Landing the meeting and getting the job order. Is that the extent of the "strategy" behind your staffing company's sales process? Do you think sales is just a numbers game, and that simply hopping back on the hamster wheel, and generating more "activity," will automatically generate more deals? How much time does your team invest in "improving," in call planning, strategy and execution, in practicing and honing their skills? Not much? Don't feel affirmed or let off the hook when I say join the club. It is a sad fact that most professional sales people are just winging it with little or no process in place for anything.
When I rolled out my 3 Second Selling platform a little over a year ago, my initial target audience was professional service providers. You know, lawyers and CPAs and bankers and other people who don't have sales in their titles, but nonetheless have to sell themselves every day to build a book of business.
Professional sales people? They weren't on my radar. After all, who was I to tell someone who had been in the game for years about the value of client-centric selling, about prospecting, and lead generation, lead nurturing, pipeline management, moving people through the funnel, turning conversations into customers and so on.
Well, after meeting hundreds of sales people this past year this is what I know...not very many are focused on making an impact with their clients by helping them solve their critical business issues. Not many concentrate on helping client's meet their goals. Not many have silos and systems in place to track their prospects and clients. And not very many are being strategic about their activities.
Not very many sales people are focused on making an impact with their clients by helping them solve their critical business issues.
Instead, too many have the route sales mentality, and simply lapse into the role of an order fulfillment house.
I recently met with Ted Davies, Jr., who owns a very successful promotional marketing agency called Paradigm Partners. He has been working with Fortune 1000 sales managers and sales teams nearly his entire professional life.
He says most professional salespeople don't do a very good job with what he sees as the basics.
That list includes:
1) Prospecting. What key accounts are you after and why?
2) The Appointment. How do you get the appointment? It’s harder and harder for sales reps to get at bats these days, as customers and prospects decline meeting requests. Not long ago, you could cold call and email your way to appointments. Not now.
3) The Meeting. You have the face-to-face meeting on the calendar, now what? Are you prepared? Are you planful and deliberate about what it is you are trying to achieve? How much do you know about the prospect and their company and their needs? Have you practiced and prepared for multiple scenarios? Have you thought through objections and rebuttals?
4) The carrot. What does a prospect get when they go with you? Is it your unique benefits? Is it the lowest price? What is the real value in being a customer of your staffing agency?
5) Tracking. How do you manage those customers and prospects and phone calls and emails and appointments and touches? GoldMine? Salesforce? Another sophisticated CRM software tool that is gathering dust deep inside your computer? Any combo latter of silos and categories and tools you can use to manage your contacts is better than nothing, which is what most salespeople do.
So what does all this add up to? These things will define and differentiate you - and your company - in the eyes of your customers and prospects.
It means the difference between being the aforementioned order takers or a subject matter expert where a client or customer thinks of you or your sales team as trusted advisers. It could mean having your customers look to you for guidance, expertise and advice. It could mean the opportunity to influence their thought process and expand their thinking in a way that also similarly expands your scope of business.
Successful selling is 90% preparation and 10% closing.
If you or your team would spend more time tracking, measuring and cultivating good quality opportunities early on, you will have more and better opportunities when it comes to closing.
Too few sales people follow a practical method of managing real opportunities and spend too much time on deals that never close.
A well-managed sales pipeline helps to improve the consistency of results and creates a platform for more accurate sales forecasting and shorter sales cycles.
You can’t manage what you can’t measure, and if you can’t measure your pipeline then you can’t improve your productivity.
It also gives you an ability to pinpoint reasons for a lack of results. You can’t manage what you can’t measure, and if you can’t measure your pipeline then you can’t improve your productivity.
The old-fashioned days of telling and selling are over. You have to prove every day, with every interaction, that you care about your customer, and that you understand their business.
Do that, and consistently execute on some of the basics as outlined here, and you will have success.
And I get that change is a challenge, but it doesn't have to be that hard. If it is, maybe you have bigger problems than not tracking your contacts.
I leave you with a quote from my super salesman friend Eric Golden, on the subject of change.
"The person you are today delivered what you have today. If you want to change what you have, you have to change who you are, what you do or how you do it."