by Alex A. Araneta
So your targets have been laid out and obviously they have been increased. Your wondering now what else can you do to be able to cope up with management’s expectations. From my experience there’s really nothing new that you should do. Instead, you may have to review what you have been doing and determine what are the key things that you do that gives you the most dramatic results. Once you have identified this, see if there is anything you still can improve on in this area (I’m sure there is!) and commit yourself to doing it. Just in case you need some help, here are my tips on how you can improve your sales.
Tip #1: INCREASE YOUR TIME FOR SELLING
A major obstacle I noticed with salespeople is that they are doing so many other things except selling. Although many of the things may be legitimate since it’s management’s requirement, I believe there is a proper time to do this. An example on what I’m talking about are the reports you need to make (call report, status report, itinerary, reimbursement of your per diem, etc.). Yes, those things need to be done but don’t do it on peak selling time (9am-5pm). Do it before or after so you give more time to do what you are supposed to do and that is to sell!
Tip #2: TARGET YOUR PROSPECTS BETTER
Salespeople can be so obsessed with meeting the daily quota of calls that they forget that it’s not about the number of the calls they make but the quality of calls they achieve. Remember, quantity is good on the report but quality is essential to your performance. One thing that salespeople need to do better is to research on their prospect or client more. Try and find out who are the real decision-makers or the key influencers in the organization. Once you know who they are, find out what are their interests or where do they hang-out. This will give you information on first who you should target meeting and secondly how you can get to their better side.
Tip #3: NETWORK, NETWORK, NETWORK
Top inspirational speaker Francis Kong says it best: “If you’re not networking, you’re not working.” Face it, getting to your target prospects to meet with you is a big challenge. They have a million things to do, are all over the place and if they are in their office, they have a dragon lady that keeps them safe from salespeople like you. Don’t panic because there must be someone out there who knows your prospect. The better the relationship of the person who knows your prospect, the greater the probability that the prospect will agree to meet with you. All it takes is a humble request from you to get a recommendation from the prospect’s friend for a possible meeting. So you need to ask around who are the prospect’s network of friends and contacts so that you can start being in that network as well. Remember this – in the Philippines everyone is related so just try and find out how.
Tip #4: ALWAYS ASK FOR A REFERRAL
I believe the word “dyahe” should be eliminated from our vocabulary because in sales it doesn’t do us any good. Being rejected in sales can be an ego-deflating exercise so I would tell my salespeople that to give you some sanity and hope, at the very least ask for referrals from the prospects you meet. This way, you keep your pipeline going and who knows, there may be a goldmine in one of those referrals.
Tip #5: IMPROVE YOUR SALES PRESENTATION
The average salesperson is oftentimes contented to the standard sales presentation spiel that his/her boss taught. As a result, they say word for word what was taught them and they dare not veer away from the presentation format which usually is a welcome followed by a presentation of the company credentials, officers and accomplishments. What comes next is usually a rundown of the products offered and then is ended by a thank you and a question if the client is interested in their product or service. By that time, the prospect’s mind has drafted already to some tropical paradise or to the pending work in the office. The best presentations are spontaneous, engaging and interactive. Prospects don’t care about your company’s achievements or who are the officers. What they care about is how your product and service will help them. If so, then why not just share stories or experiences of real clients who have used your product or service and what were the benefits to them. Practice telling these stories so they can be really interesting for your prospect. And don’t forget to ask your prospect for feedback just to see if your product or service is good for them.
I wish you all the best for 2012 and may your sales achievements soar way up high this year!
by Alex A. Araneta