Sales & Customer Service

The Sales Perception
Firstly, welcome! Thank you for getting this far. I genuinely hope you find our content interesting. I am not a natural writer, and being introverted you could imagine how many times I read, read and read again this blog to make it seem less insular. I truly wanted to put my own thoughts into a format to get people’s attention and interest.

The Sales Perception

Why is it when people talk about a sales person, your immediate thought is a car sales person or an insurance sales person or even a cold calling sales person?

Did your mind instantly flash to someone who looks like Del Boy, or one of the lads from Phonejacker? Yes? Unfortunately most people do….

It is no wonder that in a recent Gallup’s survey on honesty and ethical conduct of business professionals, the poll highlighted that insurance sales people and car sales people ranked at the bottom of the list (at least we came ahead of politicians, who in fact are just glorified sales people anyway). As a professional sales person, it is a real shame that sales people in general seem to be tarred with the same “car-sales-person” brush.

Whilst I am positive there are sales people out there that do look as cheesy as Del Boy, honestly, once you made the brave decision to say, buy a car or a few steak knives, did you end up actually finding Del Boy? Not many of you? Can’t remember, Nor me.

So with our reputation starting to mend, with our image beginning to change, what is next for the lowly sales person? My biggest concern due to the rise in laziness, is that instead of Del Boy, you now find sales people or the customer facing people chatting between themselves, totally oblivious to your presence. Even more frustratingly, sometimes in a totally different language. The only thing that I have encountered that topped these two fundamental sales flaws was a local shop on King Street, with no colleagues to chat too, they just stood just blankly staring at me wondering why I entered into their domain of solitude?

Result = high-tailed out of there? You bet…

When I am then brought in to rejuvenate, motivate and teach sales etiquette within these businesses, I find that staff either genuinely do not understand how truly vital the customer is to them keeping a job or they have no pride in the brand they are selling for.

I have often found that at the beating heart of the shop/store/outlet, unfortunately, the business owners are either too busy to focus, have lost their passion, can not relay their vision or just totally blind to the fact they are portraying a greater detrimental image to their customers than someone a little overzealous and eager to claim the sale.

At least a pushy salesperson often lands a sale.

Stay tuned, more to come in further posts…

5 Tips to Becoming a Sales Star
The following tips are in no particular order. They are 5 things that I have always found to be significant in my own progress as a successful portfolio manager within varying industries. 

 #1 Sales Stars will learn to recognise risk and reward within their portfolios.

Some businesses may require more work and finesse but will bring a higher return.  Other sales leads may require minimal work and may yield a large number of small sales but the low investment required will still justify the smaller revenues generated or the lower margins.

“In some cases, a well-organised sales portfolio may show that certain companies and clients require more work and yet they rarely yield returns that justify the amount of investment required to nurture, develop and manage them. “Warren Buffet

The Sales Star, with the guidance of senior level management should carefully evaluate all activities within their sales portfolio’s to determine where to invest time and resources to generate the highest returns (revenues and profits). You won’t succeed in sales if you can’t do this effectively!

Great salespeople have an intuitive ability to understand this risk reward relationship regarding their pipeline.

They will manage their sales pipeline intelligently. View the pipeline as more of a sales portfolio, and are not afraid to integrate successful strategies from other industries into their own sales techniques to try and “test” to see which ones work, and which ones don’t.

 #2 The close of the sale begins right at the start.

The sales star by having a plan in place, will know the outcome long before they get to the end of this routine process, and they do it by ensuring that; they have a well qualified prospect, they know the prospect’s dominant buying motives, they have identified all of their potential objections before they are even expressed, they have carefully observed the various buying signals from the prospect and they have given an effective and interactive presentation.

They know long before they ask their closing question what the answer will be.

How?

By being effective at people reading, by asking intelligent, effective and appropriate probing qualifying questions, by being good listeners and by asking a variety of trial closing questions throughout the sales process. They don’t try and force a fit. They discover the prospects sense of urgency or they create it.

They are in the prospect’s presence to sell not educate. They are there to do business or develop business. From their opening remark to their final closing statement their attitude is I am here to sell or set up future sales opportunities. This does not mean that they are applying pressure or hard-selling. It means they are serious about helping the prospect solve their problems or take advantage of opportunities.

