How to Manage Your Time in Business and Create Better Sales

Today it is the case that most business people are quite busy most of the day.  Some of the day will be wasted on things that really don’t matter, whilst at other times there will be some really important things that just have to be done.  If the equation is not carefully managed, stress and poor performance will be the outcome.

To get more done in business today there are a few things that you can do to improve your results.  Here are some tips for that:

  1. Clean up your workplace so you can see the work and know what is really important.  To do this you will need a clean desk.  Remove everything from your desk and put it on the floor.  You can then sort through the things that have to be done and those that really don’t.
  2. A clean desk helps you get things done, so don’t for any reason use the desk as a ‘dumping ground’.  A cluttered desk reflects in your thinking and your actions.
  3. Simplify your day into the things that really matter and those that don’t.  If you work in sales or a similar intense profession, your time is really important to the outcomes that you get.
  4. At the beginning of the working day only do the things that really matter.  Set aside 2 or 3 hours for that.
  5. Plan your day each night with a written diary.  The process of chunking your time in a written diary helps you plan the things that you must do.  A computer based diary does not do that as effectively.  The reason for this is a known factor of RAS (Reticular Activation System).  It is a process of the frontal lobes of the brain, and when utilised correctly you will find that results will come your way.

You are the person to take charge of your day.  You have the thinking processes and are at the controls.

When it comes to business performance, a person that feels that they are ‘in control’ is a person that will get a lot more done and build a better business.  Strive for that ‘control’ factor; soon your business will start to move ahead.

How Dominant Salespeople Drive More Business

When it comes to working or leading a sales team today, you need a balance of sales professionals to drive your market share and build the opportunity.  There are essentially two different types of salespeople in most businesses; one type is quite dominant, whilst the other is relationship orientated.  They both serve the business well; however they do require management and direction.

The dominant salesperson is the one that tends to drive more business and momentum for the team.  That being said, this dominant type of salesperson is quite independent and can create polarization within the team.  They require management and leadership.  They expect to be guided by a strong team leader.

It is interesting to note the number of these salespeople within the one team can create difficulty.  Given that each salesperson will be quite independent, they do not integrate well with the other people and team members.  This is again a job for the leader to control.

Here are some traits that relate to the dominant salesperson within a business team.

  1. They will be goal orientated and largely focused on their momentum and results.  This means that they will never really be interested in the greater results of the team.  They will be focused on themselves firstly and the team secondly.  Whilst this focus still brings results, it does require firm management and leadership.
  2. They are highly competitive and want to see results when it comes to the deals that they work on.  This is good as they will drive the deal and the opportunity forward.  When a client or a deal gets weak or off track, they are likely to move on to greener pastures.
  3. They are selective when it comes to clients and customers.  If any client looks like a time wasting exercise, they will move on and get away from it.
  4. They are tough and firm in business relations.  That being said, they still need to be professional.  That process requires management.
  5. They can be quite opinionated, stubborn, and decisive.  The traits in themselves are not bad, they just need to be managed and directed.
  6. Sometimes you find that this person is a workaholic and focused mainly on their goals and work system.  They hate to be redirected to someone else’s plan or requirements.  Generally you find that this salesperson will avoid team meetings simply so they can get on with producing results for themselves.

Every sales team requires a few of these team members; that being said they require good management and control.  They expect to be guided and controlled by a team leader that they can look up to and learn from.

How to Handle the Fear Factor in Sales Today

One of the biggest problems in sales today is the fear factor.  It holds back many a salesperson from getting on with the job and creating results.  Top salespeople deal with the problem; others struggle.

Fear of the process comes in many forms.  Here are some well-known stoppage points for salespeople:

  • Not getting sufficient focus on researching the right prospects and targets
  • Not wanting to talk to new people that you have not spoken to before
  • Struggling with the systems behind ongoing contact
  • Taking the easy way out when it comes to building the database and new contact register
  • Not recording the days actions, meetings, results, and calls into the database

Make no mistake here, in any industry and market there is always massive opportunity awaiting the salesperson that can get organised and active.  The difference between a top salesperson and an ordinary one is in the amount of directed effort that they take every day.

