I have the pleasure of interacting with salespeople on a daily basis. We talk about their failures and their successes while strategizing ways to improve overall performance.
In many ways selling is complicated and complex, but at the same time it can be very simple. For example, a salesperson could easily double their sales if they spent twice as much time selling. Nothing major, nothing complicated, just spending more time doing what they are supposed to do. Keep in mind that the average sales person spends less than four hours per day selling. They are busy all day, but only selling for less than half the time. Another example would be a salesperson that has difficulty selling to, or relating to buyers with personality types different from their own. It may take time and effort, but if that salesperson learns how to communicate with different personality types, his/her sales could increase three fold. Here are a few relevant observations:
- It is always best, whenever possible, to communicate with people face to face. I was talking to a salesperson recently about his prospecting efforts. He mentioned he was not setting very many appointments over the phone. He told me his greatest success in scheduling an appointment with a prospect came as the result of dropping off information after the initial phone call. People were unwilling to commit their time on the phone, but when he stopped by with information, people were more willing to talk and schedule a time to meet with him. Following up, in person, after a phone call, doubled the number of appointments he set.
- A salesperson’s level of belief can make a significant difference in their performance. While talking to a business owner, he mentioned a salesperson that had left his employment and gone to work for a competitor. The salesperson was an average performer while under his employ, but was a top performer now with the new company. Here is what I discovered. The working environment, commissions, and benefits were very similar between both companies. The products and service offered were comparable. The only difference was that all the salespeople at the new company were performing at a level almost double that of his previous employer. The salesperson realized for the first time in his career that there were salespeople consistently doing what he thought was impossible. Seeing the impossible as now possible, he changed his belief, altered his activity, and doubled his sales.
- I was working with a salesperson who told me he was so busy he didn’t believe he could increase his sales. There just wasn’t enough time in the day to do any more. BTW…this salesperson is only performing at twenty-five percent of what the legends in his industry are producing. He spends his day bidding every opportunity known to man. We evaluated why he was spending the time to bid certain work, most of which he would never land. I suggested that he spend more time building relationships and less time preparing bids that will never produce sales. Salespeople want to close every sales opportunity, but some just aren’t worth chasing. Either the odds of winning are too low, or the rewards are too small. The formula for success is to work hard and play the game smart. This salesperson is now focused on finding new business with existing customers, working hard at winning back former customers, and receiving referrals, as well as introductions to new prospects, instead of blindly bidding every vague opportunity. He will be spending his prime selling time with customers and prospects and preparing bids, either early in the morning or at the end of the day. The bids he will be working on will have a significantly higher chance of closing. He will be as busy as he has ever been, but his sales success will be infinitely greater.