The global market is shifting more and more to online, and new competitors are popping up everywhere. One thing Australian businesses need for sure is their professional salespeople to step up and deliver month in, month out with consistent sales results. And we would appreciate them exceeding their targets every now and then, as this would help immensely! However, even on a quiet month, we expect them to hit their targets.
Yes, your business needs to be more customer-focused, and you need to deliver on your promises. Yes, you need to have an online presence and social media to attract more opportunities. But when it comes to the face-to-face interactions with your potential customers, does your modern-day sales professional stand up and deliver like a true athlete? Are they industry experts in their field that can outperform any competitor by raising the bar? Or are they just an order taker trying to do their job waiting for the customer to do their own research on Google, and then come and buy from them?
I feel that that the modern-day sales person is often too complacent and not proactive. It may be because they have fallen into sales while trying to find something else to do. Or is it because they have not been inducted properly by you, and your expectations are not aligned? Is it because their leader lacks the management skills required, to drive them and lead by example, or do they not know how to manage the performance expectations to fulfil the role? Maybe your sales people can’t be bothered cross-selling or up-selling products as they get nothing out of it? Or maybe they are paid so well, that it does not affect them that much, and they don’t need to push themselves harder to perform? I have seen all the above!
I know the above is harsh, and I hope I have your attention. I feel that the whole professional sales market has dropped the ball in 2018. Business owners are trying to survive by introducing new products and services. They are trying to create new income streams and diversity, and they need their team onboard to engage and recommend everything for the customer to make an informed decision. They need to be sales trained and upskilled. But it’s then up to the professional sales person to take ownership and execute the outcomes for the business, and fulfill their role as mentioned above.
To me, professional sales people need to work on self-development every day, just like an athlete, to perform better and better at each opportunity. Practice, drill and rehearse is what makes a great sales professional. Sales is the blood of every business, and they rely on their sales experts to deliver. The lack of product knowledge sales people have today when they are engaging, demonstrating and delivering on their part of the company, totally amazes me. To survive in 2019 with so much change and diversity, your sales professionals need to perform better than ever.
To be successful in sales in today’s world, you need to have company goals. And the sales team need to be 100% behind them, while including their own goals to break records. There will always be competition and price wars (because that has not changed in 100 years).
But if your sales people cannot perform professionally, then you have a problem. We are now in a competitive market with lots of disruption, and there is still more to come. Only the tough will survive if they stick to their goals and strategy.
Below are some tips I recommend:
- Strategy .Get your whole company to be on the same page on how you keep and grow your existing customers, while being 100% on top of new business opportunities. What is your strategy?
- Sense of Urgency. You need your whole company, and the driven sales team, to have a strong sense of urgency around follow-up for certainty. Make sure they are at the forefront of all customer opportunities, good and bad. They all need to make the calls as quick as possible to demonstrate their commitment to your paying customers.
- Value. Your team, especially the sales team need to see the value of what your products and services can do for a client. If they don’t see the value, they will never recommend it and will probably only sell selected products and services that they’re comfortable with. They must believe in every product and service you offer but, more importantly, they must see the value of how it will help and benefit their customers.
- Capability . Your sales team needs to have the capability to educate, explain and demonstrate their product knowledge around your offerings. They must be an expert on all products, whilst having the confidence to cross-sell and upsell your products and services. Customers of today want value for money and are happy to spend more providing they see all the benefits.
- Delivery. Your company as a whole needs to be able to deliver better than your competitors as that’s your point of difference. This is how you create and achieve repeat business, as well as good referrals. Communication is key within your organisation to deliver the best results.
- Customer Satisfaction. Your customers must be completely satisfied with the level of customer service they receive. It’s not just from the sales team, and what they have recommended and sold, its everyone within your company that backs your products and services, especially if they have a touch point with your customers.
- Win-Win. Every interaction and opportunity for your customers must be a win-win outcome for both parties. You need a customer centric business that helps your customers achieve their goals which, in turn, achieves your goals. They need to feel good with what you offer, and your company will benefit with the win-win partnership. This also blocks out your competitors.
Many business owners get disappointed when their sales results don’t happen, and they miss the mark/the target. These results then create a downturn in their business. It’s all about getting back to the basics and doing what you must to drive the professional sales aspects back into your business. You may need to do more in-house training or engage in professional help. If your sales people are not the right people to execute your company goals, then you may need to replace them with fresh blood.
The value of building a Strategic Business Plan, which I have mentioned in previous articles, is all about your business strategy future success. And in today’s business world, it’s about sustainability and consistency. There is 10 weeks until the new year. Are you going to finish strong? Are you prepared for 2019 with your strategy?