This is a perfect time to resolve to get serious about increasing your sales.

In terms of an hourly wage, you never make more money than you do while you’re selling. Good salespeople don’t have a care in the world. Good salespeople can make money any time they want. The better your sales skills, the easier life gets.

Here is a list of my suggestions on resolutions you can make to improve your sales.

Keep a sales log. The beginning of the year is the perfect time to start keeping a log of your calls.

I suggest getting an old-fashioned appointment book where two pages take up a full week. Monday through Friday each get a separate column, and Saturday and Sunday share a column.

As you run calls, write down the customers’ names, addresses, phone numbers, what products you recommended, and the dollar amount. I used to indicate whether or not they bought by circling the dollar amount.

In the top margin, above each day, write the daily total, the week-to-date total, and the monthto- date total. In the lower, far right corner, write the year-to-date total.

The late Tom McCart, a record-setting HVAC residential replacement salesman, said that becoming “obsessed” with his sales figures was one of the two most important contributors to his success. When I read that in an article, I said to myself, “If it’s good enough for the top salesman in the country, it’s good enough for me.” I started keeping a more acute awareness of my sales figures. My sales almost instantly took off.

It doesn’t take long for you to establish your average sale, your average day, and your closing ratio. All of a sudden, you can hardly bring yourself to quote a job for a dollar amount that is lower than your average sale, because if you sell it, you’ll be bringing your own average down.

I personally prefer this old-fashioned appointment book to a list or a digital format because I want the emotional experience of writing each entry down by hand.

Follow up on every call. Don’t decide for the prospect that they’re not going to buy. Follow up on every call and let them inform you of their decision.

Schedule the follow-up in your appointment book.

Send a thank you card to every prospect, whether they bought on the first call or not. Write a personal note inside of it and drop it into a mailbox immediately after leaving the call. It’s really cool when they receive it on the very next day.

Set goals. How are you going to get a bulls-eye when you don’t have a target?

The appointment book helps set your goals for you. Always try to sell as much as, or more than, you did the previous day, week, or month.

Set personal goals, break them down into small, 15-minute tasks, and schedule them in your appointment book.

Spend more time with your family. Everyone claims they wish they could spend more time with their family. Have you scheduled it in?

Start prioritizing things. There’s a difference between “urgent” and “important.” Importance ranks higher than urgency. Keeping your family together and being a good parent is important. Use that appointment book to schedule time with your family.

See how little you can say and still make the sale. We talk ourselves out of more sales than we talk ourselves into. As a rule, the less you say, the more you’ll sell. You don’t talk people into buying, you listen them into buying. You were given two ears and one mouth. Use them in that proportion.

How do you know you’ve said enough? Try to close. If they buy, you’ve said enough. If they don’t buy, you haven’t. Provide some more information. When you start getting positive feedback, give them another opportunity to buy. If they don’t buy yet, give them new information.

That’s how you make multiple closes without getting on people’s nerves. If all you do is try is a new closing technique, you could come off as high pressure. When you provide new information and get positive feedback, you can actually say, “Based on this new information, is this something you’d like to go ahead with?”

Learn all you can about salesmanship. Tom McCart said that the second of the two most significant contributors to his success was his commitment to studying and learning salesmanship.

The most efficient way to do this is to listen to sales training CDs and/or tapes while driving between calls. It keeps you fresh and focused.

If you drive an average of three hours per day, five days per week, 50 weeks per year, during a 30-year period, you’ll have driven 22,500 hours. That’s more than 21/2 years worth of driving!

When you study salesmanship between calls, you’ll see increases in both your closing ratio and the dollar amount of your average sale. When you increase your closing ratio, you increase your efficiency. Getting fewer turndowns increases your self-confidence and makes you feel better about what you’re doing. You get a whole new you.

Have you ever thought about the cost of a lost sale? Setting aside the cost to generate a sales lead, when a prospect you’ve quoted buys from one of your lower-priced competitors, you’ve spent time and money to generate a bad reference. From that point on, any time anyone asks them where they should buy a new furnace or air conditioner, they’ll say, “Don’t buy from (your company). They’re too high priced!”

Start using your customer files to generate replacement sales. Your customer files are the most under-used resource your company has.

You’ve got thousands of files of customers with older equipment that you know has been giving them trouble. When it slows down, go through those files, pick out a few people, call them up, and see if they’re interested in getting rid of their problems and start saving money. You’ll be surprised how many people will buy.

Summary
To compete in the professional sports arena, you’ve got to master the game, get some coaching, stay in shape, and practice regularly. It takes commitment, but the rewards are huge.

You’re in the professional sales arena. It never ceases to amaze me how many supposedly “professional” salespeople never train, seek coaching, practice, or do much of anything to master their craft.

The biggest hitters in baseball practice hitting the most. Even Tiger Woods has a coach.

With the current economic crunch, your salesmanship has to be in peak condition, and it can be. All it requires is a commitment on your part and a little conditioning. Commit to making 2008 your best year in sales ever.

Charlie Greer is the creator of “Slacker’s
Guide to HVAC Sales on Audio CD,” and “Tec Daddy’s Service Technician Survival School on DVD.” The Spring 2008 dates are set for Charlie Greer’s 4-Day Sales Survival Schools with separate sessions for HVAC techs and salespeople. For information on Charlie’s products and sales training, go to www.hvacprofitboosters. com or call 800/963-HVAC (4822). E-mail Charlie at charlie@charliegreer.com.