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Networking Your Customers

Sometimes our perception of what’s rude or polite can be completely backwards.  Networking customers is just one such example.  We might think, “It’s rude to ask my customers for referrals.”  Of course, if your customer’s upset with their experience, or simply dislikes the product you sold them, you would be correct.  However, most products we buy are not a disappointment.  That may have been true a couple decades ago, but in today’s connected world, we can see numerous reviews and opinions on a product, long before we buy.  Therefore, if the customer is only reasonably happy, in your opinion, than you should ask for a referral.

Generally, our nature is to shy away from these questions, but just asking is a demonstration that you believe in the product, and you care about your customer.  Think about the number of times you showed off your car, a new shirt, the new iPhone, or a great restaurant.  In your personal daily life, you do this all the time.  So it’s only natural for us to refer our family and friends when we’re talking to each other, so why not ask your customer’s if they have a referral for you.

In business, especially business-to-business transactions, networking is everything.  It’s really the life blood that makes an industrious company expand and grow.  When you’re selling wholesale products like engines, compressors, medical devices, computer servers and everything else, you’ll find that networking will be your highest sales percentage.  This wholesale business is driven by word of mouth, and the sales experience you deliver needs to keep the conversation rolling.

Over the last few decades, imports have literally crushed entire industries, and significantly reduced domestic product sales.  Let’s face it, when the price of an import product is dirt cheap, you can’t sit back and provide the same customer experience, and expect better results.  The old saying, “Beatings will continue until morale improves.”, is just that, an old saying.  There’s no truth to it.  If you want better results, then deliver what your competition will not.  Networking is the lifeline of that experience.

One obvious way to deliver an outstanding experience is to focus on your product support.  When imports are coming from China, those imports are going to have a very cut and dry warranty.  More like a take it or leave it.  You get a cheap price, but don’t expect the product to last long, and forget about product support.  If you know your product failure rate is less than 1%, than you know what to expect for product failures.  You have the upper hand at delivering a superior product, with great product support, and creating the ultimate customer experience.  Setting up your product support to achieve a superior customer experience, is your ultimate goal, and this culture of customer loyalty will deliver powerful network connections.

As many companies have discovered, it’s not only about product price.  Customer’s have learned that you get what you pay for, and they’re willing to spend a little more for some peace of mind.  Use this knowledge to your advantage, and make sure the customer’s experience plays into their perceptions.  Don’t just talk about it, deliver it.  Here on the Sticky Pod website, I had a suction cup guarantee that no one else even offered.  You could buy my suction cups, use them all you want, and if you weren’t thrilled, I would send you an envelope to mail them back for a full refund.  I would even refund your shipping.

Where else can you get customer feedback, except from the customer?  Asking a customer for a referral is a great way to open the door for feedback.  You’ll know immediately if the customer likes you, your company, and your product.  This is the valuable feedback you need, and it’s as easy as asking, “Who do you know that needs some of our products?”  There’s many ways to phrase this question, and it’s a question that should have a major company focus.  It’s best if it’s asked by your frontline salesforce, but making sure you ask is the most important.  Sometimes you can’t have your salesforce ask, such as a waiter, because it’s an awkward moment, but regardless of this fact, someone must ask for a referral.

When you look at my business practices, I delivered an experience that no one else even offered, and it put a $$ million dollars in my pocket.  That’s delivering!

Next week we’ll talk about not getting discouraged, and the sales expectations you should have.  We’ll break it down by the numbers so you know what to do, and how many times to do it.

Until next week,
Tom Heibel
423-342-6300

 

Effective Sales Techniques

Effective sales techniques can be an oxymoron to many, but to some, it’s all in the wrist (figuratively speaking).  In any company, 80% of sales are produced by 20% of the sales force, and 20% of the sales are produced by 80% of the sales force.  In the car industry, the top 5 salesman easily make for 60+% of all monthly sales, however, when you think about the daily life of a salesman, the only difference between a good salesman, and a bad one, are their habits and techniques.  They’ll spend the same amount of time at work, they’ll have the same number of customers, but one salesman gets it done, while the other struggles to even understand the process.

