KeepItSimple

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I’m hearing more and more these days how management positions are no longer just strictly management roles.  Managers now play a bigger role in sales than ever before and are expected to carry a book of business and manage a sales team at the same time.  It makes sense – you need to be a leader and lead by example.

In my management career, I have always enjoyed being out in the field.  How else do you know what objections your sales team is facing if you’re not out there doing the same thing?  I think this is a critical role for managers to play, especially in our new economy.  So much has changed and “back when I was in sales” is no longer an effective way of managing.

Salespeople want to know their manager’s understand what they are going through and if you’re not going through the same situations or coming across the same challenges, you can’t possibly know what type of direction they need.  I’ve always taken the approach of talking to my sales team in order get their ideas on how to handle new challenging situations.  If you’re just sitting back spewing out advice or directives, you distance yourself from the same team you’re trying to keep motivated.

Have regular meetings and tell them about situations you’ve recently experienced and let them come up with ideas and solutions to some of those challenging situations.  No matter what position you are in or how long you’ve been in it, you can always learn something new from others.  Taking this approach will also allow you to see how effective certain members of your team can be and the type of things they can come up with that you may not have even considered. 

In many cases, it can actually take you back to the basics and regroup to be more effective.  Imagine if you went on a joint sales call with one of your salespeople and you used one of their ideas.  Motivating works both ways in this respect and helps build a team that will truly work with you if they feel you listened to their ideas.

So go out there and lead by example by showing them you are part of their team!  Happy Sales to you!

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It’s that time of year again when everyone makes a resolution they try to keep.  If you talk to anyone who has made a new year’s resolution, they may stick with it for a month or so and then it slips away so why do people put themselves through that?

I think New Year’s is just that, a new beginning – it’s a feeling that you can start over and put the previous year behind you and how many times has everyone wanted to do that?  With the past few years of this economic downturn, everyone just wants to move forward.

I think we should all resolve to see things in a different light.  We should stop talking about the past and move to the future.  I believe there are good things to come no matter how bad things may seem right now.  America is a country that fulfills dreams so we have to believe it will turn around and happen again.

No matter how bad you thought you had it in the past, there is always someone who has faced a more challenging situation…that may be hard to believe at the time but I think the past gives us the strength to face the future so no matter how challenging it’s been, it will get better.

The New Year’s Resolution for everyone…we all need to make it better – we must all believe it will all get better.  Attitude changes everything! 

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

If you’re like me, I know I do good work but I don’t always see the importance of what I consider to be small things, are actually part of a bigger picture and do matter and make a difference.

What I’m talking about is remembering all of your achievements no matter how big or small.  Did you do something to save money, to increase sales, to improve processes, etc?  All the things that you accomplish may matter at performance review time or when you’re putting together a new resume.

A professional journal is a good way to document daily or weekly successes you’ve achieved in that particular time frame.  It is important to keep a journal at work so when you have your performance review, you can actually show documented proof of those achievements and how it made a difference in the job you did.  You may have contributed more than you realize.

A professional journal reminds you of those achievements in the event you need to remember what you did to make a difference in your last job(s).  We often forget things we did in previous jobs that can make a difference in putting a resume together.  Employers want to see quantifiable results you either increased/decreased, sped up/slowed down or cut/reduced something and by how much.

By keeping a professional journal, it will make it easier to remember those particular events.  I would highly recommend a written journal and not one on your computer at work so in the event you leave your job, you will still have access to the information.

I found this tip of keeping a professional journal a great idea and I hope you will too!  It could be the difference of getting your next raise or your next job.

I recently attended a seminar that was about disarming conflict and confrontation at work and wanted to share some thoughts during the holiday season. 

Although we all face the challenges of being politically correct when we’re in an uncomfortable situation; there is much to be said about how you handle it.

Ask yourself if you are a good listener.  We all think we listen but how many times have you caught your mind wandering when someone is speaking to you.  Listening is something you need to make an effort in doing.  This in itself can reduce the challenges you face in the workplace.

When we are faced with someone we know doesn’t like us, do you get defensive or can you take his or her comments or criticism easily or do you take it personally?  One thing you must learn to see in other people is their particular personality.  You must be able to see that individual’s specific personality; we are all unique in how we approach things so if you can put it into the proper context of that person’s personality; you can avoid confrontations with others by just understanding who they are as a person. 

When people show you who they are, believe them the first time.  You can’t change anyone so the level of maturity you see and how he or she treats others is how they will treat you.  If you accept people treating you poorly, they will continue to treat you poorly because you accept it from them.  Don’t ever invest more in a relationship than what you can afford to lose; you will need to forgive in order to release it.

Have you ever let a situation take over your entire day and sometimes even overnight where you can’t sleep because of something someone said to you?  Besides it being unhealthy to carry that frustration, you need to let it go and not sweat the small stuff.  Not everyone is going to see things the same way you do and that’s okay but if you handle it the right way, you can let it go and move on to more important things. 

If others choose to talk about you, have the maturity to let it go and like yourself just the way you are.  If you consume yourself with someone else or someone else’s issues, you are just adding to your own drama and chaos and who needs those kind of headaches?  Are they worth thinking about them for any length of time…let it go!

Since we are in the holiday season, do something kind for someone you may have had issues with in the past.  Any small gesture can change a relationship and with all the pressures we face during the holidays, brighten yours by knowing you made an extra effort to change a challenging situation.  You won’t know the outcome unless you try it.

