Do Customers Love Salespeople?

Do Customers Love Salespeople?

Customers may love your products or service, your business, and even your customer service team. But do they love salespeople?

What can we do to earn respect and feel the love by customers and others who are not in sales (including my own university daughters)?

Here are our Top 5 Strategies to Get Customers to Love Salespeople:

1. Don’t be a professional visitor. Turn great relationships into business partnerships.

Many business owners cringe when they observe visiting salespeople chatting about last night’s sports game with their employees – they feel it’s wasting their people’s time. Yes, sales professionals love to build rapport in a meeting, but there are other ways to do this without upsetting the business owner.

Take this conversation to a higher level and take the time to develop and focus on their business. Start by asking questions like:

  • What are your biggest initiatives to grow business this year?
  • What is the top challenge that is getting in their way of your business?

Customers and buyers – especially business owners – LOVE talking about their business. Earn their appreciation and loyalty by turning your product conversation into a business conversation.

2. Be proactive, not reactive, by being one step ahead of your customers.
Always be thinking about their business, rather than your business. Click To Tweet

Good salespeople want to proactively better serve, provide value, and be one step ahead of their customer.

When you do this, it demonstrates you are proactively managing their account and the necessary activities to ensure you meet their timelines, their expected dates of delivery, or whatever else it takes to gain their business and long-term loyalty.

  3. Develop a Key Account Plan for your top 2-5 customers.

Personalize your approach with potential client growth.

According to CPSA, one of the key emerging trends is documenting a key account plan to high value customer accounts. A key account plan will help you better understand your customer’s business and future goals. Once the plan is created, meet with them to share and collaborate on the key account plan strategy and plan execution.

4. Bend over backwards. 

In one of our “Cracking the Code” Buyers Webinar one buyer panelist stated that to earn their business and loyalty, you have to bend over backwards. This could mean almost anything; your role is to find out how each customer defines “adding more value. Ask them exactly what you have to do to outperform your competition and be better than everyone else!

5. Send a hand-written Thank You note! 

In today’s fast-paced, digital-social-email-driven world, do something different to get noticed and even loved! Show your customer the love and you’ll feel the warmth and perhaps the love, too! Build this simple strategy into your sales process.

Customers often stop feeling the love after a sale has been made. That means they stop buying from you. Make sure your sales team continues to nurture customer relationships. Call me if you need help.

Recognizing the Best in Sales Performance – Star Worthy Awards

Recognizing the Best in Sales Performance – Star Worthy Awards

The Star Worthy awards all started with a simple “star sticker” we would give out in our training. One of our trainers started this and I thought it was a bit hokey and even a bit representative of primary school.

I was so wrong!

I quickly learned that sales reps are eager to step it up and demonstrate thought-provoking sales insights, connect the dots from the consultative methodology training to their own customer scenarios and are very proud to be recognized for doing more than the ordinary. Every training session we conduct, we have participants proud and vying to earn a star and build their sales confidence. Many of them receive accolades at home when their children are impressed that mommy or daddy received a star at work. Some leaders ask for extra star stickers so they can continue to reward star worthy moments.

At Teneo, we wanted to kick up the star worthy stickers and moments to the Star Worthy Awards at our annual Evolve Sales Leader Think Tank Event. This will be the third year we are offering the Star Worthy Awards.

Sales reps are eager to step it up and demonstrate thought-provoking sales insights, connect the dots from the consultative methodology training and are very proud to be recognized for doing more than the ordinary. Click To Tweet

Some of you might be thinking, “I don’t need an award to know that I’m doing a good job – the proof is in the sales numbers”. I personally learned the powerful impact and importance of sales awards.

With many changes in the re-building of our business this last year, I started to write these weekly blogs, host a buyer’s webinar and create a few videos to help increase the importance of high performing sales teams and expectations by buyers. The Marketing Manager on our team suggested submitting some of our work to the Top Sales World Awards. I didn’t think it was a priority on our very long to-do list. But she insisted and went ahead. I was very surprised when we were short-listed in three categories for best blog, video, and webinar. On Dec 20th, we learned we won Silver Award for the Webinar on “Cracking the Buyer’s Code”. It was an incredible honour to earn this among the tough competition of top-notch sales leaders. It was more than just a great way to end the year, it really did help me to build confidence that we were recognized for doing a webinar incredibly well and different than others.

Sales is tougher than ever before, and we need salespeople to be confident in their sales calls and doing more than just ordinary sales.

According to OMG Sales Assessments, only 6% of salespeople are elite sales performers and the sad reality is 50% of salespeople are weak.