Sales production is more than just personal habits, it’s about understanding your surroundings, and adapting your techniques.  What’s your environment, and how do you use your environment to your advantage?  This is why I say that sales are much more than an afterthought.  Failing to properly understand your environment is equally as bad as not asking for the sale.  Let’s start with habits, and incorporate these habits into our work environment.

Habits

When you think about habits, what you want to understand is that every effective salesman has effective habits.  That’s why one of the top selling books on sales is titled, “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People”.  Think of these habits as your building blocks, and simply use them everyday.  For example, your daily sales habit might consist of the following:

  • Arrive at work 15 minutes early
  • Check current stock of inventory
  • See if there’s an excess stock of specific products.  XL shirts, 2013 Ford Mustangs, Brown Coffee Mugs, Pink Running Shoes
  • Pick your favorite stock, and match to a customer
  • Know which stock is, or will be, the hottest seller
  • Review your customer database (of course you must maintain one)
  • Respond/compose emails until 10am
  • Complete all emails by Noon
  • Eat a light lunch and drink plenty of water
  • Start phone calls after lunch
  • Prospect for new customers starting at 3 until you leave
  • Make your to-do list for tomorrow
  • Stop by the bank to unload the wheelbarrow full of commission money (my favorite part)
  • Go home, relax and forget about work

As you’ve seen in my previous articles, sales has requirements, and salesman have requirements.  For example, to sell a lot of product, you must have inventory, and a lot of it.  A salesman must also meet requirements for any sales to happen.  A good night’s sleep is a great way to start.  Don’t just make this an afterthought, make this a requirement.

Now that you see the basic premise, let’s change the environment.  In the list of daily habits above, this would be a good list for someone working on the east coast or the midwest, but it might be a disastrous failure for someone working on the west coast.  Why?  The time zone differences.  By the time you get into work on the west coast, the east coast companies are already out to lunch.  So you may want to set your morning up to prospect for new customers, then your phone call, and then follow-up with emails.  Why?  Because, as you’ll discover, people prefer to talk on the phone later in the day, and they always check their emails first thing in the morning.  It’s tiny little changes, such as this, that can make the difference between a modest $60,000 income and an obscene $180,000.  Obscene is good in this case.

As you can see in each scenario, the list is the same, just a slightly different order.  So the point is, don’t just work hard and beat your head against your desk, work smart and you’ll close more sales.

So how do you know what to do?  Well much of your sales day is the same.  At the start of every day, you must know what’s available to sell (your inventory).  At the end of every day, you must create your to-do list.  Lunch is the same for everyone, and arriving early, then staying a little late is always a good policy.  Seriously, if you were the top salesman in your company and you showed up a little early and stayed a little late most every night, don’t you think the boss would look on you with favor?  Of course they would!  Respect, praise, great pay, and a relaxing work environment is the dream job for anyone, sales or not.

When it comes to your sales environment, probably the number one concern is your physical location.  If you’re working for a national company, it’s crucial to know the physical location of your customers.  If you don’t have an assigned territory, do your best to focus on a specific region of the country, and handle the strays as best you can.  If you’re working for a local company only, such as repair services, car sales, local marketing, food sales, etc … then stick to the list above as your daily template.  Tweak it a little bit for your particular needs, or company products.

Techniques

Always remember to tell your customer that they are your priority, and that’s why you come to work everyday … for them.  This is crucial, regardless of your location, or the product/service you’re selling.  It’s little details such as expressing a grateful sentiment, that separates the great from the poor.

As you can see from the list above, habits can be the difference between greatness and mediocrity.  So your ultimate goal will be to turn your techniques into your habits.  So when I’m talking about techniques, you get a glimpse of what I’m referring to when I say, “tell your customer that they are your priority”.  This is a simple, and truthful, technique that will win your customer over.  Which brings me to my first technique.  What are you going to do to win the customer over?  If you can’t win the customer over within the first 15 to 30 seconds, you’re probably not going to make a sale.  Here’s what I did as a car salesman, and you should definitely do this as well.  Please take this technique because it works, and it’s the truth.

