2013 is here and I have heard New Year’s resolutions from so many, I just don’t know who can really deliver on them. An unknown author said “Many people look forward to the New Year for a new start on old habits.”
Human beings in any line of work could double their productive capacity overnight if they began right now to do all the things they know they should do and stop doing all the things they know they should not do. Most of us are standing in our own way on the road to success. What holds us back is that we all love to improvise instead of rely on processes that faciliated the right course of action.
Things salespeople should have on their daily not-to-do list:
- Don’t waste time chasing unprofitable leads.
- Don’t show up late for the call.
- Don’t make a call without a plan and preparation.
- Don’t pretend to listen; stay focused.
- Don’t talk about politics, religion or sex.
- Don’t talk about what you like, talk about what the prospect likes.
- Don’t talk about features without explaining the benefits.
- Don’t quote price before establishing value.
- Don’t skip steps in the sales process, stay on track.
- Don’t forget to up-sell and cross-sell.
- Don’t over-promise and under-deliver.
- Don’t lie; build trust. Don’t under-dress or over-dress.
- Don’t drink prior to a call; look your best.
- Don’t flirt with the staff; be charming.
Things sales managers should have on their daily not-to-do list:
- Don’t make hiring decisions based on your gut instincts alone.
- Don’t slip back into the role of the super-salesperson.
- Don’t claim you made a sale that you helped create.
- Don’t play favorites; be fair to everyone.
- Don’t accept incompetence; set the bar high.
- Don’t resist change, embrace it and lead the change
- Don’t reject technology because you don’t understand it.
- Don’t mistake sales increases with profitability.
- Don’t think that sales training is unnecessary.
- Don’t allow salespeople to put their monkeys on your back.
- Don’t criticize in public; offer performance feedback in a private setting.
- Don’t assign a $10-an-hour job to a $120,000-a-year sales executive.
- Don’t push your salespeople to success; lead them by example.
- Don’t think that your sales process is perfect; it needs to be renovated all the time.
- Don’t hide in your office, crunching numbers; delegate and invigorate yourself.
The magic of the not-to-do list
Think of your to-do list. It takes a lot of work to get things done. Chances are that you are starting the day with 7-10 major action items, and you are lucky if you are able to cross off the first three items by the end of the day. Start a fresh to-do list every day. Don’t agonize, prioritize.
The not-to-do list doesn’t change every day. This list doesn’t take more work on your part; it creates less work for you. It helps you recognize new patterns. It helps you prevent self-defeating actions. Like Michelangelo chipped away all the unnecessary marble from a gigantic block to create a masterpiece, your not-to-do list will bring out the best in you.
How can you drive new business in a downturned economy? Those that are involved in sales should find the answer by avoiding some common mistakes and taking some proactive steps. There are a few common mistakes that if corrected can lead to a healthier pipeline and better opportunities.
- Not spending enough time on sales prospecting, at a time when sales prospecting are needed more than ever.
- Getting discouraged, this allows your competition to take business away from your company.
- Not responding well when customers ask for additional concessions or not use a consultative sales process
- Failing to communicate the value that your company can provide for a particular customer.
- Missing the opportunity to wow existing customers.
By changing the behavior of the sales team on these 5 mistakes, you can find opportunities in spite of the challenging economy we’re all facing. Here are some ways you can overcome objections:
Don’t be surprised if your current customers ask you to make additional concessions. The prevailing bottom-line climate has created an increasingly frequent request by customers to reduce costs. Salespeople are being pushed more and more by customers for concessions, especially on price. This new business culture makes sales negotiation skills a top priority, and requires you to be confident and skillful at both giving and getting concessions. It is a 2 way street and customers need to understand that you are in business also which requires you to draw the line – set a target of negotiation well before you deliver pricing so you are prepared with the value proposition and why you can’t go any deeper.
Highlight the value that you can provide. You don’t always have to make a concession, even though times are tough. If you can provide value to a client in ways other than reducing the price, this is the time to do so and can be a “win win” solution for both of you. As an example, Equilibrium was recently asked by one of our clients to make a concession but offered instead to help them in some revenue-generating actions that will end up increasing both of our revenue streams, and negated the need to make a price concession.
This is the time to HUG your customers. What can you do to exceed your customer’s expectations? If you can provide them some additional service or benefit, at no extra charge, you will strengthen your relationship and set yourself apart. Jack Mitchell wrote a great book that talks about a proven way to personalize sales and achieve results by just caring a little more than your competitor. Remember the IT business is based primarily on relationship builiding – Hug your customers and they will Hug you back.
I hope that these few items will assist you as we continue to fight through an economy on the rebound.
Last week I wrote a blog for CompTIA titled “Eliminate the Fly By Business Plan”. In that blog I describe the syndrome that most organizations face without a proper plan for success. This week we look at another syndrome of demand generation!
Each week sales teams attend a status meeting where management exercises each member for a status on accounts. The reps do everything they can to justify their existence. The meetings are typically not productive since they rehash what has already been provided in the past. These meetings typically set a negative tone for the week and reps avoid management or their cell phone rings with caller ID that says “RUN”! Management teams need to get focused on why sales are down and what is keeping the organization from moving forward.
Well let’s start with something simple – demand and lead generation processes. Owners expect that when they hire a rep, that rep brings a book of business and that will suffice – It won’t! Reps will exhaust their book and will need help keeping their pipeline full of new prospects. This is where the organization needs to internally generate demand facilitating new opportunity.
So how is that done? First, a Sales and Marketing S.W.O.T. to understand where your organization has market specificity and success. After you determine your strengths evaluate the weakness, most likely what will be revealed is that there is no plan targeting the market that you have had the greatest success?
Developing a plan can be easy if you have the resources to help you engage with vendors, distributors and most importantly your own team. Your team is full of great Ideas on how to gain interest, build brand, and deliver on client satisfaction as well as demand generation activities. As a business owner, you must decide on a course and lead the team to the goals. Provide each member of the team a role in the plan allowing them to have vesture in the success.
So find a way to turn your existence meeting into a truly strategic event each week. Find balance between putting your rep on trial and helping them with demand generation. Watch how your team perks up as you gain ground with a plan to help them keep their pipeline full! After all they are sales people and if they are generating revenue, they are generating commissions. Do you know a sales person that doesn’t like commissions?
Are you getting my message….MAKE A PLAN!