In sales today, we can easily get bogged down in doing things that are of little value to our careers. We have to do these things because we have a client or a boss in the background pushing the issue. This type of work is called ‘reactive’ and it doesn’t disappear (unfortunately).
The key to a successful sales career is to balance your work between reactive and proactive work. If you can spend at least 1/3rd of your day on proactive things, you will generally see a growth of market share and opportunities.
It is worth noting that many salespeople never get out of the ‘reactive’ zone of work. They are constantly battling between the requirements of the market, clients, customer service, the boss, and the competition.
It takes some time to shift your work patterns from reactive to proactive. Set yourself a pattern of work that gradually moves you away from the things that are wasting your time. After about 4 weeks you should have achieved the result and momentum you are looking for. You owe it to yourself to make the business change. Soon your commissions or income will improve as a result of you proactively moving ahead with the right elements to your business.
In sales it is wise to remember the factors of ‘reciprocity’. The act of giving freely and willingly has great impact on attracting repeat business and return customers. Clients know when you go out of the way to help them with their situation.
Certainly ‘reciprocity’ will help build your profile, trust, and respect with the customer. Be prepared to do some things for ‘nothing’ understanding that the person you are helping will really value your interest and help.
Consider these questions:
- How long is it since you ‘called in’ to talk to that customer who purchased from you last year or some time ago? Go back through your database to find the people that you can help and support further.
- What could you do for your customers today that would be of value to them? Go and see your clients and customers. Get in front of them at every opportunity when ‘in the field’.
- When the last sale went through, what did you do to extend the value of the product or service? Could you have done more?
- What can you do with your clients today to show them that you really value their business and contact?
It is a fact that people like to do business with those that they trust and respect. It takes time to achieve that profile; certainly reciprocity will help greatly as part of that process.
Find the people that you can help and go out of your way to do so. Over time that will bring you more clients and lots of repeat business. Establish the relationships with the right people that you know are of value to your business and your income.
When it comes to working in sales, albeit in any industry, it is essential that you have a solid and reliable prospecting model established at a personal level. That will be something that works for you and you can commit to every working day.
The reason why prospecting and networking has to occur every day is simply that consistency builds results. Lack of call and contact consistency tends to ‘reset the numbers’ and you lose ground on all the efforts and things that you may already have done.
Here are some top tips to help you get your system up and running:
- One of the most important parts of prospecting and networking is to create a habit in your business diary. A regular habit of prospecting and networking will take you forward in the marketplace. That being said, it takes quite some time to modify your business skills and habits. That can be some weeks of deliberate prospecting effort of before you accept the requirement to do the job in that way.
- Focus on just a few prospecting activities but make them quite effective and consistent. I go back to the point that consistency will be critical to the results that you achieve. Like it or not, the cold calling process will be part of your prospecting model. Reach out to new people every day through fresh telephone calls, direct letters, and door knocking. Use your business card as an affective and timeless business tool.
- The prospecting process is not a sales pitch. It is a communication between two people to establish common ground and potential interest. When the client or prospect appreciates your knowledge and skills, the chances of new business escalate. It is just a matter of maintaining contact over time and waiting for the right opportunities to arise.
- Every prospecting call should be focused on the opportunity of a meeting. Meetings build relationships, and relationships lead to potential transactions, agreements, and contracts.
- Provide valuable market information and resource updates to your clients and prospects. At every opportunity and certainly on a regular basis send out product and service updates. Follow-up that information with a telephone call or meeting. Most of the business you create will be through a personal relationship built over the long term with the right people.
- 6. Practice your dialogue for presentations and prospecting. At every opportunity refine the words that you use and the phrases that relate to your product or service. Regular practice will help you with your conversions in prospecting.
It is not difficult to rise the top of any industry as a top salesperson. It is simply a matter of determining the right processes to support your actions and activities. From that point onwards, you repeat the process is every day and consistently grow your client or prospect database.
A clear advantage here is that most salespeople do not have the commitment to do the work required in prospecting and networking. That leaves the marketplace wide open for those quality salespeople that can get their industry and focus under control.
When you work as a professional salesperson in any industry, the only way that you will achieve a dominant market share and a good income is through putting your heart and soul into the selling process. Over time that will help you with building your business and your income.
Professional selling requires practice, good market knowledge, excellent product knowledge, and total personal commitment. Not all salespeople will check all these boxes when it comes to personal performance and business focus.