A customer would drive onto the car lot, and get out of their car.  Now all customers say the exact same thing when you approach them.  “Just lookin”.  Now you could take a defeatist attitude and simply state, as almost all car salesman do, “I’ll be right over here if you need anything.”  Of course, the customer doesn’t find anything, because the salesman failed the customer within the first 30 seconds.  Here’s where your habits come into play.

A good car salesman showed up early, test drove every used car on the lot, I mean every single one of them (!), and then picked out the best one’s.  We called this “cherry” picking.  These were the cars that we top salesman were going to sell that day.  Failure to do so probably meant we weren’t going to get the sale on that car, someone else would.  Probably some rookie.  So after cherry picking the cars, we knew exactly which way to steer a customer when they drove on the lot.  Do you see where this is going?  Now when the customer started walking up and down the cars, and we asked, “What can I show you today?”  The customer’s response, as always was, “Just lookin”.  So we would say, “Well you don’t want that car, you want this one over here.”

Do you see what happened?  In one short sentence, the customer is getting good guidance from the salesman.  You just won the customer over, and you haven’t even introduced yourself.  This same technique works with every customer, in any sales situation, but you have to be ready.  You must “know” what is best, not just guess or blow smoke at your customer.  Your habits must support your technique, and your techniques must become your habits.

Another must do technique is to ask for more than one sale.  Yes!  It’s that simple, and it works with any product.  It goes like this, “So we have one of my personal favorites (pink shoes, brown coffee mugs, Chevy truck) in your shopping cart, would you also like the black one as well?”  It’s that easy!  I am stunned at how many times people will say yes, and you just doubled your sales in one short sentence.  I can’t stress this enough, this technique works over 50% of the time, and you should be asking 100% of the time.  This single question alone can earn you the top salesman of the month, every month.  I used to use this as a car salesman, and it worked all the time.  You would be shocked at how many times the customer would say, “I don’t need another, but my brother does.”

It’s like shooting fish in a barrel!  The customer experience is taken to a whole new level, and you just earned a whole new level of respect from both the customer, and your company.  The first time I did this, was during my time selling cars, and I was just kidding!  I wasn’t using it as a sales tactic, I was joking.  I added this to my techniques immediately after, and I’ve never stopped using it.  You make sure you do as well.

Showing you appreciate your customer will always deliver more sales into your pocket.  Gaining their trust and confidence is everything.  Of course, you have to mean it.  Liars are easy to spot, and bullshit smells.  So another technique that’s a must is expressing how you can serve your customer better, faster, and more efficiently.  Here’s how it works.

Regardless of whether you get a sale or not, with every customer, we want to know what we can do to make their “experience” (pay close attention to this word) more enjoyable, and more effective.  The conversation usually goes like this … “I’m sorry we don’t have that model in stock right now, but we’ll get it out to you early next week.  Since we didn’t have it in stock, we’ll ship it overnight so you’re not inconvenienced.  Since I have your ear, what can we do to make your experience with “Our Company” easier and more enjoyable?”  Of course, the response is usually, “I think we’re good.”  That’s when you say, “How about I send you an email when we get the new models in?”  As you can see, this conversation isn’t about getting a sale right then and there, but engaging the customer, and doing right by them, is always appreciated.  Is the customer going to tell you this?  No, but in the back of their mind, they just experienced a level of service that they rarely, if ever, receive.  This will score big points for you, and that’s the relationship you want.

