How to set your new Sales Rep up for failure

Imagine you are a new salesperson and on your first day after a brief orientation, your Sales Manager gives you a little pep talk that goes something like this:

“The customers are out there… all you need to do is go out and find them.”

Then after he loads you up with product literature and business cards, he finishes his pep talk with,

“Go get ’em tiger.”

Getting your new Sales Rep ready for battle

Sounds silly doesn’t it.

Unfortunately, many companies orientation program for new sales reps is not much different.

Sure they may spend a little time on product knowledge training. And maybe a little on how to write up and enter an order into the company’s computer system. But for many companies a formal sales training program designed to help their sales professionals succeed is not existent.

Or worse, it is so old and boring that nobody uses it.

The number one concern organizations have when investing in sales training is the cost. They think that developing a new program or revamping an existing one is going to be expensive.

What they don’t consider is the cost of having an untrained salesperson in the field.

  • The high cost of the negative marketing: The negative impression that the customer has of not only the sales representative, but your company. Untrained sales person tends to make a lot of mistakes and often a fool of them self, because they don’t know what they are doing or talking about.
  • The high cost of turnover: Salespeople will only struggle so long, getting rejected over and over again, before they will seek out easier challenges. Turnover costs can range anywhere from 30-150% of an employees annual compensation.
  • The high cost of loss sales: The difference between winning and losing in business (especially sales) can be extremely small, but the compensation is significant. An untrained sales person will lose out to the trained professional more often than not. This can be the difference between sales growth or sales decline. Between having a positive cash flow or going into debt. Between having a to expand, or laying off employees.

Effective sales training can be help your organization bridge that gap by:

  • Improving Credibility with your customer base: Customers love to work with professionals who are trying to help them succeed, not amateurs who are looking at them as a car payment.
  • Reducing Turnover of staff: Long-term employees have the opportunity to build a relationship and get to know what they need. This is attractive to customers who like to buy from people they trust.

Trust = Credibility  and Credibility = Sales

  • Improving Sales: Increasing the credibility of your sales professionals (and your company) will open the door for more opportunities, which will lead to more sales, which will lead to more revenue.

Just think of difference it would make to a new sales professional, when they enter the field confident that they know what they are doing, what they are talking about and how they can help their customers.

Armed with this knowledge and skills skill you will be motivated and prepared for success.

Then you really will be able to; “Go get’em tiger.”

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How to become more Attractive to Your Customers

At first glance, being consistent may not sound like something that would help make you sexier to your ideal customers, but it counts more that we often realize.

On the other hand, if you want to drive your customer crazy and lose their business in the process than just follow the following formula:

Go to the ends of the earth to satisfy your customers needs one day and then totally ignore them the next.

This lack of consistency if extreemly frustrating to your customers who are counting on you to come through for them. They have production schedules and delivery deadlines to meet, and if they can’t count on you to deliver on their expectations, you will lose the trust you built up in the sales process. In turn they will seek out a more consistent, more sensible solution provider.

“Consistency = Trust and Trust = $$$” – Richard Elmes

When you consistently come through for them the level of trust in the relationship rises. And when the level of trust is increased, your customer will resist jumping ship to another competitor. Even when their offer appears more attractive on the service.

Why?

Because your customers will ask themselves the follow question, “Can I count on the new suppliers ability to come through for me and deliver on their promises, or will they let me down in my time of need?”

And the answer is “I don’t know.” That  fear of being let down is not very attractive to people who stand to lose a lot if that happens.

Some of the keys to bringing more consistency to your relationship is to:

  • Walk your Talk: Simply do what you say you will and deliver on your promises.
  • Don’t over Sell: Make sure your marketing materials and sales presentation are not over-promising on what you can deliver. Because if you over-promise and under-deliver, then you will have a frustrated (former) customer to deal with
  • Set realistic delivery times: Setting unrealistic delivery times is a recipe for failure.
  • Be congruent: Make sure your appearance and what you say are consistent with your message and with your customers. (ie. Don’t wear the 3-piece suit if you are selling to farmers

So, remember that if you are Consistent with your Customers than they will find that sexy and they will be more likely to be consistant (in placing orders) with you.

How to always win in Sales

In my business I occasionally get the opportunity to conduct a “Ride-along” with a Sales Representative. Meaning I ride along for the day to observe and coach that individual in the field.

This is a powerful tool for teaching, “in-the-moment”.  As an observer I have the opportunity to watch, listen and feel what the rep is going through as they visit their customers.

One of the tips that I give to many reps that are visiting the same customers on a regular basis (route sales) is to make sure they are always winning.

I catogorize the wins into different levels.

The ultimate win is to secure some business.

However, a Sales Professional can still make each call a productive one by walking out of the call with at least some information that will help them build the relationship, determine needs or effectively present their solutions. I call these small wins, because there are constantly moving the sales process along. And moving it closer to the ultimate win.

Because you can’t close every deal, but you can make sure you move the process along and win on every call.