KeepItSimple

If you are a salesperson who handles the initial part of a sale and it’s handed off to a team to implement the product or service; you may not truly get the customer service aspect of sales.

As the old adage goes “people buy from people they like.”  Many salespeople struggle because they don’t know how to handle a problem when it arises.  Have you ever had a client call you screaming about the product or service you provided them?  This can make for a difficult day; however, if you handle it properly by acknowledging their concern, you will gain a lot of respect and save a client.

The main reason you should be selling on value rather than price for your product or service is your worst customers will be the ones who beat you up to get the lowest price.  Now, just because you aren’t making any money on that customer, you still have to give them the same service you give to those who paid more.   Why?  You never know when that person can change jobs within their current company or at get a job with another company in the future and it can pay off for you in the long run.

How you treat a customer before, during and after the sale is critical to your success.  You need to have a scheduled plan for follow-ups after they make a purchase.  Whether you are going to get future sales from them will depend on how you treat them after the sale.

How many situations have you been in where you never heard from the salesperson once the sale was made?  They suddenly forget you existed once they have their money.  When you don’t get even a thank-you or after you bought something, they appear greedy and ungrateful.  Every sale, no matter what you’re selling, deserves a thank-you – whether it is verbal or written – it is simply common courtesy.

Another important point to make is within our job market today, you may need your clients to help you find your next job if you are suddenly displaced.  Be very careful and think about your actions –  not only with your customers but for your peers as well.  You never want to burn any bridges.

As you may already know, it is a small world and you will continually run into many of the same people if you stay within one industry.  People never forget who treated them poorly but they will also remember who treated them well because typically, they end up doing business together far into the future with those that appreciate their business and show it.

A prospect can have a lot of expectations and in order to know those expectations, you will have to ask this question before they buy and use those expectations as a closing tool.

“Remember, People don’t care how much you know, until they know how much you care.”
      

I went to an SME event today where the speaking was an excellent sales trainer.  It was very motivating, which is why I decided to attend this event in the first place.

Kordell Norton is a consultant for organizations that want increased leadership, sales, strategic planning, and stronger teams (right from his Bio).

Now I don’t claim to know everything and hearing someone talk about all of the social media as it relates to your selling skills is definitely someone that will put you in the right direction.  We can never know too much and when you attend any type of sales training; I’d be surprised if you didn’t pick up at least one new approach you could use on your next sales call.

Kordell had a very unique and creative way to show how each generation sees communication and its evolution over the years – giving insight to the decision makers and how they see things so you know who you’re selling to in order to do an effective job.

Here is one example I found to be extremely helpful:

  • White Pages = Facebook
  • Yellow Pages = LinkedIn
  • Water Cooler = Twitter
  • TV Station = YouTube
  • Library = Wikipedia
  • WebPage – WordPress/Blog

This analogy is a great way for everyone to understand how fast things are changing and you’ve got to keep up with it or you will be left in the dust and truly behind your competition. 

Kordell had a very entertaining approach to his training and I think if you’re going to keep the audiences attention, you need to have someone who has an energetic personality.  For me, the best sales trainers are those who can make it fun and keep it interesting.  If you don’t have someone like that, don’t expect to get your money’s worth.

When I leave a training session, I reflect on the presentation and how it kept my attention – if I even looked at my watch once, it’s over!  With Kordell, an hour seemed like 15 minutes and I found myself wanting more information. 

If you’re looking for a good sales trainer, make sure you do your homework on anyone that you hire.  It is important that your sales group get some ROI when going to any type of training.  They need to implement, implement, implement.  Using one new sales approach can make a big difference.

I’d say “happy selling” but that seems to be the new buzz phrase in sales right now.  Selling can be fun – of course, even more so when you’re closing deals so go out and make something happen!

A common challenge of any sales manager can be to identify the right salesperson for your organization.  It can be hard to obtain the best of the best in this type of role since there are all types of salespeople and it depends on what you need for your business.

In this economy, a lot of organizations are saying they are looking for “hunters” or “road warriors.”  This is nothing new in the sales arena; they are simply buzzwords.  They are trying to attract those salespeople who are going to obtain new business.  Any sales position that I’ve ever had has always been about building your own book of business through prospecting through cold calling and networking.  It has been about opening newaccounts.  No company wants to risk having all of their eggs in one basket.  This economy has surely brought everyone back to the basics of getting new clients on an ongoing basis.

Perception of titles can be conflicting as well.  A Sales Representative is responsible for handling sales from start to finish.  An Account Manager is managing current accounts – or that’s what I’d perceive the definitions to be.  Then there is the Account Development Manager or Regional Manager – whatever you choose to call it, it is simply sales.

There are two ways you can gauge a candidate’s sales abilities and creativeness they can bring to the table.

  1. When you call them for the next interview, ask them to prepare a presentation on the product/service.  Then instruct them to do the presentation for you when they come in.  This will give you the opportunity to see how much information they can uncover on your company/industry as well as showing you their presentation and selling skills.
  2. The other option is having them prepare a 30-60-90-performance plan.  By giving them this task to complete before the next interview, you will be able to determine their planning ability as well as having a plan already in place if you choose to bring them on board. 

How was their presentation?  Was it a clear and precise plan?  Are their projections realistic in the industry?  Do they have confidence in their plan?  Evaluating their approach to either of these approaches can answer a lot of your questions as to finding the best fit for your organization.

You can use either one or both of them to get a more comprehensive idea of  their preparation and how much they researched your organization/industry as well as their true sales ability in planning and presenting, which they would need to be able to do for any potential customer if hired. 