Who do you know that exemplifies Star Worthy achievements, based on their sales performance in 2018? Is it a sales professional who increased their sales skills, capabilities and blew it out of the park? A sales team who created stronger sales culture and strengthened their sales process to earn a new caliber of trust with their customers? Or is it your sales manager or leader who did an exemplary job of leading and coaching your team and earning a new level of respect by the organization?

There are six categories of Star Worthy Awards and you can submit multiple nominations. We’ve kept the nomination process simple with only five to seven questions taking you less than ten minutes to complete.

Six Star Worthy Sales Awards categories are:
• Star Worthy Customer Experience
• Star Worthy Sales Professional
Star Worthy Sales Team
Star Worthy Sales Leader
Star Worthy Best Practices
Star Worthy Overall Culture and Customer Focused Organization

Each of the awards is given to an individual, team, or organization for their outstanding sales excellence. Nominations for the 2018 Star Worthy Sales Awards are open for submissions until Friday, March 8th.

Sales Goals Achievement – Are YOU Getting in Your Own Way?

Sales Goals Achievement – Are YOU Getting in Your Own Way?

As we progress into the sales year, are YOU getting in your own way of achieving your sales goal success this year?

In two recent goals webinar, we polled the sales rep community to hear what they were predicting for their sales goals for the year ahead. We were fascinated and even a little surprised by the results.

Check out question five for the most surprising poll result and what truly impacts sales performance and sales goal achievement…and it’s not your competitors or your organization!

Here’s a quick summary of the combined results *. How do your responses compare to this polled sales community?

Q1 – Did you achieve your sales goal for the past year?

The research found that 26% of salespeople slam dunked and exceeded their sales goals by meeting their quota, yet 58% did not achieve their sales goals, and in the sales world, that’s reality – yet very disappointing. We truly need sales professionals to make more sales and achieve company sales goals as it’s vital to a strong economy.

Q2 – What is your sales goal increase for this year?

Over 21% are expecting a 20%+ growth for this year – very optimistic!

Less than 10% are expecting small sales targets of 1-5% growth this year. The majority (28-55%) are expecting a double-digit growth of 10-19% growth. This is fascinating to see how optimistic sales professionals are in future sales growth opportunity to increase sales, yet it contradicts their actual goal achievement.

Q3 – What is your long-term sales goal for 2022 – three years from now?

A) No idea – don’t plan that far ahead = 21%
B) My company sets those goals = 19%
C) Steady growth – approximately 20-30% growth in three years = 42%
D) Double my sales in the next three years = 18%

This shows confidence in sales with strong future growth for the next three years, despite rumblings of a more challenging economy ahead. Great to see sales professionals continue to be optimistic for a strong future.

Are you getting in the way of achieving your sales goals? Click To Tweet

Q4 – What is your strategy to achieve your sales goals?

21% of sales reps and sales leaders said with existing customers, 56% said hunting or prospecting to find at least five new customers this year, and only 6% said referrals. At Teneo this year, we found the referral strategy the most effective way to grow our business. There is still a surprisingly small percentage of sales team members who admit that “winging it” is still their strategy to achieve their goals.

Q5 – What is getting in the way of achieving your goals? The most surprising poll result!

24% said there’s just not enough time in the day, a few said their boss, but 43% said it was them! They were the biggest factor that was going to get in the way of achieving sales growth this year! In our second webinar, 58% of the attendees admitted that they get in the way of achieving their goals.

If YOU are the reason for not achieving your sales goals, then I suggest making a list of all the obstacles that YOU allow to get in the way. Then, in a second column on this list, identify a strategy to overcome these challenges.

I’m a learning junkie and was attending my first session of Strategic Coach, a great program for entrepreneurs, and they had us do a similar exercise to set sales goals and stretch goals. I found it very empowering and encouraging to do this exercise, as it improves your own self-talk, builds confidence, along with setting realistic actionable strategies that will help you to realize there is a way to overcome the obstacles and achieve your goals.

*note – Since we are combining two poll results, the percentages will not add up to a 100%.

Catch the On Demand version of the webinar I’ve been referencing, 7 Factors that Get in the Way of Achieving Your Sales Goals, here.

In addition, download our 3 Year Goal Planning Table to set your objectives and achieve your 90 days, one year and three year goals.

Saying Yes or No – Increasing Sales Productivity & Performance

Saying Yes or No – Increasing Sales Productivity & Performance

As sales professionals, we are always looking for a YES. To help you become more strategic, proactive and brave, you need to identify what you will say NO to, in order to reduce the distractions or even the high maintenance customers in your sales pipeline.