In every interaction with our customer’s, we need to ask ourselves, “What’s the experience I’m delivering?”  If you’re down in the dumps, stressed, frustrated, lacking in product knowledge or inventory, then let’s face it, you’re not delivering a good experience.  This is not only a bad technique, but it can develop into a bad habit.  The customer experience is everything, and delivering is the only thing that produces results.  Think about the news reports you see when Apple rolls out a new iPhone.  Customers in line, laughing, smiling, having a good time.  Sales associates high fiving customers as they walk through the door, and cameras all over the place.  Believe me, it’s Apple that creates this experience, it doesn’t just happen on it’s own.  If you could, wouldn’t you like to be a part of the Apple iPhone roll out experience?  High def cameras, people cheering and clapping, people laughing and having a good time, and then you get the latest and greatest new iPhone.  Now that’s a sales experience!  It’s brilliant, and similar techniques can be used in every business.

As you’ve been reading this post, some new ideas should have come to mind.  It’s important that you write these down, and try them in your sales approach.  Create a plan, not just an outline.  Write down some key phrases, and always ask if the customer would like two instead of just one.  Earn their trust by steering the customer away from bad cars, shoes, coffee mugs (products), and steer them to your favorites.  It takes a little time to establish a successful track record, but focusing your efforts on establishing a customer’s trust and appreciation, you’ll likely see results immediately.

Next week we’re going to look at networking your customers.  You probably believe that it’s rude to ask a customer if they have any family or friends that need a car, shoe or coffee mug (your product), but you would be very wrong.  How many times have you told your family and friends about your iPhone, TV, or shoes.  You do it all the time.

Until next time,

Tom Heibel
423-342-6300

 

Sales Revenue Streams

To say the least, modern day sales revenues routinely range in the billions of dollars.  Making a few million, has become commonplace, even for small one man operations.  So how did we get to making such a vast amount of wealth, in just the last few years?  The answer has it’s foundation in technology.  The advancement of computer technology has made business, BIG BUSINESS.

We can deliver a sales “experience” to the customer, unlike anything in our world history.  One small company, can seamlessly and effortlessly, integrate their business fundamentals with the largest multi-billion dollar companies on the planet.  Take Apple for example.  They have an entire developer network dedicated to assisting the individual with the development of any app/software on the iOS platform.  Never, in the history of business, has any powerhouse leader ever embraced the small entrepreneur with such dedication.  Just imagine if Andrew Carnegie, steel magnate, had established a devoted business division to help pave the way for new steel products developed by small, often one man, entrepreneurs.  The world we live in today would be a much better place, and Carnegie would have destroyed his competition because of the devout customer loyalty.

When we look at history, and see what we could have had, this should have you asking, “What can I do?”  To say the least, there are more business opportunities today, then in any time in history.  The better news is that it’s catching on, and growing at an exponential pace.  Gone are the days of industry leaders simply focusing on destroying their competition.  This new found cooperation is focused on taking new and innovative ideas, often times born from the ideas of small entrepreneurs, and turning them into the next billion dollar product.

To say the least, past business models had their limitations, thankfully those days are gone, and today’s modern business has a wealth of revenue streams to manifest greater profits, and growth.  Here’s just a few of the obvious:

  1. Website integration
  2. Automated reordering
  3. Technical knowledgebase
  4. Apps for that
  5. Social networks
  6. Virtual networking
  7. Video tutorials
  8. Global communication

In the past, businesses had primarily, mail, telephone, television, radio and print publications as their primary means of revenue generation.  Today, as you can see from the list above, we have all this and much much more.  A small town donut shop has instant global communication if they plug their business into the web.  Not only can they simply broadcast, “We’re Open” for business, but they can also use that same technology to actually produce sales.  Place your donut order online, through an app or website, and pick up your order a few minutes later, or schedule it for the next morning.  No waiting, no worries, and the technology takes the customer payment, and delivers the funds right to your bank account.

Let’s put together a scenario that anyone can accomplish with any size business.  Let’s say you’re a large manufacturer of air conditioning compressors.  You have a variety of models, you have a sales staff, and you run that sales staff as all companies do, by using people to maintain customer accounts.  The people involved are your sales staff, your billing, your shipping and your marketing.  Because of the policies you have in place, everything moves in a smooth rhythm and flow.  A customer calls in to your sales staff, asks a few technical questions, places an order, pays for the product, and waits for their new a/c compressor to arrive.  This is all well and good, but this is how all your competition runs their businesses as well.  Is this all that can be done?  Of course not.

