Sales Plan? Whats a Sales Plan?

In the past, if you said the word "plan" to me, I would bolt and run. I'm the "creative type," a former ballet dancer and choreographer-I'm terrible with details. When I was dancing professionally, all the details were taken care of; all I had to do was show up and dance. Even when I was choreographing, as long as I met my deadline for when the dance needed to be complete, I could go with the moment, go with the impulse and see where the dance led.

A hearty dose of reality hit when I began to run a dance company. All of a sudden, I had people-employees, volunteers and dancers-waiting. I had to know where we were going and how we were going to get there. It was a different world. Every decision had impact down the line. If we were going to have a spring season, I needed to know what we would be performing and where we'd be performing it. How many dancers would I need? What about costumes? Were we going to commission music? What would it cost? How would we pay for it all?

It took a long time for me to grasp the impact of having a plan. Because I was running a small, grass roots organization, there never seemed to be enough time, people, money or resources. I was always putting out fires. Every plan I developed changed the moment I keyed in the last sentence and printed it out. Plan-who has time to plan? Especially when the plan keeps changing!

Over time, I began to see the planning process as a road map. You know your ultimate goal. You figure out the best way to get there. Your plan needs to include contingencies and have enough space that you can deal with fires and still move forward. And sometimes, the plan changes; it might need some adjustment or "tweaking." As long as the goal remains the same and as long as you keep taking steps forward to achieve that goal, your plan will help you get there.

In sales, your goal is revenue-driven. How much money do you want to make? Or a better question: How much profit do you want to make? Then, how are you going to achieve that?

Your basic plan should start with a dollar amount and work backwards. If, for example, you want to gross $500,000 in sales this year, on average, how many sales would that be? What is your average sale? On average, how many prospects do you have to see or speak with to close one sale? So, how many prospects would you need to see or speak with to close the number of sales you would need to reach your goal of $500,000? What steps do you need to take to see or speak with that many prospects?

Wow! What a mouthful! Here is a mathematical formula:

First:
Value of average sale =______________
How many prospects to close one sales: _______________

Then:
Gross sales ¸ average sale = total number of sales needed

Number of prospects to close one sale x total number of sales needed = total number of prospects

(This formula is from a dancer who counts up to 8 and starts over again! If I can do it-you can do it!)

© 2004 Wendy Weiss

Wendy Weiss, "The Queen of Cold Calling & Selling Success," is a sales trainer, author and sales coach. Her new program, "Cold Calling College," can be ordered by calling: (866) 405-8212. Contact her at [email protected]. Get her free e-zine at http://www.wendyweiss.com.

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