The best way to begin formulating your sales plan for 2013 is to do a little "Sales Analysis" of 2012. This is a good time to evaluate what went right and what didn't in 2012.
We suggest you review your account list and ask one very important question as you look at each name on your list: "What could I have done better to help my clients solve their business problems by using branded merchandise?"
Your answers will give you talking points to begin your calls in 2013.
If 2009 taught us anything, it is that we must think proactively about our marketing strategies, and rely less on the reactive nature we enjoy during good times.
January is a great time to spend some quality time on key account prospecting for the New Year.
Here are two suggestions that you may not have thought about before:
1. Develop an "Anniversary" list. The best way to do this is to go to the library or go online and find businesses that are celebrating an anniversary in 2013.
There are two books at the library that will help you build your "Anniversary" list. The State Industrial Guide Book and the Standard Directory of Advertisers.
Both of these books are broken down by area (zip code) and will tell you all you need to know for a warm call. (Sales volume, officers names, locations, what they do, etc.) These publications will also tell you when each business started.
Key point: Focus your new prospecting on all businesses you discover who are having a key anniversary in 2013. What better way to turn a cold call into a warm call, than making the statement: "I have been wanting to meet with you, and since I have been following your business, I know that 2013 is going to be your 25th year anniversary. I work with businesses like yours to help emphasize this important milestone to your customers and employees."
2. Develop a "Trade show" list. The best way to do this is to visit the association websites for the industries you sell to and make a list of tradeshows planned for 2013 for that industry.
Next, contact your prospects and/or buyers and ask if they are planning to exhibit at a trade show in 2013, and do they need help with a trade show marketing plan.
These two suggestions will help you to get a jump start on 2013 and are a good way to do something productive during the holidays.
Best of Success!
Dale Limes, MAS, is Senior Vice President of Sales for HALO Branded Solutions. He is an industry veteran of 27 years, a frequent trainer at industry events, and consults with distributors at every level to help increase sales and efficiency.