So, I go back to the point that you have to do the hard stuff.  It cannot be passed on to others; it is all up to you.

The best way to deal with this and get some momentum is to follow these rules:

  1. Determine the things that must be done and are not being actioned now.
  2. Define the problem, attitude, or hurdle that is holding you back.  It is likely to be internal and impacted by your thinking.
  3. Create a day plan that incorporates the things that you do not want to do.  It is best to get the hard stuff done first up; if you do not follow this rule, you will find excuses later in the day and disappoint yourself with no action at all.
  4. Start taking action with one small step at a time.  Small steps soon create a habit and that will break the barrier of reluctance or fear.
  5. Shape your thinking to be more positive and aligned to your business goals and career.  Be determined to do whatever it takes, no matter how hard that may be.  You have the power and the process tools at your disposal.
  6. Get some simple resources around you so you can streamline your actions into a system.
  7. Track your progress so you know that you are improving each day.  As you see more results you will soon know that things are heading towards the goals that you have set yourself.
  8. Habits are a big part of being successful in sales and customer service today.  You can set the new habits in place; it takes about 3 or 4 weeks for that process to occur.  Until that time you will struggle with the discipline however the rewards soon come in.

It should be said that a career in sales today is highly rewarding to those that work hard and to a system of approach.

Asking Key Questions of Your Client Wins More Sales and Better Market Share

Sales teams today should remember the high value of asking the right questions when touching base with new clients and prospects.  In saying that, it is the concept of ‘drilling down’ on information that is most important.  Meaningful information is the key; attempting to understand the client in all respects is really important today.

Have you ever come across a salesperson that starts a conversation, asks a few questions, and yet never really listens to what you have to say?  You can see their disconnection or lack of connection in their eyes and body language.  It is remarkable just how disruptive these salespeople are to the overall client relationship that we are trying to build.  These salespeople do not build market share or long term client relationships.

So what can you do?  You can learn how to really connect with your clients and prospects using well-structured conversation and questions.

Here are some ideas and rules that should apply to the client contact and relationship in sales today:

  1. Always be prospecting.  Recognise that every client relationship is an opportunity to connect with other people through relationships and referrals.  Encourage conversation to link with more people.
  2. Use more ‘open questions’ when talking with clients so you can get back relative and valuable information.  Whatever the client may tell you in conversation is an opportunity to drill down on their answer.  Think or use the ‘three times’ rule when it comes to questions.  From every client response you can ask three questions to go lower into the issue.  Encourage deeper questions.
  3. Empathy is a valuable tool in client connection.  Show the client interest in a number of ways by really listening to what they say and agreeing with facts and concepts.  All prospects and clients like to be approved and correct.  They like to know that they have your respect and interest.
  4. Tell a story as part of the client conversation.  It is a known fact that stories relative to the situation are highly valuable in gaining the clients interest and attention.  It is likely that they will remember the story long after you have gone from their office.
  5. The 60/40 rule should always apply in client meetings.  You should only talk 40% of the time.  The client should be encouraged to talk 60% of the time.
  6. After every meeting with a prospect or client, send a ‘thank you’ message.  Make the message different and relevant.  Use something that the client will appreciate and not expect.  Send a letter or a note in the mail.  Send an SMS to thank them for the contact.

Successful client contact and connection will be built from consistency and relevance on your part.  Be prepared to be different and of value to the people that you contact.  Be a professional and valuable business acquaintance.

Sales Pitch and Presentation Strategies

The sales pitch or presentation process can be far more productive when you set yourself some clear rules.  Many salespeople are unprepared for what the client may say or push for.

Rules keep you to the process at hand and the way in which you really want to take the business on.  Consider the following questions:

  • What will you say when the client asks for a discount?
  • Who are the right people to service the client and how will that be done?
  • When will the product or service be available for the client to access?
  • What if the client wants special arrangements made relative to the sale and the supply of goods?