Taking this same scenario, now the customer opens your app on their iPhone, enters the model number of the competitor’s broken a/c compressor, which automatically matches the competitor’s model with your product replacement, and they push the “Buy Now” button in the app.  The customer credit card info, is stored with your merchant, and you generate a sale in the blink of an eye.  Shipping receives the order, with proper invoicing verifying payment, and they ship.  You generate a sale, in a fraction of the time it would normally take, and the experience your customer has with your company, is overwhelmingly positive.  The customer’s happy, your happy, and you’ve mastered another revenue stream.

Now you can replace industrial air compressors in the scenario above, with literally any product or service.  Often times, services require no interaction by any personnel, and you make money.  Now that’s the American dream!

So how are you maximizing revenues?  Do you reach out to your customers, or do you cling to the antiquated business models of the past?  If you’re not capitalizing on all revenue streams, you’re leaving 40-60% of your revenues on the table.  That’s 40-60% that your competition can snatch up, and they’re happy to do so.  You may as well hand your business over to your competitors if you’re simply going to ignore the options currently available to you.

So how effective are your sales?  Do you capitalize on all revenue streams, or do you make excuses?  When I look around at how most companies run their business, I have to scratch my head and ask, “Do you hate money?”

Next week, we’re going to look at a few salesman techniques that are guaranteed to deliver higher sales from every order.

Until next time,
Tom Heibel
423-342-6300

 

Leads, Leads, Leads

In sales, leads are everything.  It’s not enough to beat a path to your customer’s door, you need to walk that customer down the path.  How are you going to bring them to the closing table?  To say the least, the first thing you need are good leads.  In most companies, the leads you need are already in the customer database.  Past customers that have been orphaned by previous salesman can count into the thousands.  These are some of your best opportunities, and the best part, the customer is either for you, or against you.  There’s no need to convince them to buy, because they either like you, or they don’t.  They’ll have a very clear opinion about the company, and they’ll tell you right upfront.  This is good, because you don’t have to waste time with angry or disgruntled customers.  You can simply focus on the customers that like your company, and let the marketing department try to win the upset customers over.

Here’s a good point to maximize your revenue potential.  Is marketing running your company, or is sales?  To say the least, most companies put marketing well above sales, and that’s just wrong!  The hierarchy of any company goes in this order:

Sales
Inventory
Management
Everyone Else

If you’re not following this structure, you’re failing.  For some reason, many companies place marketing on a high plain and never consider that marketing is a very tiny percentage of their company.  It’s your sales action plan that brings in revenues, not marketing.  Marketing is simply brand awareness, and an introduction to your products.  It’s what you do with the customer that makes your revenues.

The two words Steve Jobs hated the most, “branding” and “marketing”.  Products aren’t sold because of their company logo, or their funny commercials, they’re sold because of the experience the customer has with your company.  If it’s a good experience, you can have a loyal customer for life.  If it’s a bad experience, then you have an uphill battle to win them back.  These uphill battles are the responsibility of your marketing personnel.

Of course, establishing new customer relations is the responsibility of your marketing department, but in many companies, it’s the responsibility of the salesman.  Unfortunately, this is a waste of a salesman’s time and effort, but it just comes with the territory.  While you want your salesman to be selling, many companies don’t see the need for both marketing and sales.  They just lump it all together.

Take a car dealership for example.  Once a new salesman comes on-board, and proves they can sell, the marketing personnel, usually the ladies in the office, should be sending out postcards, with the salesman’s name on it, to encourage the customer to make contact with the salesman.  The salesman should not be doing anything except taking care of customers that walk through the door, and setting appointments with current and new customers.  Having the salesman do a lot of unnecessary work when you’re paying marketing personnel, is a recipe for revenue loss.  Why generate 60% of your revenues, when you can have 100%.

All this brings me to where you can get leads.  Your marketing department should be looking for leads from compiled government records, credit repositories, and data mining companies.

