How to Create a Sales Cookbook

person holding a cookbook

By Luke Scarchilli | Trainer and Sales Associate, Sandler Training

Salespeople who find themselves behind quota may assign their performance problems to any number of factors beyond their control. But the reality is that the single most common reason for this problem lies in something they do control: their choice to use, or not to use, a sales cookbook.

A sales cookbook is a proven list of activities and behaviors that you can do every day and every week to be successful. We call this tool a cookbook because it operates on exactly the same principle as a recipe that’s been tested and validated by a professional chef. If you turn to the page of your favorite cookbook and find the recipe that reads “Chocolate Cake,” and if you obtain ingredients A, B, and C, and follow steps X, Y, and Z to the letter, then the end-result you’re going to experience is a chocolate cake – not just sometimes, but every time!

For salespeople, their cookbook should include an equally clear list of to-do items, a list that supports your personal income goal. This list should consist of a concrete set of actionable, measurable behaviors that you accept personal accountability for executing, day in and day out, week in and week out.

Often, we don’t start thinking about whether we have a cookbook until we notice – or someone else notices – that we’re behind quota. You must look at your past history closely, objectively, and purposefully enough to create a tested, validated sales cookbook for hitting your goal before the end of the year.

Take some time to crunch the numbers. Perhaps the math arising from a close analysis of both your past history and your income goal for this quarter supports a weekly target list that looks like this: 10 new referrals, two hour-long online networking sessions involving LinkedIn, and 20 unique, new conversations with prospects, five of which culminate in a purchase decision. If that’s what you come up with, you’ll want to make sure your manager knows you are accountable for hitting those targets every week – starting now. And you’ll want to schedule time to meet together each week so you can evaluate your progress.

We’re talking, in other words, about what you do each and every working day – from your muscle memory, if you will. You already have a certain set of behaviors in place – the only question is whether or not those behaviors are supporting your income goal or in conflict with it.

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