These are all very common issues that we come across in business today.  Every client will have unique circumstances and challenges that they may try to force upon us in the ordering and supply of goods and services.

This then is the real illustration of why you really do need some rules as part of your sales pitch and presentation strategy.  You will never really know what the client has in mind before you meet with them.  Preparation is the key to creating a good order.

The rules of business and your product or service that you set, will help you handle the challenges that the client may throw you as part of the connection and the presentation.  Be prepared for every situation and challenge.  In most cases the client will have prepared a list of challenges and requirements well before they meet with you.

These are the common rules that are used when it comes to most sales teams in supplying their specialized products or unique services.

  1. The availability of goods and services will have certain limitations.  Whilst there will be some margins for change, the limitations will be there and you need to know what they are.  There is no point taking on an order from a client if it cannot be satisfied within the limitations of time, quality, and availability.  Many businesses today will lose clients simply because they have not respected the supply chain or or the process beyond the ordering system.  The sales team needs to understand the process of supply and just how the administrative team can respond to the order.
  2. The order that you take will need to be processed in a particular way.  If you sell a number of goods and services, each particular sale will need to fit into some special process of supply, understanding that quality and service will be achievable and sustained through a controlled system.
  3. Your staff involved in the satisfaction of the clients order should all completely understand and adhere to the sales and supply process.  It may be that the key account has a particular manager involved in the process, however other staff need to respect how the order will be satisfied.  Everyone needs to work to the same system.
  4. There will always be limitations as to how much of a discount you should provide.  When that limit has been reached in any presentation or sales pitch, it is best to walk away from the business.  When you cheapen the price of your goods and services, you threaten the stability of the ongoing relationship.  Ultimately the client wants top service, timely supply, and good quality.  Discounts do not allow you to achieve that.

These three factors indicate that the way in which you present and pitch your products and services will need to be carefully considered and set within certain rules applicable to the reality of the business environment and the way in which you can supply and satisfy the order.

Setting Performance Measures in Sales Teams Today

In business today, it is very much the case that performance should be regulated in many different ways within a company and within a business unit.  Performance can relate to a number of things including:

  • Financial
  • Customers
  • Sales
  • Service
  • Repeat business

This would then suggest that the performance measures and benchmarks should be carefully considered for the category of activity.

Far too many managers and team leaders see performance measures as a results based tool that they use to counsel staff on personal performance.  It is far more productive to look at the performance measures and the business team based on improving activity and outcomes.

If personal performance is an issue for you in today’s business environment, consider the following aspects of team performance first as you establish your business model and review the activities of individuals.

  1. The results of the team should be assessed overall to identify history to date, current activity, and future opportunity.  Look through the market to see what your competitors are doing that may be different to you.
  2. Some people within the team will stand out as real achievers.  They should be encouraged to share their information and systems amongst the greater team.
  3. Develop the concept of a high performance team and a high performing team champion.  These can be monthly or quarterly assessments and awards as part of your ongoing performance plan.
  4. Make sure your performance measures relate to the business strategy and not just basic results.  Most of your tracking systems should assess nonfinancial outcomes.  Look at the numbers of staff, clients, sales, time of supply, and key accounts.
  5. The benchmarks that you choose should vary from location to location given the impact of the local market and the existing client base.
  6. Expect that your benchmarks will change over time and on that basis you will need to check performance levels at the end of each month.  It is not unusual to vary the benchmarks in your performance budget as the year progresses.  There is absolutely no point in having an unrealistic performance budget that simply confuses people or drives clients away.
  7. Provide fast feedback to the team from the benchmarks and results plan.  When something changes, the team needs to know.  Focus on the team performance rather than that of the individuals.  In most cases, salespeople will respond to team encouragement and team opportunity.

It is a changing business environment.  On that basis we need to be wise and diligent in the business monitoring process.  Sales and client opportunity doesn’t disappear.  It just changes and we need to adopt and adjust our processes to those changes.