The challenge for sales professionals is that no two days are the same and we must be ready to serve our customers. This often puts us in a more reactive rather than proactive mode.

Let’s look at how we can improve sales productivity to create the ideal sales performance week – an efficient and effective way to maximize your sales performance, without working more hours!

Here are three sales strategies to help sales reps become high performing sales teams.

1. Create Your Ideal Productive & High-Performance Week

Many of you are working evenings and even weekends to stay caught up. Your boss and company want you to increase sales. Most high performing sales teams are looking for double digit growth anywhere from 10 – 20+% growth. Are you willing to work 10-20+% more this year to achieve your goals? Probably not! Something has to change in order to meet your sales target.

The “Ideal Time Blocking Chart” is a great sales tool to help you identify a more efficient and effective sales week. What would your ideal sales productive and performance week look like? What are some of the sales activities and sales process that you are doing on the weekends and evenings that you could block time during the Monday to Friday week?

This sales tool will take you less than 20 minutes to complete. I recently did it myself. As I penciled my ideal week I was amazed how it immediately reduced my stress and anxiety levels and actually increased my energy. It’s that simple and helps you to determine where there is room for improvement in your sales day. Block time for the high performing tasks that will enable you to be proactive with your customers and work when you have higher energy levels to achieve your goals. You can download the Ideal Profitable Week template here.

Time is our most valuable resource, and the problem is, it never stops! There is no way to hit “pause” on your day, so you have to be able to manage distractions that waste time in order to make time for the important things.

Until scientists figure out how to stop time, here are a few statistics to show how much time is wasted in the workday, and a few tips on how to better manage your time.

  • 20% of the average workday is spent on “crucial” and “important” things, while 80% of the average workday is spent on things that have “little value” or “no value”. Source: DONALD WETMORE – PRODUCTIVITY INSTITUTE
  • 1 hour of planning each week will save you 10 hours of doing. SOURCE: WEEKDONE.COM
  • It takes an average of 25 minutes to resume a task after being interrupted. SOURCE: WWW.INC.COM
  • Multi-tasking can reduce productivity by as much as 40%. SOURCE: WWW.FORBES.COM
  • The average worker spends 13 hours a week on emails alone, which means 28% of the work week is taken up by email.

Let’s look at how we can improve sales productivity to create the ideal sales performance week - an efficient and effective way to maximize your sales performance, without working more hours! Click To Tweet

2. ROTI – Return On Time Invested

Return On Time Invested (R.O.T.I.) is a concept that helps salespeople make their time with prospects and customers more profitable. ROTI calculations can help salespeople manage their time more effectively and efficiently, based on the revenue/gross profit that a customer is worth each year.

Typically, we evaluate our customers based on the amount of sales revenue or profit we earn from each customer. However, we should also be evaluating how much time we are spending with each customer.

  • You have to meet with a client that is a four-hour drive away. You schedule two more appointments in the same area as this client, plus another meeting on the way back to maximize your day.
  • You schedule a weekly call with one of your key customers to pro-actively manage their account, rather than many emails and calls throughout the week. You provide an updated agenda for the meeting each week to make the call even more productive.
  • You meet with a client to conduct a monthly review of their business and plan for their upcoming orders and better manage their inventory.

In managing their customers and meetings, many salespeople will plan the same amount of time for each customer meeting, irrespective of the revenue/gross profit for each customer. Rather, salespeople should be prioritizing and allocating more time to those customers that bring in a higher revenue.

3. Say No To Those Activities That Distract You From Your Goals – Even If They’re Good

As a productive top performing sales professional, what are some of the high performing sales activities to say yes to?

  • Prospecting – opening doors, securing meetings and following up on proposals
  • Planning your next week
  • Updating your CRM – moving the needle on the CRM dashboard
  • 1:1 Coaching with your manager/mentor
  • Blocking days to meet with customers – get out of the office more!
  • Being proactive to manage customers
  • Scheduling time for key accounts
  • Maximizing social media

What are some activities that will impede you from reaching your sales goals?

  • Unproductive meetings
  • Chasing accounts receivables and customer payments
  • Inventory management and back-orders
  • Operational issues
  • Drive time
  • Social media that takes you down a rabbit hole
  • High Maintenance customers who don’t produce a high ROTI

During the next week, evaluate and closely observe your activities to determine what produces different hours of power and energy for you.

There are some activities we don’t always enjoy doing like planning or prospecting – yet we know it will yield a higher increase in sales and productivity.