Their ability to build relationships is the key to any sales position in the new economy.  Clients want to work with people who see their challenges and understand what their priorities are in their business so it is a good idea to have them start with showing you that they can do this from the beginning.

Do you have other hiring ideas that have worked for your company?  Please share those stories of how you’ve identified great salespeople for your company.

Social Media has become the new buzzword in business.  You can’t read anything without a reference to Twitter, Facebook, YouTube or LinkedIn these days.  I have attended numerous webinars where the speaker has either experienced great sales success or taught others how to create their own business success by utilizing these new tools.

There also seems to be some controversy as to whether or not cold calling is dying or if it’s still part of every sales person’s job.  I think with Social Media avenues, it is going to change how we sell, however, I don’t know how you can get past cold calling especially if your organization doesn’t spend a lot of time or money marketing your products/services.

I do think we will see a shift in how we sell by utilizing Social Media but as everything else, it is the basics that need to be adhered to if any salesperson is going to have success.  Time and time again, I’ve proven that when salespeople get off track or hit a rut, it is the basics that have usually been put on the back burner and the salesperson needs to be reminded that the basics of selling always hold true.

I think that the plus side of selling via Social Media is being able to reach the masses much easier and run promotions or sales campaigns in a different manner.  The challenge will be hitting your target audience.  I’ve been thrilled at the fact that I can obtain great information through some of the experts in the sales industry by following them or reading their blogs.

From Twitter to Facebook to LinkedIn, they are all connecting the world in a way we’ve not seen before.  I believe that things are a changin’ and that during this economic recovery that we are experiencing, it will prove to be interesting to see how people revitalize their businesses by using Social Media.

Get creative and stay on top of technology – it will dictate your success or failure.  Educate and then implement!

I’ve been amazed at the new friendships that I’ve found through social media avenues.  It’s been very enlightening and educational to read the blogs, tweet and connect with some of the world’s most prominent people in the sales industry.

It is hard for some of those people who have never experienced this new world of communication and wealth of information; however, they have had to learn fast if they are going to succeed in the future.

Just in the past seven months that I’ve learned more about social networking, I have seen it explode, especially Twitter.  I’ve been on several webinars where I’ve obtained a wealth of information – almost so much it’s hard to comprehend and utilize on a regular basis.

The challenge in the future will be for organizations to figure out how to corral all of this information and measure everyone’s performance on the utilization of these new tools.  That opens a whole new can of worms for organizations on how to advertise their product and get their message out to their target markets in an appropriate yet professional manner.

Then the question arises – how much can people really take in during a 24-hour day never mind in an 8-hour work day?  There is a wealth of information but how to utilize these tools to grow your business will all be through trial and error and learning from other organizations that have made mistakes along the way.

This exploding new world of social media, as it has been for a lot of people, can be overwhelming but I am anxious to see how I can utilize it in my next job and learning how to manage it.  I love a challenge and I do believe this would qualify as an exciting new way to grasp the technology the internet can provide.

Go and prosper for today is only the beginning!

I think by now anyone in sales realizes that the game is changing due to the economic turmoil we’ve all recently experienced.  Not only are sales a primary focus of most organizations more than ever before, it will be critical to be the best you can be at what you do as a salesperson.

It seems as though a lot of organizations have realized that having all your eggs in one basket isn’t a safe way of doing business.  One hiccup in the economy now can mean your company will survive or it will fail.  A great deal of them today are seeking “hunters.”  It is important to diversify and have a mix of large and small company’s and not assume you have anyone’s business; you will have to work even harder now to keep that business.

The biggest change I see taking place in the sales arena will be that you will have to not only present a good price for your product or service but you will have even higher expectations from your customers to deliver the best service possible.  It has always been my approach to sell on value and the quality of what you sell rather than price.  The adage of “you get what you pay for,” will now be even more scrutinized when a company is making decisions.

Gone are the days of sales people “riding” the wave.  It will not only be those who are experiencing sales for the first time, it will now be the entire sales forces responsibility to uncover new business and your performance will be based on the amount of new clients that are obtained on an on-going basis.  No matter what level you may be or what you may be called in the area of sales; your job description will surely include opening new business on a regular basis.

How we have been doing business will change in the future and will never be the same or the way we knew it before this recession but that may not be a bad thing!

Only time will tell.

There is something to be said for those salespeople who can “think out-of-the-box” when it comes to capturing a prospects attention.  As many of you can appreciate all of those creative commercials on TV that left you with a lasting impression; the same goes for your sales approach.

It doesn’t have to be corny but it can be a bit off the wall of the normal approach to get their attention.  I have always utilized an approach that was very successful in my sales roles no matter what it is.  It’s hard these days to get your prospects to remember who you are, especially within the staffing industry because you need to be able to differentiate yourself from the many other services out there.  What would make them remember you?

I utilized the TAPP (Target Account Promotional Program).  This is a six-week program, same day/same time each week, where you drop off an item with a saying printed on the back of your business card.  The third one I used would always grab their attention – I used a banana – yes, a real banana!  The saying was “we would go banana’s if you would do business with us.”  It always got someone to answer the phone when I did a follow-up after that third drop off.

The success rate was 50% appointments made out of six companies chosen for that round of drop-offs  – those are good results when you figure it may have taken months to get into some of these companies.  Keep your time and territory management in mind when you’re doing the six companies so they are all in the same general driving area.  You can do it by mail as well but I’ve found the drop-offs work better.

Try it, it works!  Not only will it get you appointments, it will help you build rapport with the receptionist since you just drop the item off for the appropriate contact.  They anticipate your visit after the second one wondering what you are bringing this week.  It’s fun and it will get results.

Let me know your ideas or comments on this one!

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