Today’s post is by Robert Rice, Account Manager at SafeSourcing.
The sales profession moves faster than ever today. In the blink of an eye, new contenders emerge, products similar to yours are released, and before you know it, it’s dog eat dog. No matter what business you’re in, what worked well a few years ago isn’t good enough today. This is no time for trial and error or order taking; this is a time to sell. Here are some basic steps you can take to improve your sales performance, reduce your cost of selling, and ensure your survival.
1. Explain your task. Start by understanding your business niche. What categories do we do best? Who needs what we do? How do we best approach these prospects? How much are they willing to pay? If these questions are not answered easily, campaign at the top for clarity and vision.
2. Break the task into specific goals. Write down the action goals (calls per day, events per month, referrals per call, etc.) that you can control. Set results goals (events per month, amount per event, profit per event, etc.) to measure your progress, and track them closely. Increase your activity and measure the results. Goals focus your attention and boost your action.
3. Sell to customer needs. Always assume your clients will buy only what they need. How can you persuade them what they need? Highlight the features of your product and service that reduce costs and solve problems for the client. Sometimes you can shift your wares. For example, we ran successful clamshell events how are they on office supplies?
4. Create and maintain favorable attention. Effective marketing, referrals, strong sales skills, and strategic questions are the keys to creating favorable attention. Diligent follow-through and above-and-beyond customer service are the keys to maintaining it. Think TQM (Total Quality Management)!
5. Sell on purpose. Know both what to do and why you’re doing it every step along the way. Who are you targeting and why? What are you going to tell them and why? What are you going to ask them and why? What is your proposal going to look like and why? When are you going to ask for the event? If you don’t feel sure of yourself at every step of the selling process, get some training or guidance.
6. Ask, listen, and act. Better than any others, these three words summarize success in sales. Your questions must be creative, planned, relevant, and direct. Your listening skills must be highly developed. You must respond and take action that prove that you listened to the client and want the event.
7. Take the responsibility but not the credit. Understand that you are the team leader. The company looks to you for direction and supports your effort. To build a strong support team willing to go the extra mile when you need it, give your team the credit for everything that goes right, and take the blame when it goes wrong.
8. Work on the basics. Even the best of the best have room for improvement. Make a decision to improve your weaknesses, and set goals to force yourself to do the things you don’t like to do. Be more creative in your prospecting, fact finding, and presentation skills. Visualize the perfect salesperson and compare yourself to the ideal.
9. Develop your attitude. Your attitude is controllable. No one likes a negative manager. Change the views that limit your success. Your thought behaviors control your obligation, interest, persistence, happiness, and confidence. Be aware of them, decide which ones are unproductive, and then make a commitment to change. With time and effort, you can become the manager they need, especially when profits are down.
10. Maximize your time. Focus on your goals. Test every action for its rank and urgency. Create an ideal schedule, and test your actual time use against it daily. Remember, just one hour a day used more productively adds up to more than six extra weeks of productive time a year. Someone told me many years ago, but it’s true!
Robert Rice is an Account Manager at SafeSourcing. Robert or any member of the experienced team at SafeSourcing would be happy to discuss how SafeSourcing can help you with your eProcurement planning. For more information, please contact SafeSourcing.
We look forward to your comments.