Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Next year's forecast - be prepared to get it done with a smile!

Here you are with less than four months of the year left to get your sales targets done and guess what? Your boss wants you to say what you are going to sell next year.

It is that time when forecasts have to be submitted for the New Year. Ridiculous you think! And while perhaps an understandable reaction, don't let it get to you. The truth is that for your organisation to function, plan and pay next years salaries, they have to have visibility to what is going to be sold. Or at least as close an estimation as is possible.

When sales staff used to complain to me about having to provide their forecast for the next 12 months, I would offer a genuine alternative. "I will do your forecast for you". Any sales person worth their salt quickly realised that was not a great idea - at least not for them! Do you really not want to have any input into what is expected of you down the line?

We know that nine times out of ten, as a sales person you are going to be given a target next year that is a stretch for you - that is simply the world of selling. But do you really want someone else to set the starting point for you, or would you rather do it. Assuming that you have been in post for a while, there should be no one better than you to be able to tell what your customers are likely to do next year.

So while it may make you wince, respond positively when the boss asks you for your input into next year's forecast. At the very least it should ensure you have visibility as early as possible to what is expected of you - and you may even get a better hearing from Management with regard to the challenges you face.