Sales representatives are successful today because they gain the majority of their targeted customers business. They manage the relationship and continuously build relationship equity. That doesn’t mean they operate with the old lone wolf mentality doing everything under the sun for the customer. They are successful because they take full advantage of all the resources their company has to offer. Transactions and promos flow through a managed relationship. They also dedicate a specific amount of their time to new account development and penetration of those accounts with high potential rather than over providing service functions to existing accounts. Ten Key identifying factors that will put more money in your wallet include;
1. Not being afraid to prospect for new accounts and new business. Have enough confidence to view rejection as simply a step closer to success.
2. Understanding the value of planning and actually document the key actions necessary to meet specific objectives at specific accounts.
3. Become professional with your planned presentations whether it is to an individual buyer or a group of customer decision makers. Perfect your 25 word elevator speech that clearly outlines your value proposition down pat for those opportunistic moments that may occur.
4. Goals are a matter of course and they include more than just revenue and margin growth. Milestone goals are established for target accounts to highlight progress toward their major goals.
5. No one likes record keeping and paperwork but the really successful sales professional understands the necessity and the value received in return for being methodical with their record keeping.
6. Time management should be forever on your mind and you need to continuously practice efficient time control.
7. You’ve got to be Hunnnnggggrrrry! Hungry for knowledge to improve your skills and demonstrate enough curiosity that you don’t wait for company sponsored seminars for education and training. Read, listen to tapes and finance your own self improvement in addition to company programs.
8. Don’t chase orders, chase customers. Be willing to lose an order but fight aggressively to never lose a customer unless you need to prune your territory garden due to unacceptable profitability.
9. Your objective on every sales call is to identify the customer’s real needs, not to just take an order. Take pride in being a solution provider and demand creator instead of a demand fulfiller.
10. Understand that often a key to your success lies in your ability to educate the customer. This may range in form of business acumen to helping the customer understand real value. Become an expert at demonstrating the difference between price and cost.
The formula for success is simple:
FIND THE CUSTOMER PAIN-TAKE THE PAIN AWAY- SET YOUR PRICE
Customers will pay plenty, if you can reduce their “PAIN” This is the evolving role of 21st century Field Sales professional. Find out what the customer’s problems are and where they are in pain. Look at it from their point of view, not yours.
Customers no longer spout off about quality products and reliable deliveries. That’s a given. Although all customers are trained to say “Your Price is to High”, if you find the pain, price is not an issue.
Some Pain Examples
Be Honest With Yourself
Ask Yourself - Do I demonstrate these key characteristics? If not study the ten key factors. Practice on improving your skills. Take the information you have as a sales professional in your market and build unique solutions that solve your customer’s problems even if those problems have nothing to do with selling them product. They can buy stuff from anyone. They will buy it from you to get the “out of the box” benefits.
The Emerging Role of the Sales Professional
Remember the emerging role of the sales professional today is not to increase sales. Let me repeat that- your role today is not to increase sales. Your role as a sales professional today is to systematically and consistently increase the number of customers who choose you to be their #1 supplier. . . . . . . .
You must become-THE SUPPLIER OF CHOICE- which means you always get-THE FIRST CALL-and THE LAST LOOK!
Don’t make the rookie mistake of thinking that your customers don’t give last looks. If your customer doesn’t give you last look. That means somebody else is getting it. It’s time to evaluate the relationship equity you have built in that account.
Today it’s not about the features and benefits of your product. It’s about value and how your customers are going to make a profit. You no longer just sell yourself and everything falls into place. Today, relationships are still very important but they are the ante to play. Customers are smarter and more educated. You must bring every resource your company has into play and leverage those resources to create competitive advantage. Learn to really listen to your customers. Let them talk and when there seems to be a pause in the conversation resist the temptation to start talking again. Chances are good that the customer has more to say. The quieter you are the more they will tell you. Listen long enough with a few strategically placed questions and the customer might just tell you exactly how to gain his business. (And it won’t just be about price)
So tell me - What’s gonna be in your wallet in 2006?
Dr. Rick Johnson (email@example.com) is the founder of CEO Strategist LLC. an experienced based firm specializing in leadership for wholesale distribution. CEO Strategist LLC. works in an advisory capacity with company executives in board representation, executive coaching, team coaching and education and training to make the changes necessary to create or maintain competitive advantage. You can contact them by calling 352-750-0868, or visit http://www.ceostrategist.com for more information.
Rick received an MBA from Keller Graduate School in Chicago, Illinois and a Bachelor's degree in Operations Management from Capital University, Columbus Ohio. Rick recently completed his dissertation on Strategic Leadership and received his Ph. D. He’s also a published book author with four titles to his credit: “The Toolkit for Improved Business Performance in Distribution, ” the NWFA & NAFCD “Roadmap”, Lone Wolf-Lead Wolf—The Evolution of Sales” and a fiction novel “Shattered Innocence. ” Rick’s next book due in November is titled; Lone Wolf – LEad Wolf The Evolution of Leadership