Improve Your Sales Presentation and Sales Pitch

Prospects and clients expect us to present our services or products professionally and clearly.  When they ask us to present, they want the facts and the all the information.  It is almost like being the centre of a commercial.

For this reason it pays for you to have a well-honed and practiced method of presenting and pitching your services.  Top salespeople know how to do this in a way that suits their character and that of the client.  They adjust their pitch accordingly.

There are essentially 4 key characters that can apply to a prospect.  One of those characters will be much stronger than the rest.  Knowing and adjusting your sales pitch to that main character will allow you to tap into the client; you can do that effectively in ways that they understand and appreciate.  You ‘tune’ your presentation to the client.

So let’s go back to the rules of presentation.  You can set your own, but for the moment you can start with mine.  Over time you can refine these to suit your product, service, market, and industry.

Here are some rules for great presentations:

  1. A presentation does not need to be all about you.  It should be adjusted to absorb and discuss the client and their needs.
  2. Create a conversation that feeds through your presentation; clients like to be involved more than just the object of a ‘pitch’.
  3. Get to the point as effectively and clearly as you can.  If you sell complex products and services, you will need to consider the ways to help your prospect understand what you are talking about and why.
  4. Most clients hate to be ‘sold’; they do however like to be helped.  Understand how you can ‘help’ them and why that should be important to them.  Give them the facts.
  5. Have resources and materials that can be used in the presentation to give the right message.
  6. Have some stories that can be fed into the presentation and told to the client.  It is a known fact that clients like to hear stories about others and the market.  They will remember stories long after you have gone.
  7. In some ways your presentation is a question and answer process.  Have good questions and selectively probe for information.  Be natural and connecting in the process.
  8. Get the client to agree as to the next stage of contact or move.  Every meeting should lead to the next stage.
  9. Some words connect and sell concepts better than others.  Many books have been written on those words.  You can practice them and merge them into your presentations and pitches.
  10. Be a problem solver.  That is what most clients and prospects are looking for.  Do you know what problems you can solve?

These 10 simple strategies will help your presentations and connections with clients.  Refine them and shape them to your needs and market.

Gain an Edge in Professional Selling

Today there is a real importance and skill in professional selling.  Our professional skills are not so much about the process of selling but about the process of relationships.  Those relationships that we have with our clients and prospects are really important to the future of our business.

When the very first contact, those relationships must be encouraged and grown from a base of quality, confidence, and integrity.  They all go together and create a factor of ‘trust’ in business.  Strong and productive relationships with clients are the result of effort and skill.  Here are some ideas to help you with that.

  1. When we eventually get in front of our prospects we have to immediately send the right messages.  That will be in many different ways.  The client will be interpreting us and our multiple messages.  Sight and then sound will be the order of the contact interpretation.  Content really does not matter until you have won the trust of the client.  They must see that you are ‘relevant’ to them.
  2. If the client has not met us before, the visual messages that we send will be the first things to be interpreted.  Are we confident in our manner and how do we dress?   The first 15 to 30 seconds of entering the room to meet a prospect are the most important.  Every visual signal that we send will be watched and absorbed by the client.  We will be judged in that first 15 to 30 seconds.
  3. Make all your business processes look professional. That will start with the things that we use in the pitch or presentation with the client.  Are your contact tools of the highest quality?  Can you use them with confidence and style?  The client will watch what we do at the table or in the room with them.
  4. We all know when we see a salesperson that is not neat and organised.  We generally do not want to do business with them.  Risking all our hard earned cash with a poor quality salesperson is not on the agenda for most clients.  Now it should be said that many salespeople are not overly organised; it is a general problem with the ‘sales’ character.  If this is a problem for you, then you must not let the client see that.  Everything that you do in the presence of the client must be of the highest quality.  Work on your shortcomings so the client does not see them.
  5. Use the voice and dialogue of a top salesperson.  Practice what you say and how you do it. Take your product brochures and price lists, and then practice the ways that you can talk about them.  Jargon should be dropped out of your dialogue as it shows a lack of disrespect for the client.
  6. Make sure that you have all the latest information and industry updates about your product and services.  You need to be one step ahead of the client, so that every conversation is informative and valuable.
  7. Do you know why a client should do business with you?  If you can’t answer that question, you should not be in selling as a career.  Establish clear reasons why any client should choose you as the best supplier of your goods and services.  Communicate those reasons with direct and relevant conversation.

