I always get a kick out of companies who hire sales people with “experience", hand them a product book with pricing, and tell them to go out and secure new business. Sure, they save money on product and sales training in the short run, but they might lose potentially great salespeople too. As a salesperson, you can hope your sales manager knows what they're doing, or you can take matters into your own hands by building and protecting your own sales assets.
Protect Your First Impression by Knowing Everything about Your Product: When you stand in front of a prospect or customer and they know more about your business than you do, it’s time to go home. Whether it’s insurance, gasoline, machines or anything else, make sure you know what you're selling and that you're able to explain it simply and concisely. If you can't, your dog will happier to see you than the prospect or customer you're about to impress with how much you don’t know.Very few business owners make their purchases based on an “I have to have it no matter what it costs” attitude. If they did, sales would be a simple game of who gets to the decision maker first. That’s not the case. Businesses flourish as the result of good fiscal management. If you want to flourish, you need to have a good explanation as to why someone should spend their money with you.
Protect Your Sales Pitch with Solid Economic Justifications: When it comes to a serious purchase where good value and a workable price are important, the very best tool a salesperson can use is the economic justification summary. Presented correctly and professionally, it will secure the order more often than not. It’s also an excellent tool to use to determine where to spend your time. Do your research so you'll know if your product or service makes economic sense for a potential client. If it doesn't, don't waste their time, or yours.I've seen many salespeople fail simply because they didn't plan their days, weeks, and years. In sales, if you're not producing the revenue expected of you, you're likely to become an expense your company decides they can't afford. It’s true you won't always have control over getting someone to sign on the dotted line, but you have absolute control over increasing your odds of making it happen simply by preparing yourself for success.
Protect Your Career with a Plan: It’s simple and straight forward: Plan—follow up, then plan—follow up, etc. If you do this, then you have a very good idea of where your money is coming from. Do you know which accounts are a definite? Do you know which prospects are ready to do business with you? Do you regularly review where you are and what you have to do to correct any potential shortfall? Are you concentrating on revenue? Or are you wasting your energy on activities that have nothing to do with increased revenue?When you take the time to regularly review your sales assets, you are protecting them by making sure they are all in tip-top shape. It’s a solid investment towards your continued success.
Alan Luoma is a Sales Coach and Speaker with extensive experience in industrial sales, sales management, and sales and product training. He holds key accounts with a national sustainable packaging company, is a motivational speaker, and provides sales training to individuals and groups. He is a member of the Hartford Springfield Speakers Network. You can view his profile on LinkedIn, or contact him at Luoma@snet.