June 25, 2014

Observations on Sales in an Organization - Part Two

This is the second article in a two-part series on sales. The first was from the company perspective. Both approach the subject with a sense of humor. You just HAVE to as sales is truly a necessary evil. These articles are more of an experience share of my 30 years of sales experience from both sides of the fence. 

Sales from the Salesperson Perspective

Know you have value
New business is the lifeblood of any company. Looking for a job? Just bought a house? Child on the way? You’re hungry. You’re hired. Bring on the orders!

Stay motivated
Do you believe in yourself? If not, you won’t have confidence to do the job right. What’s your dream? Where men have no dreams, they die. Unless you have a terrific marketing plan where all leads are coming to you anyway, then you will fail without a love for proactive work. It’s 4:30 p.m. Do you make that cold call? Yes! That sale just might push you over your quota.

Time management
The time eating alligator of email is a challenge, especially for salespeople. Do not email just to say “thanks” unless you’re communicating with a prospect or client who can give you business. Never eat alone because networking’s your secret weapon. Your ear is on the ground. You have competitive knowledge. It’s only meaningful if you share it, so document in the CRM system immediately.

Be a specialist
Know and understand the product and your company’s ability to perform. A potato chip is a chip, an oatmeal raisin cookie is a cookie. What sets the sale apart? You, the person with whom they have developed a relationship and trust. Be knowledgeable and dazzle with numbers that are meaningful, the ones your competition doesn’t have a clue about.

Spend energies wisely
In 2001, we knew a sales person who handled three times the average sales load because he was using “technology.” He was using fax. It was his edge. Find yours. You have a choice; 1) one product sale over three months, or 50 product sales over six months. Give the C prospects to other staff members. Go for the As and Bs because C clients are a drain and have low return. Automation makes your sales and consultative role increasingly important and vetting a whole lot easier. Every business succumbs to Pareto’s law (80/20 rule). Let it happen. Balance your book of business. Get a larger cross section of clients.

Invest or pull the plug
Are you a salesperson going south? It’s a hard train to stop. When you don’t believe your dream, it’s no longer real. When there is no dream, there is a floor and you’re going to hit it. Remember, dreams change every day. Did you lose a big client? Scale the dream down from a four-bedroom house to three. Did you land one? Move up from Ford to Mercedes. When the dream changes, be vocal with management…without whining. Invest in the culture, trust the systems, then go get the new dream.

Written by Jim Annis, President/CEO of The Applied Companies, which provide HR solutions for today’s workplace. Celeste Johnson, Tom Miller, and Suzanne Chennault, Applied’s division directors, contributed to this article.

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