Sometimes an old way of operations can be adapted to a new era because it’s simple and easy.
FEB/MAR 2011 LCT: Motivations, pledges, checklists — closing good sales is the result of strong discipline and focus.
[EDITOR’S NOTE: This is the second part of a series gleaned from the Sell Like Hell seminar held Sept. 29, 2010 at the LCT Leadership Summit in Chicago. The first installment ran in the January issue and is posted at www.lctmag.com/articles].
What are you selling?
At first glance, this topic may seem too simple. Of course you know what you sell, but have you ever taken the time to map out on paper the features and benefits of what you sell?
This is a good exercise that will help you to know the answer to the question, ”What are you selling?” By taking the time and carefully answering the questions below, you will soon see how it will easily unfold and ultimately clarify the definition of what you sell.
Making a list of key information bits of “what I sell” and being able to look at them in black and white is a concrete tool with many uses.
Once you have it all down on paper, it can be used to create other documents such as advertising brochures, sales training materials, composing direct mail letters, and sales presentations, among others. All of these are part of your plan for a unique sales strategy.
Start by finding a quiet place with no interruptions and don’t forget the coffee. Now begin by writing down what it is that you sell and under that, answer these questions:
• Do I have the type of service the prospect wants? To whom am I selling? The discriminating taste of people that want premium-level service, business class, or a basic/standard service?
• List of all the features and benefits of what you are selling.
• Who are your direct competitors?
• Why are you better than them?
• List your most attractive features or benefits that make you stand out from all your competitors.
• How does my competition differ — by price, service levels, who they target, location, how their staff is trained, owner’s personality, etc?
• What kind of internal support do I need to keep my clients happy?
• Describe things such as on-time performance, amenities, technologies, chauffeur specialties (i.e. speak other languages, have bodyguard training, etc.) vehicle types, and how they benefit the customer.
• What markets do you cover and how is that managed?
• Payment methods: If any, list convenient ways for you to offer a customer to pay. This is often an overlooked benefit.
As you go through this list, more ideas will come to you about what you sell. Add them to your description because this is by no means a complete list of questions. These questions are only intended to get you started in exploring more of what your service is all about from the buyer’s point of view.
Salespeople get blamed for being disorganized. I’m not sure that’s the case as much as it is the challenge of multi-tasking, which is a myth by the way. It is not natural for a person to be able to do more than one thing at a time. A great sales person is listening to every word the client is saying and doing absolutely nothing else. They are not taking a note…that is for later. You cannot write and listen intently at the same time. Listening is most important. A client will tell you or your sales team what they need to make a buying decision. They will raise questions — which if you’re paying attention are merely concerns that you need to clear up for them in order for them to feel good about buying.
For example, “I think you have an impressive company John, but you are clearly a Chicago-based operator. Our C levels travel outside this area a lot. They mostly go to our San Francisco and Boston offices. I don’t want to hassle with piecing out our ground transportation. It’d be nice to only deal with you. What can we do here?”
Getting your sales team organized Let’s start conducting our sales efforts, beginning today, on the notion that we will segment our time — as in step by step, so we are doing one aspect of sales at a time, thus becoming more efficient. What are the sales MUSTS that go into an efficient and effective sales process?
• Daily and weekly goal setting
• Daily sales kick-off meetings
• Segmented times to do all aspects of the sales.
Daily sales kick-offs
This is the key technique to staying sales organized. Make no excuses and set the first half-hour of your business day aside, no matter what.
How many of you make time for coffee every morning? Well, according to the National Institute of Health, the average coffee break lasts up to 20 minutes. So, you can make anything that is important to you a habit. If you want to make more money, make sales more of a priority. If you think you don’t have time, then really make sales organization a priority. A half-hour per day to work out the kinks will potentially double your sales closing ratio that day.
What is the point of a daily kick-off meeting?
It is to motivate and rev up salespeople. This is an emotional game. A good sales manager is like that coach who can get a team fired up inside…and they don’t just do it once in a while. It’s in advance of getting onto the field every time they play.
Kick-off meetings also help salespeople practice overcoming objections from accounts and prospects. Remember that confidence sells, and practice makes perfect. Meetings also can help glean new ideas for closing; a good salesperson has a creative answer for everything. According to sales trainer Zig Ziglar, “People often say motivation doesn’t last; well neither does bathing. That’s why we recommend it daily.”
What if you don’t have a team? If you’re all alone, like me, here’s what you can do:
Make sure you have a place that does not allow for any interruptions for 30 minutes of your day. Spend 10 minutes on sales motivation web sites such as Justsell.com, and on daily inspirationals and/or devotionals, such as Light from Many Lamps by Lilian Watson, which is a collection of great quotes. But there are many places to go.
Also, spend 10 minutes making yourself laugh. Seek out humorous websites such as funnysalescartoons.com.
Remind yourself everyday of your goals…place visuals throughout your workspace of your sales goals and pictures of places you want to go once you hit your goal.
Motivated salespeople end up making more money, attracting more customers, finding more friends, and having more fun. Just as important is having more time to achieve their personal and professional goals.
Daily and weekly goal setting
Get ready to take your weekly sales action pledge every single morning:
I will set aside at least a half-hour to be involved in a sales meeting or conduct my own pow-wow to get myself in the right mind set.
I will always come to the meetings with a list of objections I need to talk out, a client-from-hell report, and a great inspirational quote and/or something funny to share with the team.
I will set aside at least two hours per day every day for cold calling.
I will call at least 10 companies per day/week that have never done business with us.
I will set up at least five in-person sales meetings this week for next week and beyond.
I will contact at least five of my existing clients every day as a service or upselling call.
I will follow up on at least five customer service comment cards every day to seek a sales opportunity.
I will ask for and get at least three new referrals to follow up on every day.
I will pledge to meet with my sales manager or my sales “buddy” at the end of every week to review my goals versus actual sales.
Every Friday I will work to create a target list of new and follow up accounts to sell to the next week. I will use my Fridays to get totally organized to hit the ground running on Monday morning.
I will review all of my accounts objections; I will study those objections and bring them to the sales meeting every day.
Finally, if you want closers, they need to have qualified prospects. Top-notch salespeople, including yourself, should not, and I repeat, not be saddled with the job of generating pre-qualified leads. This is definitely something to farm out.
Find a relative or friend, or hire a part-time college student. Anyone looking for a minimum wage job can do this, but please don’t make the mistake of wasting your good salespeople or your own time rummaging around on the Internet or calling 411 for a phone number. Leads should be canvassed using all means possible.
Sometimes an old way of operations can be adapted to a new era because it’s simple and easy.
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