In professional selling today, everything that you do should be improved and optimised.  That takes constant practice.  The word ‘professional’ means exactly that; we have to be the best at what we say and do.  The messages that we send should be of the highest quality.  In that way we can position ourselves for better client relationships and create more transactions.

Build Your Business on One More Cold Call

What happens when opportunities change and the market shifts and slows?  Most ordinary business people start the ‘blame game’.  It is remarkable just how many people will use this practice as a support tool in a downturn.

Any excuse will do, and it is usually grabbed as a reason for the deals slowing or the sales diminishing.  So that is what 90% of your colleagues will do to protect themselves from criticism and give a reason for their slowing performance and poor sales figures in a market shift.

This is an opportunity in waiting.  The market will shift and change constantly, so get over it and move on to a new approach to handle it.  The best salespeople know this and become constant prospectors in both good and slowing markets.  The deals rarely stop for the best salespeople, simply because they have a large pool of prospects and clients that know and respect the value that these people provide.

The best business people are relationship marketers; they do it at every opportunity.  They sell themselves and not the product or service that they represent.  The sales and deals come to the best people simply because they are respected as professionals in their industry and known by many.

Here are some factors that you can add to your professional toolbox as a salesperson today:

  • A solid focus on customer contact
  • A customer service model that builds momentum and referral opportunity
  • Social media contact tools that help build your brand
  • An email newsletter that contains product and market updates
  • A blog that you update with relevant information on your industry and specialty

From today, take the wise step forward and make a deliberate move to make one more cold call to a new prospect at the end of the day.  You will be amazed at the success of this process.  Keep a good database of all your contacts and relationships.

At the end of the day, your prospects and customers are less inclined to be highly mentally alert or distracted; hence they are more receptive to the cold call approach.  In fact they will more likely remember you from any previous contact and then will open up to a meaningful discussion.

Aligned Cold Calling and Prospecting Wins More Business

The alignment of your cold calling and prospecting to your target market will help you build more opportunities.  Far too many calls are made with little preparation and research today.  Consider these questions.

  • Who are your best prospects?
  • What are they looking for today?
  • How can you add value to their situation?
  • How seasonal is your market?
  • Where are the opportunities now and how can you reach them?

It is no secret that many businesses are under some degree of pressure due to the economic climate and for that reason, prospecting is more important than ever before.  Every person in a sales team should be prospecting for new people and prospects for at least 2 hours per day.

Whilst you can prospect and cold call because you have been told to do so by your sales manager, it is far more relevant to put quality into the process.  Alignment is therefore really important.

What does alignment mean?  Here are some ideas to help you.

  1. Research your market into areas and business types.  This then makes it a lot easier for you to systemise your outbound calls.
  2. Prospecting will normally be a combination of outbound calls, letters, emails, follow-up contact, and meetings.  Over time you will need a good database to help you through the contact processes.
  3. Provide some relevant contact information that can be sent after every contact call or meeting.  It is critical to extend the value and depth of every relationship today.
  4. How do you use social media?  Whilst you do not have to be a ‘guru’ at internet marketing, the fact of the matter is that some simple social media tools are very useful for sales teams today.  Use two or three of these tools and do so frequently.  Social media is all about relevance and frequency.
  5. Making outbound calls at different times of day will give you varying amounts of success.  Get to know the best time to reach your prospects and start making your calls at that time.
  6. Trust remains the foundation of a client relationship.  Over time you really must build trust with the client.  In some industries the trust comes first and the sale may not come for months if not years after.