It is worthwhile saying that many salespeople are not totally committed to the task and the clients that they serve. They prefer to work the hours of an ‘order taker’ and not a top salesperson. That being the case, it is better for them to work in customer service. Let the front line sales go to those people that know how to encourage the transaction, and value to the customer, and grow the relationships over time.
So let’s go back to the point that top results require a top salesperson with a quality level of focus. Here are some points around which you can build your sales business and your leads and opportunities:
- Most customers and clients don’t want to be an experiment when it comes to placing an order or achieving a result. They like to know that they are working with the best people in the industry with the best product or service capability.
- Providing you have a top quality product or service to supply, most of the upcoming new business that you will generate will come from personal relationships established over time. This then says that you will need a good prospecting model and contact process to implement with all of your clients and prospects. It is a personal process that cannot be delegated.
- It may take three or four attempts at contacting the person before a meeting can be arranged. It may also take two or three meetings from that point onwards to establish a potential sale or order. Consistency and persistence within your prospecting model will be essential to building market share.
- Enthusiasm, knowledge, and trust are key elements to the client and customer relationship. Most of the people that we work with will want to see all of these elements before they share their business opportunities with us. Those salespeople with lower levels of integrity or attention to detail will usually not last in any industry over the long term.
- It should be said that people like to do business with the people they know and trust. Top salespeople rise to the top of their industry due to the levels of trust and the relationships that they have established.
Whilst the process sounds basic and simple, many salespeople overlook the necessity to follow through on the points of establishing new relationships and strengthening trust with their clients and prospects.
Forget about the need to make a sale, and focus on the relationships that you require; the business will come your way over time. Put integrity back into your selling processes.
In professional selling in any industry you will meet many salespeople that have a drive and a passion for what they do. Those salespeople will form the top 10% of the market. The fact of the matter is that the most successful usually have a ‘lust for growth’. That is a growth in clients, sales, opportunities and market share. They strive to build things and improve their performance in many different ways. They can see the road ahead.
So how does one get this magic elixir as a salesperson? It’s a ‘mindset’ that when nurtured helps actions and results evolve.
If you want to dominate your market and your industry you must start with the ‘internal’ stuff first. Over time your focus and your efforts must improve and that is a personal thing. Breaking old habits and setting new ones can be a real challenge; many salespeople fall back into the ‘comfort zone’ and struggle with the change.
Here are some tips to help you effect change and growth:
- Understand that there will always be opportunity around you. It is just a matter of digging to find it.
- Build your working day to a system and a plan of action. Regular steps and action can take you forward.
- Establish clear goals that have real meaning for you and where you must go.
- Track your progress every step of the way.
- Look for mentors and highly experienced people that have achieved what you are looking to do. Success always leaves clues.
Growth is a good thing. Champions of any industry have a real lust for growth. You can too. Drive your sales career with a real lust for growth of market share and income.
No client or prospect likes to be pressured. The days of a ‘canned’ sales pitch are well gone. The clients and the prospects that we serve are well placed and very experienced to make choices. In fact I would go so far as to say that they expect choices to be provided as well as your recommendations as part of any professional service.
All of us have seen the ‘push’ approach in sales; customers today are inclined to back away from any ‘pushy’ salesperson unless ‘desperation’ is part of the buying equation.
Choices give a client or a prospect the respect that they deserve; they also have a feeling of trust when the choice process is implemented.
Here are some rules to help you with this ‘golden rule of selling’. See if you can improve the approach that you make in client contact and with your business presentations:
- Choices help you close the sale. In fact, the client will ‘close’ themselves with the choices you provide if you plan them well.
- Show the client just what is available today and how easily they can purchase.
- Show the client how the various options that you offer can be implemented. Make it easy for them to move ahead.
- Make clear recommendations based on 3 or so options that you put forward.
- Tell some stories about other clients and prospects that had similar challenges and just how they solved their problem in a positive way.
- Have plenty of pictures and graphs to support your marketing material. Facts and figures should always be supported by graphs and pictures. Clients tend to believe what they ‘see’, rather than what they read.
- Key questions will help the client handle challenges. Questions will help them move through an issue and look at a method of resolve.
- Big negotiation problems can be handled by the use of a ‘Freudian Slip’ process. You simply ask the client lots of questions around and about their problem. Soon they will be giving you the answer that they need to make a purchase.
- Provide some testimonials to give the client or prospect some comfort as they move towards an agreement or final decision.
All of this is based on common sense. There is no need to ‘push’ your products and services through to a sale. Offer alternatives to your clients and prospects and show them how easy the choices are. Give them the ‘logic’ to move ahead. Allow real trust to develop as part of the client contact process.