For example, if you’re selling cars, your State has vehicle records that you can buy.  You can even get records on the types of cars that person has owned in the past.  If they’re brand loyal, you can designate this when you purchase your list.  If you’re a Chevy dealer, just say, “I only want a list of Chevy owners.”  Now if your State doesn’t sell them, there’s sure to be a private company that will.  Data mining, the process of collecting personal data for sale, is a multi-billion dollar industry, and they make their money selling information.  There’s no limit to what you can buy in these lists.  You can get all the basics, and even request personal demographics such as income, car purchase history, number of children, race, religion and more.

These same lists can be purchased for any industry.  It doesn’t matter if you’re selling airplanes or zebras.  If you want to know if someone owns a zoo for your pet zebra, you can buy a list for that.  A lead list is as synonymous as an iPhone app.  If you need one, there’s a list for that.

Let’s say I wanted to start selling bird feeders online.  I’m a one man business, with a small wood shop and I can make some very cool looking bird feeders.  So I start selling my bird feeders on Craigslist, eBay, and Etsy, but I also want them to be in local nurseries.  Local crafts are always a good seller and good for the local economy.  Of course, I could simply look up the local nurseries in town, but what about homeowners that fit my customer demographics.  If elderly white women, that own a home, are my popular buyer, than that’s the list I buy.  Since I have a product that people aren’t going to buy very often, customer’s typically don’t need six bird feeders, I’ll need to cast a wide net.  Of course, mailing postcards to renters and young men still living with Mom and Dad, is never going to pay off, so I make sure to buy a list that fits my demographics.

Yes, you can buy lists of people from a multitude of demographic data.  You can drill into this data and pick out just what you want.  Want to know who owns a Mercedes? There’s a list for that.  Need widowed, white men that own a home?  There’s a list for that.  Want to promote your automotive service department and you want car owners that drive older cars?  There’s a list for that.  Do you sell injection molding parts for industry?  There’s a list for that.  Want to sell crucifixes to Catholics?  There’s a list for that.

To say the least, marketers have it easy these days.  They can buy lists and get a company running and profitable in just a few days, instead of years.  It’s not difficult at all, and data mining companies are anxious to sell you the data.  Here’s a few:

Acxiom
Experian
ThomasNet
GlobalSources

These are just a handful.  There’s many many more and you can easily cross reference the data to verify you have good leads.  Buy a list from Experian, and verify it with corroborating data from GlobalSources.

Next week, let’s take a look at revenue streams and how to generate 100% of your revenue potential, instead of the 40-60% you’re producing now.

Until next week, thank you for reading!
Tom Heibel
High End Sales

Sales vs Marketing – Are They The Same?

To say the least, the world of sales has never changed more dramatically than it has in the last 15 years.  Just 20 years ago, most people had never heard of the internet, and today, if you don’t have the mad skills to make the internet work for you, you’re going to fail.  You might be intimidated by technology, but you have no choice except to master it if you’re striving for successful sales.  The internet is a great place for both marketing and sales.  So where does marketing fit into all of this?  Let’s take a look at both, and make a clear distinction.  While they have overlapping roles and goals, they are very different.  It’s these subtle differences that you must be aware of to make your career a success.

Marketing:  the action or business of promoting and selling products or services, including market research and advertising.
Sales:  the exchange of a commodity for money; the action of selling something.

Do you see how similar these are, and the very subtle differences?  So subtle, you might ask, “What’s the difference?”

Marketing is all about brand awareness, and it is actually subordinate to sales.  This is the single most important part of this post that you must understand to make your business successful.  Marketing supports sales, not the other way around.  This hierarchy is clearly one of the greatest mistakes any business owner can make, and here’s why.

While you can read endless articles about, “How to run a successful business.”, the reality is, there are only two types of businesses.  Those that “hope sales happen“, and those that “make sales happen“.  Yes!  It is that black and white.  What does your business have in place to make sales happen?  If you don’t have a plan, then you’re going to be out of business in no time.  This is why so many businesses fail right from the word go.  Owners think they have a good idea, but they fail to establish a thorough sales action plan.  Simple questions like, how will the customer reach us?  Should we setup a website?  If so, what do we want it to do for us?  What are we going to “do” to “make” that sale happen?  Sales take action (see definition above), and if you don’t have a proper action plan, you’re not going to make it happen.