On a final note, the call processes that you undertake should always be tracked in outcomes and ratios.  Over time you will see your ratios improve.  That is an alignment process for yourself in making contact calls.

Taking Risks

In business and in life you have choices.  Every day an abundance of choices exist.  Most people make the easy choices and take the easy road.  Unfortunately many of the good things that we want in life are not all that easy.  They take persistence and focus.

In this moment in time consider what will happen if you do not take the risk.  Consider also what could happen if you do take the risk and give it a go.  The underlying fact of life is that if you do not take the risk, you will not reap the reward.

When you take an action towards your goals that includes some degree of fear or risk, you automatically increase your confidence level.  If you can do this every day, you will eventually conquer the thing that is really holding you back.  To make real progress you simply need to take regular steps towards your goal each day.  Progress is achieved through a plan and sticking to the plan.  Random action without a plan is like a ship without a rudder.  Focused action within the rules of your plan will get you there regardless of other things going on around you.

The fact of knowing that you have gone beyond your level of fear or risk strengthens your resolve to go further.  It actually underpins the confidence that you live with each day.  More confidence brings more action, and more action brings more results.

Creating your life and business is like building a house.  You are the builder and no other single person can build the house for you.  To build that house you must take the risks and lay single bricks and you must lay them well.  You must build that house on good foundations.

Sales Persistence

Persistence is the essential factor in the procedure of transmuting desire into its monetary equivalent.  The basis and foundation of persistence is the power of will.  We have this great tool available to us and it awaits our full usage.

Will-power and desire, when properly combined, make an irresistible pair.  Men who accumulate great fortunes are generally known as cold-blooded, and sometimes ruthless.  Often they are misunderstood or misinterpreted.  What they have is will-power, which they mix with persistence, and place at the back of their desires to insure the fullest attainment of their objectives.

The majority of people are ready to throw their aims and purposes overboard and give up at the first sign of opposition or misfortune.  Only a very few will carry on despite all opposition, until they obtain their goals.

You have a choice to be persistent or to be flexible to the pressures of the task and of the moment.  What choices do you make?  Your choice will determine the results that you obtain.

Change Management

Sometimes we love change and sometimes we hate it. Regardless, it always takes a little bit of courage to leave something familiar and try something new. Why is change difficult for most of us? Because change necessitates that we move out of our comfort zones.

Since our protective mind’s job is survival, it will always prefer safety and security over the untested and unproven. It likes to keep things the same. It has us believe “the devil I know is better than the devil I don’t know.” In other words, “if I stay with what I know and what is familiar, I won’t get hurt.” This belief system is simply not true and goes directly against the laws of nature.

Most people are not totally happy and successful, yet they continue to do the same things over and over hoping someday things will be different. Realise if what you’ve been looking for was where you’ve been looking, chances are you’d have already found it!

Doing more of the same thing even harder and longer is not usually the answer. Being willing to change will usually create better results.

Since your inner-world creates your outer-world, one of the first steps in change is changing your thoughts. By examining the way you talk to yourself and your beliefs around success, money and prosperity, you are in a position to consciously change any thoughts that are based on lack, fear and/or limitation. Because of what you focus on expands, by intentionally thinking of prosperity, abundance and success you will attract those very things.

Change is natural

The universe is in constant motion from the changing of the seasons to the way plants, trees and flowers grow; from the rushing of the rivers to the wind that blows. Life is always moving, always changing. In fact, the only constant in the world, the only thing you can absolutely count on is change itself.  Therefore, utilise every change as a gift. Whenever change occurs, ask yourself “how can I use this change to my benefit?”

If you lose your job, know that a new and better opportunity awaits you. If you lose a relationship, know that a new and better relationship awaits you.

The happiest and most successful people all share a critical characteristic–the trait of adaptability. This means they have the ability to quickly adapt to new situations and circumstances. The idea then is to go with the flow and not only accept change, but embrace it as an opportunity to expand yourself and your life.