“The reasonable person adapts self to the world; the unreasonable person persists in trying to adapt the world to himself.” – George Bernard Shaw

Perseverance in not only important in this economy but at this time of the year and maybe even more important than any other time.  With the holidays fast approaching, it’s easy to take the end of the year and use it as an excuse but don’t be convinced or you’ll be unprepared in the months ahead.

It is easy for salespeople to get discouraged at the end of the year when you’re hearing “we have no more budget” or “we’re not doing anything until the new year,” or any other excuse someone can give you just to get rid of you, but don’t they always do that anyway?

The steps you take now will ensure your future success.  It is important to stay in front of your clients, especially at this time of the year.  It is also important to be setting your foundation now so when the New Year is here, you will be one step ahead of your competition.  Don’t just focus on your current clients but get in to see new clients.  One approach could be:

“Mr. Customer, I realize you may not have a budget at this time (or have no current needs) for our products/service, but now is a good time to meet so you can learn about what we have to offer so when the need does arise, you will be familiar with our company and how I can assist you.”

You cannot stop what you’re doing and let your guard down, especially now.  This is when you need to be speaking with new prospects and making more calls because we all know it takes more than one or two phone calls or messages for someone to remember you and what you are offering.

KeepItSimple but also keep the holiday season in perspective.  When the holidays are over you’ll be on the road again, presenting your products/services.  You will always encounter challenges and every salesperson hits a dry spell but perseverance is the key to getting through any slow period or challenging time. 

It may seem impossible now but remember, “this too shall pass.”  Making that one extra call a day can make the difference.

What do you consider to be more important to your customers’?  The price or the value you provide with your product or service?  Many people would say that it ultimately comes down to price.  If a customer believes that the price is the only thing that’s important to them; you have not done a good job of selling.

No matter what you sell, price is always a topic of conversation but like a job interview, it should never be brought up until the later part of your discussion or you will be seen as a commodity.  Within the staffing industry, although there are a lot of staffing agencies out there; they are not all the same – as with your product/service – there is a unique value proposition you need to state from the beginning to entice them in wanting to learn more.

Selling on price is like committing commission suicide.  If your potential client is using someone else, ask what they like about the other product/service – if they could change anything, what would they change?  No product or service is perfect, however, you need to be prepared to tell the good stories and even the challenging ones to allow them to learn how you would resolve any unexpected challenges or how you might keep those situations from happening to them.

Nothing is ever free.  Good service comes at a price.  Most of the sales positions I’ve held have had its competition, however, it’s how you handle that with your potential client that really makes the difference.  Even if you think you offer everything your competition offers, it’s that one little detail that every salesperson in your industry is assuming your customer knows but never tells them – then see the edge you have once you tell them something no one else is saying.

It’s all about being different and separating yourself from the others!  For those staffing agencies that think they all do the same thing, price will be their only ammunition because they cannot set themselves apart by anything but price. 

If you have an appointment with someone who already uses another vendor, there is a reason they gave you a meeting so you’d better take advantage of the time you have because you are usually only given one chance to dazzle them with your differentiators.

It doesn’t need to be so difficult.  KeepItSimple and you will succeed!

You come into work, you have 10+ emails, you need to make time for prospecting calls and then you see you have 5 messages from your most important clients, not to mention, you have a report due to your manager and it’s the last day to get your monthly expenses submitted – what do you do first?

Managing your time, whether you are an inside or outside salesperson can be a challenge.  The key to managing your time effectively is to prioritize your day.  First think of who you have made any type of commitment to whether it is getting someone information or making a phone call at the time you told them you’d call.  Then ask the question, where are my sales going to come from today.

It is imperative that you have a daily plan to follow.  Sure it can easily be pushed off track but that is part of managing your time effectively.  In sales, you need to be able to juggle multiple things at one time because your day can get to be overwhelming if you don’t have a plan to follow. 

Primary selling hours are usually 8:30am-4pm.  This is the time to be selling.  The reports are an administrative function and if you are too bogged down with doing administrative tasks, you cannot be effective in the primary selling times, which is what you should be doing as a salesperson.

If you need to be making “x” amount of prospecting calls, then you need to block off time in your schedule and stick to that time to make those calls with little interruption. 

Sales is all about customer service; if a customer has an issue or complaint, do not sweep it under the rug or move it to the end of the day, address it and move on – get it off of your plate because it will only get worse if you don’t put out the fire when it happens.  The worst thing you can do is ignore an issue.  Even if it can’t be resolved immediately; the client will respect you more if you tell them you are aware of it and let them know what steps you are taking or have taken to resolve the issue.

At the end of each day, you need to create a plan for the next day.  You may need to carry over any items you didn’t get to today since they still need to be done.  Save those administrative tasks for early morning or the end of the day.  Coming into work a half an hour early is a good idea in order to attend to those tasks so you can keep your selling time for just that – selling and making money.

Make sure you know what’s important to your clients and that should be how you manage your day.  Make the most of your selling time because at the end of the day, it’s all about how much you have produced and how many more clients have moved further in the pipeline and closer to a sales success story.

Planning your daily activities can make your daily activities much easier to handle if you think like a true salesperson.  Just ask yourself, will the task you’re doing or about to do going to result in a sale or will it keep a client?  If not, you may want to review your daily activities.


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