Oh no! The meeting request every salesperson never wants to see “Mandatory: Sales Forecast Call.”
I’ve been on countless sales forecast calls and they’re all somewhat familiar. “What are you going to sell this period?” “How certain are you?” “Is this a 95 percent confident number you’re giving me?” “Can you sell more?”
These calls are tough. You must make an educated guess based on your sales instincts and on the data and insights you have. You are also dependent on your customers’ willingness to pull the purchase-order trigger. If you, or your leader, had a crystal ball we wouldn’t need forecast calls. Unfortunately, that crystal ball isn’t coming any time soon, and having been on both the receiving and giving end of many question-ladled calls there are a few things to remember to survive the forecast call. First, prove to your manager that you are hustling, problem-solving, and working every deal and opportunity in front of you. Have a plan on how to close to your number, so when he or she asks you; you can say, with confidence, ‘this is how I’m going to do it.’
Which brings me to my second survival tip. Conviction. As a leader, I want to hear action and confidence. Tell me what you are doing to bring the next sale in, and tell me with confidence that you will.
Confident sales people make me feel better, as a leader. Even if the sales rep ends up a bit short that month, at least I know he or she were sprinting to the finish line.
Let me give you an example.
A member of my sales team approaches me and says,
“Andy, it’s going to be a struggle to get to the target this quarter. We are working hard, however, the customers aren’t moving quickly. I think we will close two of these three deals, but maybe not in time for this quarter.”
What I hear is excuses and no sense of urgency. I respond by double clicking on each and every statement from the rep as I try to find a way to re-engage the opportunity.
What I’d like to hear is something like this:
“Andy, we are going to get to $100,000 this quarter. We have a hill to climb the last two weeks. I must over perform my run-rate. However, I have three deals working and I am confident I can get there.”
My response is automatically, “yes! go! make it happen, and how can I help?”
Waiting is not a sales activity. Go into your sales forecast call prepared, and more importantly, exude confidence and conviction. Your leader will see that and know, with certainty, that you have a plan to get it done.