Marketing, on the other hand, is a part of the sales process.  It’s the method by which your company injects the customer into your sales process.  Marketing is something the business owner should be concerned with, and not something for you, the salesman, to worry about.  With that said, it’s required that in the process of marketing, you guide customers to your sales process.  Offering a “call to action” is the best way to get the sales process rolling.  Don’t just place an advertisement that says, “Here We Are, We’re The Best”.  Make sure your ad encourages your customers to make contact with your sales action plan.  Scan this QR code for a free “beer”, “t-shirt”, “coffee mug”, or some other giveaway.  Get the customer excited about your company, and let your pre-planned sales process take over from there.

In my sales career, during part of my sales process, I’ve always asked a simple question of every customer, “What can I do to make business with us easier?”  Really what I’m asking is, “How can I make your purchase transaction (the exchange of a commodity for money, which is an action) easier so you’ll come back more often?”  Do you see why I ask this question?  You should make it a part of your daily sales conversation, and never forget to ask.  And now that you’ve asked the question, make sure you have a plan to implement that customer’s request.  Often times, my answer is a simple, “I review all my emails early in the morning, and that can be the best way to get your order in right away.  Just send me your list, and I’ll get it down to shipping ahead of everyone else.”  Sometimes I offer the customer a simple reminder email on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis.  These are ridiculously easy to setup, and they can make you the top salesman every month, with little or no effort on your part.  See why you must master technology?

Do you see from the paragraph above, how I take “action” to “make sales happen.”  It’s these sales actions that you need to focus on, and it’s what separates the men from the boys.  This is not about brand awareness, advertising in the local newspaper, publishing a website, social networking, or printing posters.  While these are all actions, they are all beneath the sales process.  Now you need a plan of action to make that sale happen.

So what’s your sales plan of action?  What’s your list of must do’s?  Here’s a short list to help you along:

  1. Focus on your actions, and don’t worry about other salespeople, your boss, or your sales goals.
  2. Have a daily game plan.  Emails in the morning, phone calls done by noon, appointments all afternoon.
  3. Know what to say, and stick to it.  Print a checklist and put it in front of you.  Be scripted.  Write down what you’re going to say.  Don’t just generalize, put the actual questions you’ll speak down on paper.
  4. Be concise and focused.  It’s fine to build rapport, but always move the conversation toward the sale.
  5. It sounds cliche, but always put your customer first.  Their best interest, is your sales success.

Now that you have the customer taken care of, what are you going to do to finish that new sale transaction?  You just landed the biggest sale in the history of the company, something you should always be striving for, but now you need to deliver that sale.  It is part of the sales process to make the commodity exchange.  Never forget that.  It’s one thing to get the commitment, but now you need to tell your co-workers what to do next.  Sales will often times have a few delivery requirements.  The new super computer needs to be built to specific requirements, strapped to a pallet no more than 4 feet X 4 feet, insured, and delivered to the dock before noon.  This is all part of your responsibility.  Even if someone else takes the reigns and gets the commodity delivered, you need to know where your sale is at every step.  Why?  Because it’s also your job to follow up with your customer’s.  It gives them an opportunity to give you feedback, or to make another sale.

The truth about sales is it’s the lifeblood of your business, and it takes an action plan to pump that blood.

If you don’t have a plan, sit down today and make one.  If your company has no clue what they’re doing, and most do not, then it’s up to you, the sales professional, to make a game plan for them.  That’s what they hired you for.

Next week we’ll take a look at what you can do to generate leads, and get right to the doorstep of your customer.

Need a sales plan?  Of course you do.  Just give me a call and book some time to learn how to be a powerhouse business owner.

Thank you,
Tom Heibel
423-342-6300