Sales professionals are high-energy, fast-thinking, opportunistic people. If they are good, they often shoot from the hip and take calculated risks. They can be called mavericks and that’s a good thing. It takes a little “maverick" in the blood to be effective in the world of professional sales. Most are willing to try anything that offers the potential for a fast boost, a quick sale, increased value, or the strengthening of their relationship with their customer. Too often, however, this quick fix mentality reduces the long-term focus and discipline of the sales force. This can be especially true for a new sales person or a sales person taking over a new territory. Ask your sales people to follow these guidelines for any new territory development or when a new sales person takes over an existing territory.
1. Meet and qualify all the key-high potential accounts in your territory before you begin to focus on a few.
2. Do your homework. Know your company first; the strong points, the weak points. Know who and what your internal resources are. What is your company’s sweet spot?
3. Do your homework. Know your customers. What do they buy? How do they buy? Who are their five largest customers? Research your customer and their industry on the web. Become an industry expert for your customer. Meet people and cultivate relationships beyond your customers purchasing department.
4. Create a call plan prior to every call. The objective can be as simple as getting an appointment with someone higher up in management to meet with your management on a subject as complex as a full-blown Power Point presentation designed to secure a contract.
5. Keep a data record on every buyer at your major accounts. Get to know him as well as his family knows him.
6. Create an itinerary for each week. Know what you are going to do. Set at least two base appointments in the morning and afternoon with major accounts. Fill in around these appointments as appropriate.
7. Know your customers’ personality. People buy from people so develop a relationship with each of your customers. PIMS (Personal Information Managers) or sales programs such as TeleMagic and Goldmine have a place for this information. Use it, or put it in your spiral binder. Nothing is more important to Jennifer than her daughter’s ballet or to Bill than his golf or his son’s little league, BUT do not waste your time or theirs. Some people will reject you as a time waster if you talk about this, others will keep you on the phone for hours with trivia. Know your customer and control the conversation. Your job is to sell and move on but do it in the most productive and effective manner and only you know what that is for your customer.
8. Create a territory plan. Establish goals, identify milestones, create a time line and engage all your resources including upper management.
9. Create an action plan for every major account. Know your customers’ “Rules of Engagement. " What keeps them up at night? Create a strategy that involves your entire team including the President of your company if appropriate.
10. Set specific goals and objectives. Write them down.
11. Maintain a positive attitude. Don’t procrastinate on anything.
12. Keep your promises. Don’t make promises you can’t keep.
13. Sell yourself first. Develop a trusted relationship, and then sell your company.
14. Know your competitive advantages and your company’s core competencies.
15. Think creatively. Think outside the box.
16. If voice mail is blocking your contact, call someone else’s extension as if by mistake and ask them to transfer you. Voice mail has become the “gate keeper. " Call early before business hours or later after business hours.
17. Listen more – speak less. Get your customer to talk about himself. If your customer spends most of the time in a sales call talking about himself, he can’t help but like you. Apply the 80/20 rule – listen 80% of the time.
18. Review in great detail all the previous information supplied by the company, internal records and sales support personnel such as inside sales and customer service.
Sales Effectiveness best practices are defined as those activities that create the result of maximizing growth, maximizing profitability and increasing market share. It is a set of techniques used by upper quartile performers that help them realize significant improvements in reaching their predetermined measurable goals. Creativity and innovation are the essence but models of excellence based on best practice must adapt to the company’s individual needs and circumstances. Most of these practices are only effective if they are process based providing focus, process and the discipline to carry them out supported by effective sales management. These guidelines are basic sales effectiveness practices for developing a new territory. However, they can become the platform for increased sales and profitability.
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