Mental Fitness in Business Today

In professional selling, the key to success is largely between the ears of the salesperson; most particularly it is the way that the salesperson thinks and maintains focus.  As simple as the process seems, it is largely overlooked by many salespeople.  Random thinking brings random results.  Focused thinking brings focused results.

Here is an important parallel. Mental fitness is very much like physical fitness.  If you do certain physical exercises each day, you will eventually become very fit physically.  By the same token, if you do certain mental exercises every day, you will soon become very fit mentally.  You will develop high levels of self-esteem and self-confidence and a positive mental attitude.

Therefore, the starting point of great success in selling is for you to begin to think the way top salespeople think.  Each time you think the way a top salesperson thinks, you become more optimistic and creative.  You feel happier and more effective.  You experience more energy and determination.  You make more calls and better presentations.  You close more sales and you make more money.  When you learn and practice the mental qualities of top salespeople, you whole life opens up for you like a summer sunrise.

Sales Team Focus

 

When you work in sales in any industry, there will be one thing that stands out as the most important thing that you should do above everything else.  It will be the thing that helps build your business and strengthen your sales.

So what is that thing?  Could it be any of the following?

  • Prospecting for new clients
  • Keeping in contact with your existing clients
  • Gaining more market share from your competitors
  • Improving service and supply solutions for your key accounts and clients

From time to time throughout the year some of these things will change and take a different priority.  You could even say that some of them are equally important to others.

When I work with sales teams I like to draw their thinking to the factors of their business that are really important in their industry.  This reality check tends to open up the thinking that maybe every salesperson can get back ‘on track’ and away from the things that are distracting them from the most important issues of the business.

It’s a fact that most of the time these things are happening:

  1. Customers are examining costs
  2. Competitors are chasing your clients
  3. Overseas business is creating a level of product supply that has not previously been a factor in your customer base and client purchase decisions.
  4. Margins are being lowered to attract more sales in just about every industry
  5. The global world of supply and demand is opening up to a wider supply chain and differing cost base.
  6. The internet is letting the customer interact with their sales and orders to a great degree.

When your industry is highly competitive or the levels of orders and sales are changing, it pays to step back and do this simple analysis.

If you can clearly see some things that are being overlooked or lacking in intensity in your business activities, take action today so that you preserve market share as things change around you.  Decide what that one thing is that will help your business thrive.  Is it ‘prospecting’?

Hiring Sales People Today

Let’s say that you have to find a new salesperson for the sales team.  Do you know the type of person that you are looking for?  Have you set some clear ‘must have’ criteria on the selection of the right person?

There are ‘salespeople’ and then there are ‘key account salespeople’.  Do not confuse the two groups.  They are usually radically different people.

Key Account salespeople should be carefully selected to build the client relationship for the long term.  The role requires real knowledge and skill from many different angles.  Failure to choose the right person can see a lot of business move away from you before you know it; when this happens it can be too late to stop the outflow.

As a basic guideline these key account managers or salespeople should:

  • Like working with people
  • Like helping customers
  • Have a solid and comprehensive awareness of your product and or service
  • Be prepared to talk up any ideas and concepts that will save the client time or money
  • Be very experienced in business systems and support mechanisms that operate in your business to help your major clients
  • Know how to help the client in a problem solving process that strengthens their end result
  • Be prepared to work as a team with the one client so that staff leaving the business will not destabilise the client relationship

The person that you choose for the key account manager role will be the ‘make or break’ element to a long term working relationship.  For this very reason it pays to have a third person contact the client every 3 months to make sure that the account relationship is thriving and strengthening.  You will not always get this information from the actual account manager given that they can be ‘protecting their job’ above everything else.

The person that you choose for this role should be an expert in your business and in the local market.  They should also be well aware of the competition and the product or service that they offer.  The competition will always be chasing your client in one way or another.

The business community is a thriving and vibrant part of the economy; the best people are like magnets when it comes to driving better market share and client involvement.