You cannot plan effectively unless you first look back. This
10-point sales review highlights the major areas to consider as you
look at 2004 and develop a strategy for ensuring increased revenue
for the New Year.
- Sales by Product
Consider all of the products you are selling. Determine which
have been most often requested and what items should be deleted
from your product line. Are there products that are selling so
quickly that you need to watch your inventory more carefully? Look
for products that have had maintenance problems, been returned or
generated lots of complaints.
Make a list of all of your accounts for 2004, and make special
note of those that were new. Are any new physicians now calling
you? Have you located any new social workers or case managers now
referring business to you? Is about 10 percent of your business now
coming from new accounts? Since managed care and other business
networking arrangements can easily change your customer base, make
sure that you are continually building your list of new
Look back on your calendar and make a list of all the health
fairs, conventions and meetings you attended, and identify what it
cost you to attend. Rate each event on a scale from 1 to 5, with 5
being an event you must attend again next year, and 1 being an
event you can avoid. Others who attended these events can help you
decide which ones are a “must-go.”
Look in the closet and see what marketing products are in full
supply. Determine what products you can do without, what products
the customer most enjoys receiving and what marketing items should
never be ordered again. Planning ahead can save money as you
purchase certain items in bulk.
Look at the buying trends from each of your accounts and compare
them to previous years. Has there been a change in buying habits
from particular accounts that may not be calling you as often? Are
certain accounts no longer buying products they used to purchase
from you? They could have had a change in staff and may need to
learn more about who you are and what you offer.
Review the list of complaints you received throughout the year,
and note areas in your operation that may require a new policy or
procedure. Once you become more aware of frequent problems, begin
working on their solutions.
Develop a list of those services and products continually
requested. Consider purchasing new products, developing new
programs or altering the manner in which your service is delivered.
Learning from your customers is your very best training
Look at the records of each sales representative. Determine who
is selling what and who is NOT selling the full line of products.
If certain salespeople are not being as productive as they had been
— or should be — talk with them to see what can be done
to help them reach sales goals or quotas.
Arrangements to Avoid
Look over all of your existing contracts and business
relationships. As you look ahead to 2005, determine which contacts
need to be renegotiated and which business relationships should be
cancelled. Often, it takes 60 to 90 days to get out of a contract,
so you do need to plan ahead. Review your business records to make
sure you are not continually accepting problematic business.
Check your sales floor. Do you need to move things around? Has
the arrangement and placement of products prevented customers from
reaching certain items? It is time to look on the shelves and see
what products are outdated and need to be discarded. Are there
products on your floor that, once sold, should not be reordered?
This is the time to spruce up, clean up and evaluate your entire
retail sales operation.
While these points are not the only issues to consider, they can
set the stage for building a strategy to grow your business in
2005. Take the time to see where you've been — and then you
can begin to determine where you're going. Take the time to see
where you've been — and then you can begin to determine where
Louis Feuer is president of Dynamic Seminars & Consulting
Inc. and the founder and director of the DSC Teleconference Series,
a teleconference training program. He can be reached at www.DynamicSeminars.com or by phone at