A Proactive ‘Sales Professional’ does not necessarily wait for the phone to ring. He has the ‘Initiative’ and acts without being forced by external events. This results in him taking anticipatory action so as to avoid the problems in finding a Sales opportunity. Management theory call such acts as ones driven by – internal locus of control etc…but, simply explained…it is a well anticipated Pro-active act! A successful middle level manager is able to keep this ‘window of anticipation’ in his thought process and he takes advantage of an opportunity that is not seen by others. Higher up the executive ladder this window expands…wherein a top executive can see days or weeks ahead! And, as a ‘visionary’, a managing director can see an opportunity years ahead sometimes a decade ahead.
Possessing this far-sightedness is essential in a successful Sales Professional as that would enable him to build a pipeline of prospects well ahead in time. No wonder, well experienced sales professionals get their sales projections right all the time and are dependable while preparing a business plan. Failure to anticipate leads to only reactions to ‘changing’ situations and at times, these reactions are too late to satisfy dynamic market needs. Eventually,this leads to sales loss or at the best to ‘crisis management’. Such sales professionals who cannot anticipate, fall behind and are continuously presenting ‘ sales prospect sheets’ that are not dependable.
In a typical ‘start-up’ scenario, where the field is quite barren land or ‘dark box’ or ‘question marks’ (as per BCG Matrix – stars,cash cows, question marks, dogs) – with no prospects or leads, sales requirements not identified, deliverables not quantified,and with no ‘prepared’ sales budget to follow – only Pro-activity pays off. Instead of waiting for the market to respond, it is better to go-get the markets identified or suspected and set the ball rolling. Yellow pages directory have been of great help to me in several of my start up assignments that have turned out successful. I just have to go through the yellow pages sincerely and pass the word around that I am in the market! I screen through the prospective buyers, list them down, fix appointments and run through few ‘pilot meetings’ so that I am better prepared to meet the challenge. Such acts of initiative result in greater number of prospects than I can imagine….and my business gets to a good start!
Seizing new opportunities is crucial for the success of any business venture….and, definitely ‘yes’, in case of start-up ventures. This involves ‘thinking’ on the feet, sustaining the ‘drive’ to excel, building consistent ‘saleable’ approach ( because it is sometimes…sheer hard work- trial and error method!) and keeping a positive state of mind always. At times…thinking ‘out of the box’ helps a lot.
In one of my assignments, I had to develop a new market for branded make of ‘Power Inverter’ in one of the ‘large’ suburbs in central Mumbai. And, this involved consistent screening of the suspects and paying them visits meticulously to understand their business needs and credit requirements. In a short period of one week, I had all the details – who are the competitors,the market size for the business proposition, the market share of each player and how much stock should I carry to penetrate the market, and at what price structure as well as what payment terms I should sell. I prepared the business plan for a market that we thought initially….would be very insignificant compared to our total sales in the city. We were in for a big surprise because there was much more potential than what we had anticipated. All that was required to seize this market in the coming six months – Pro-activity, Initiative and Forward thinking or Anticipation?
Could I say that it requires a Go-Getter to seize a day in sales?