This year in sales, what will you do to produce more and work less? You decide what you will say “Yes” and “No” to, to be a top performing sales team.

Are you Selling Too Soon in the Sales Process?

Are you Selling Too Soon in the Sales Process?

Are you suffering from the latest sales process epidemic “Selling too soon?”

While working with a few sales teams recently, I realized a huge sales challenge that even the most seasoned sales reps are facing. It’s “Selling Too Soon” Syndrome and this epidemic started with buyers who have little time for salespeople. Salespeople have wasted buyers’ time, thus buyers have reduced the amount of time to about 10-15 minutes with a sales professional, forcing salespeople to quickly provide their product solutions and get down and dirty with price.

You can’t sell or even hint to one of your solutions until you have used the 3x3x3 Questioning Technique. In the PURPOSE Consultative Framework – you don’t sell until you get to the S in PURPOSE – which is the sixth step in the sales process. 

The PURPOSE Framework is a simple 7-step consultative framework to help salespeople have a more purposeful conversation.

P- Prepare, U – Understand your Customer, R – Rapport with Customer, P- Purpose of Meeting, O – Ask Open ended questions(more questions about their business, not your products), S- Summarize & Solutions, E – Execute next steps 

Download the PURPOSE template to help you NOT sell too soon!

A salesperson will ask a few questions and then too quickly jump to selling the solution.

To help salespeople not sell too soon, try the 3x3x3 Questioning Technique. A simple repeatable sales methodology that enables you to be more customer centric. This is a critical step in the sales process to build stronger customer relationships and earn more time with potential customers.

To begin this effective sales process, you quickly build rapport with your buyer, state the purpose of your meeting and then let them know you want to ask them a few questions about their situation and their business. You don’t you have to tell them you’re going to ask them over nine questions, each question will build on the other and you’ll be surprised at how much information they will share when you ask these questions.

Sellers, are you suffering from “Selling Too Soon” Syndrome? Click To Tweet

In the first group of questions – ask about their needs and pain points. Too often sales professionals will ask a few relevant questions, then quickly jump to selling their product or service, but I encourage you to go deep and find out why they need this product/solution now. What is really causing their pain or challenge? Peel the onion to get to the core of the need. Be curious and inquisitive about their challenge.

Needs Based Questions: (Choose at least 3 of the questions below)

• What is your current situation?
• What is your current solution?
• What caused you to reach out to us?
• What are your biggest challenges with…?
• When do you need this?
• How much do you need?
• Why is it not working?
• How important is it to prioritize and/or fix this problem?

Now, that you understand their true challenge, you can’t sell yet – even though you think you have the right solution to fix it. Hold your recommendations and ask three more questions about the future and ideal outcome for their business. This will get them sharing more information about their business goals and KPIs. This is critical to getting closer to a yes and to the right solution.

Goals/Ideal Outcome Questions: (Choose at least 3 more questions)

• What are your goals/ideal outcome?
• What KPIs (key performance indicators) does your organization measure?
• What is the one thing that you want to avoid?
• What would make you look good?
• What would make the team/organization look good?
• What is your boss/CEO’s vision?
• Who else would you need to get involved/collaborate to…?

Now, you’re getting so excited because you know your solution will make them look good and will help achieve their business goals, but wait – don’t sell yet. Ask three more killer questions that will help you secure the sale, without even selling. With each question they answer they are giving you the ammunition you need to build an awesome ROI case, so you do not have to reduce your price! 

Business Impact/ROI – Return on Investment Questions: (Choose your next 3 killer questions!)

• What is the impact on your …? (operations, efficiency, inventory, etc.)
• How will this improve your KPIs?
• How will this impact your business long-term?
• What are the consequences if you choose to do nothing?
• How will this impact the profitability of your organization?
• How could this impact your company bonus?
• How much could this make more money/profits in the next three years?
• How can you turn this expense into a long-term investment to make more money for your organization and your dealer channel?

Voila – you now have all the information you need and have probably found that they shared so much more than you had anticipated. Great job! But, don’t sell yet!

Now, summarize their key needs, outcome and business impact. This will demonstrate you were listening, builds credibility and ensures you are both on the same page. This simple step and statement is a game changer in earning trust with your buyer. Don’t skip this step in your sales process, as it only takes 30 seconds and will get you closer to close deals and repeat business.

Now – position your solution as three-options in a working proposal to continue to collaborate with them. This is the next conversation, the solutions conversation in your sales process.

Are your salespeople getting meetings, but failing to attract, retain and secure new business?

Our upcoming event will be addressing this and more.

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