego by telling your work colleagues about has only replaced lost sales, rather than grown your area.
Be honest with yourself and your sales data, embrace the facts of what it tells you and then develop some areas of focus for this financial year to fix and replace those leaks. As a salesperson you’ll always be on the hunt for new opportunities, so add the habit of reversing/replacing contractions to your sales armoury and you’ll see sales blossom accordingly.