Fall is on the horizon. For those of you in the North, the peepers and crickets are creating a cacophony of noise just after sunset. The smell of wood burning in fireplaces may be starting to waft around your neighborhoods. For those of us in the South, the torrential summer afternoon rains and thunderstorms may be waning. The temps are getting slightly cooler now.

Daylight savings time is a time where we “Spring Ahead, Fall Back.” This little ditty reminds us how to set our clocks. But it can also be applied to how we run our businesses. Spring is a new beginning of a new year. It’s a time when we’re hopeful, optimistic and full of energy for what’s ahead.

Fall is a great time to slow down just a bit and consider our progress for the year. It’s a great time of year to look back and evaluate what you’ve accomplished so far; what you need to do to make up any losses, keep any wins, and just generally consider where you stand with just 4 months of the year left. It’s a time to regroup, reconsider and recommit.

So, here are some questions you need to ask yourself right now about your own performance and the performance of your team so far this year. Write the answers down. Commit to changing or improving what you can, ask for help on those things you can’t do yourself, and talk to your manager or boss about those things you need direction on. Self help, as in self motivation, is the sign of a successful sales and marketing professional.

1) What went right so far this year?
2) What went wrong so far this year?
3) What should you/we have done that we didn’t do?
4) What are your three biggest sales problems?
5) What will be the consequences if you fail to overcome them?
6) What do you need to do to overcome each of those problems?
7) What new initiatives should you/we explore?
8) Besides solving problems, what must you/we do better than you’ve/we’ve done so far this year?
9) What can you do to help your staff sell at better rates?
10) What can you do to guarantee a better rate of clients that come back again and again?
11) How can you increase rates?
12) Where are you and your staff members wasting time or spending too much money?
13) What can you do to make New Business Development your staff’s prime obsession?
14) How can they do a better job of targeting new clients?
15) How can they upsell your current clients?
16) What do you think your strategic plan should be for 2014?
17) What additional training, sales or marketing tools do you or your staffs need to execute those strategies?
18) What makes your company unique in the industry? What differentiates your company from the competition.
19) What would you do right now, if you could do anything at all, to improve your share of your target market?

There are only three ways to make money in business: 1) Sell More. 2) Save More. 3) Increase Rates. So heading into the remainder of 2013, you’ll need to honestly review the answers to the above questions so that you can realistically adjust your budget, set your short term, end-of-year goals, and strategically plan how you can either turn the year around, or keep your sales on an even keel so that you end the year where you want to be.

Fall Back to new positions so that you can Spring Ahead going forward.

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Recently retired after a long and very successful career in radio and digital media, Joan Gerberding currently consults on a per diem basis. A dynamic and creative media executive, she has a highly successful track record of growing reputation and revenues, generating sales, creating marketing strategies, and increasing market share for the companies for which she's worked. Her expertise in spearheading growth strategies across a broad range of business categories is matched by her entrepreneurial and charismatic leadership style, effective team building skills, ability to improve the bottom line, to build lasting relationships, and to keep staffs engaged and inspired. Joan is the “go to” person for media start-ups, turnarounds and companies in transition, as well as existing media companies that are trying to expand their visibility, market share and revenues. She has spent most of her life and career working from Princeton, NJ, but relocated in 2011 to Marco Island, Fl. She can be reached at: Radiojoan@aol.com

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