You have six months to meet your sales goals for the year. What do you need to do?

That’s one of the questions that forces Bank Relationship Managers to think. Unfortunately, thinking consumes both time and energy so most of us tend to avoid it. (One of the things a teacher of mine used to say was that “Most people would rather die than think–and most do.”)

So if you had to think about your sales prowess–as if your professional future really depended on it–what should you focus on? Here’s a quick checklist for starters:

1. How is your performance year to date? How do you stack up vs. your peers? How are you doing in retaining and expanding relationships with your key and high potential customers? What does your pipeline look like now and 3 or 6 months down the road? Are you making progress with your key prospects? Where do you see the biggest opportunities for growth? What are the major challenges you face?

2. What do you need to work on to improve your results? Be honest. Is it better product knowledge? A more focused prospecting approach? Quality time to prepare for upcoming calls? A better working relationship with your administrative assistant? A consistent follow-up plan to stay top of mind with your COIs and prospects?

3. Who can help you get to the next level? The obvious answer is your sales manager, but think about where you might find other allies. Are there customers who could refer you to other businesses? Do you need to do a better job of networking internally with product partners in cash management or private banking or capital markets? Can the Executive Director of that trade association of manufacturers become a referral source?

4. What’s your plan? Get specific. Write it down. Make sure that you get feedback from your personal board of advisors (e.g. your spouse, your boss, any of your good friends or coworkers who want you to succeed, etc.)

For most of us this is not a 20 minute exercise. But if you’ve only got 20 minutes to start the process today, do it. Your results this year and next may well hinge on it.

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Here are some other resources that might be of interest:

Are You Making Enough Sales Calls?

A Cautionary Tale: CEOs Want Substance Not Sports Talk

How to Make More Calls: Try 2 Before 10

If you have questions about how we can help you grow your bank’s revenues, email me at nmiller@mzbierlyconsulting.com or call me on 484-433-2378.