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.
When it comes to selling and professional customer service, the top salespeople spend more time in going the ‘extra mile’ when it comes to the solution for the customer. Most salespeople will say that they do a good job, but the reality can only be assessed from a client perspective.
Only the client will know that you have done more than what was required and that you have really helped them. When you get this process right, you will get more enquiries and build a better database of leads and clients.
Our clients like to know that they are being helped by top salespeople and not being sold by an average salesperson.
Intelligent business people will choose the product or service providing all the elements of information, performance, services, and supply are available.
Here is a strategy to help you with your key accounts and sales:
- Seek to understand the need and the requirement before you sell the product or service.
- Provide information and knowledge. If you do this correctly, you will not have to sell and pitch much at all to close the deal.
- Be aware of the limitations on product and service availability. Do not overstate the supply of something when you really do not know the complete facts. When in doubt get the right information and check it out before you pass it on to the client.
- When the deal is being negotiated and documented, be aware of the order status and supply times. Remove any doubt from the clients mind.
- When the deal is done, follow through personally and ask if all facts and outcomes were as the client expected.
- Stay in contact for the long haul. Contact all your clients every 90 days or more so they feel connected to your business and services.
It’s not hard to be a top salesperson. It is really common sense coupled with great attention to detail.
The trends in sales enquiry and sales conversion will always help you with developing and implementing a good business strategy. Those salespeople that really know their way around numbers and ratios will usually rise to the top of their business faster than others.The fact of the matter is that numbers tell us things that are very useful; you can then adjust any prospecting and marketing activities that are not converting the business, and improve on those that are getting good results.
Here are some of the numbers that we track when it comes to business growth and levels of activity:
- Find out where the enquiry is coming from. If you do a lot of marketing in various channels of the media, work out what works and what doesn’t when it comes to marketing. They call the process ‘test and measure’. Do more of the things that attract the best levels of enquiry.
- If you work with or are in charge of a sales team, watch the sales and business conversions of all of your salespeople and then compare them. Some of those salespeople will be better than others when it comes to building momentum and sales. In many respects the results can be driven by the salespersons sales character and personal systems. If something works well for one salesperson, replicate it and spread it across the team.
- Do you keep specific numbers relating to your prospecting activities? The numbers to know and check on a weekly basis should be calls in and out, meetings held, sales made, and time involved in the sales cycle. Some businesses have very long sales cycle; all the more reason to have a ‘sales pipeline’ process.
- When you create a client relationship, the next step in the business cycle is to strengthen the sales relationship so you can sell them more product or services over time. Some of those clients will be of a Key Account nature; on that basis they will require the attention of your best people and client services.
- Lastly something should be said about ‘referral business’ and the obtaining of that business from existing clients. Do not overlook the opportunity here. Your existing clients know other people and on that basis some new relationships can be opened up.
When it comes to building a business or market share, systems work every time. This then says that you should develop a system of approach at a personal level and then make it a habit in your daily activities. When you make it a habit, you can improve it and that’s how results come in. Many salespeople struggle with the fact that ‘systems’ are required to help them achieve better success in their industry. If anything, that then makes it much easier for others that can develop a good approach to business with well-developed systems.
When it comes to building your market share or establishing your market share as a salesperson, a good database program or customer relationship management system will help you greatly. Keeping in contact with the right people in the right way is really what this is all about. Systems will help you do that and open the door with more prospects at the right time and in the right way.Here are some rules to establish a contact management program in your business:
- Define your market geographically so you know where your clients are going to come from. Unless you do this first, you could spend far too much time spreading your efforts too broadly and seeing little outcome. You want results as soon as possible and on that basis you should limit your efforts to a defined area at all times. Importantly that area should contain enough clients for you to focus on and convert to new business.
- Establish a list of raw data including a list of companies and people that should be contacted as part of marketing efforts. To keep the pipeline of opportunity moving ahead, this list should be added to daily at a rate of 10 to 20 people from selected businesses. Take care in setting the right level of decision maker that should be approached regards your product or service. Keep the calls going and eventually you will have a solid database of opportunity.
- Suspects are the people that you will be making contact with. They will come from the research undertaken as part of the ‘raw data’ stage above. On a daily basis, ring down your suspects at a rate of 20 per day. You will only reach 5 to 10 on average per day, so those that you missed out on should go back into the call register for another day.
- Prospects will be the people that you have spoken to and identified a need or interest in your product or service. When they are noted to be prospects, you should be moving them towards a meeting with you if and when such can be arranged. This can take time to achieve depending on their business and their need, so keep talking to them on a regular basis until you can the meeting that you require.
- Face to face contact is important in most industries before any orders are achieved. Rarely can you sell your services and products across the telephone. It is far easier to sell a meeting over the telephone and then to get to know the right people. Relationships are everything in business today.
- Hot Prospects are those people that know you and are actively looking for something to buy or sell as part of your industry and market type. Keep in contact with them every few days to open the door on a sale or order.
- Clients that you work with should be kept at the top of your contact register. The contact made will include calls, meetings, conferences, product or service briefings, product releases, and regular client events.
- Your competitor’s clients should get a special category in your database. Over time you can convert some of them to your clients, so a strategy of high priority contact should be established with these people.
Given all of these things, it is wise to ask for referral business whenever possible. Every client and prospect in your database will know other people, some of whom will be valid contacts for future business; ask the question at the right time with the right people.
One of the biggest challenges in business and in sales is in breaking old habits. If we cannot change old habits then we are trapped in the past and nothing will change for us as sales professionals. Every year the market, the competition, and the customers we work with will change circumstances and buying patterns. For this very reason, we need to change as salespeople, or improve on our daily efforts. Redundancy is not far away for those that cannot change their business habits.So why is it so hard to change old habits? It is quite simple to understand; we have had years of preparation and routine to set habits in place, so when you find that you are in a new market or challenging business situation, the change that you need to implement to adjust your focus is so hard to pull-off. Most salespeople can’t do it or lose focus quickly and return to their old ways.
This factor of reality can be a good and a bad thing, and here is why:
- It is good because most of your competitors will find it equally hard and time consuming to change their business plans and habits.
- It is bad because the effort and focus required by individuals to change their habits and approach business differently can be a difficult task for most.
A process of constant improvement and mindset to support it will usually take you to the top of your market. It all comes back to our ability to change in the right way and produce the results that the industry and market requires.
Given all of this, here are some tips to help you create change in your business and build some real momentum on a daily basis:
- Define what the market or your business needs now by way of change, and determine the habits that are required to deal with that.
- A small number of habits are easier to implement than a great number at once.
- Pick three new habits from your list of required changes, ensuring that those three habits are the most important in your list.
- Organise your day around the three habits. Without fail these three things have to be done regardless of anything else. At the start of every business day, the three habits should be implemented before anything else is attempted.
- Keep telephone calls and clients away from you at the start of the day so you can get these major and important issues underway.
- Track your progress when it comes to these things. When you track numbers and ratios, you can see when progress is starting and how valuable it is for you.
- It takes about 3 weeks to implement the required changes of habits for most salespeople.
Top salespeople in any industry know the value of action and focus. In reality, habits are precisely that; decide what will take you forward and start taking the required action. In a few weeks you will be seeing the results that you need.