#3 Focus on one sale at a time and you’ll make a living. Build a trusting relationship and you can make a fortune.

Some salespeople focus on just closing the sale. Successful salespeople focus on closing the sale and building a relationship.

Selling is not about only closing the current prospect on a particular product or service that solves one of their pressing problems.  It is about building a trusting relationship with them. By becoming a trusted resource, we help in solving their on-going problems, or satisfying their continuing and evolving needs and desires.

Sales stars know that the lifetime value of a client is far more than the value of one sale or transaction.  They take along view of the relationship. It is not just about this sale but future sales, referrals and building customer trust and loyalty.

#4 They will work as hard to keep the business as they did to get it in the first place.

A key concept to keep in mind while selling is that the close of the sale is not the end of the sales process, but the beginning of the sales relationship.

After-sales service is the key to keeping sales closed and keeping customers satisfied and buying again. It can often be a subtle test to see if you can really deliver.

The key is to promise a lot and deliver more. In other words, exceed customer expectations – wow them with service. Poor salespeople continuously promise a lot and deliver less, or promise a little and deliver next to nothing.

Sales superstars know that to ensure repeat business, customer loyalty, positive references and qualified referrals that their after sales service must be one of their strengths.

#5 There is no better investment than investment in yourself.

Over the years, one common denominator in sales super stars is their willingness to invest in the continued improvement of their skills, attitudes and philosophy.

Life is an interesting relationship between paying the price of investment and looking to gain a return on the time and money spent. Interestingly this is the same relationship you are trying to sell to your prospects.

There are hundreds of books to read, audio CD’s to listen to and seminars to attend. It is never to late to start. The important factor is passion and dedication.

Sales stars don’t wait for their businesses to invest in them and their future value. They take full responsibility for the quality of their life and learning. They are pro-active in seeking out learning opportunities. They use professional coaches, have mentors and belong to mastermind groups.

They are constantly taking advantage of networking opportunities looking for all types of people who can help them improve.

I hope you enjoyed today’s post, we would love to hear from you. Contact me directly on daniel@yoursalesexperience.com or comment below.

Have a fantastic day!

Never forget “the experience delivered today, will generate the income for tomorrow”.

Yours in Sales & Service,

Dan

 

Outsource for Growth
  1. What is holding you back from Sales Growth?

  2. What areas of your business have you invested into over the last 6 months?

  3. What has been your Return on the Investment?

  4. How important is coaching your customer facing team on sales, and how often do you do it?

If you answered “I am not sure” to any of these questions then what are you doing to give your company its unfair advantage? You maybe missing real sales opportunities…

Deliver the experience today, to ensure the income for tomorrow.

No more mediocrity, its time for the WOW factor.

Yours in Sales & Service

Dan

Managing Director

www.oursalesexperience.com

 

Fitness as a Sport?

Fifteen years ago, 2 fitness entrepreneurs, Lauren Jenai and Greg Glassman introduced a new sport to the world – they called it CrossFit.

CrossFit has since revolutionised the way many professional or aspiring (and even non-athletes), think of fitness. It is a sport that aims to improve an athlete’s general physical preparedness, with this being achieved through the development of ten skills

  • cardiovascular & Stamina
  •  strength & flexibility
  • power & speed
  • coordination & agility
  • balance & accuracy

The sport incorporates elements from other sports and training regimes including Olympic weightlifting, gymnastics, plyometrics, calisthenics, as well as the more familiar disciplines of swimming and running.

In 2005, there were 13 CrossFit -affiliated gyms in the U.S. and now 10 years on there are over 10,000 CrossFit affiliates around the world. Whilst over half of these are in the US, CrossFit also has a presence in Asia, Latin America, Australia, Europe and in May, the launch of the new CrossFit gym in Jersey.

“CrossFit does a phenomenal job of making itself very accessible to all types of people. All of the weights can be adjusted, and movements modified to allow any individual to take part. Because of this, physical disabilities generally do not limit individuals in their potential for participation. McGill Kinesiology Patrick Vellner

When looking at why the CrossFit Fitness model has boomed, the key factor, in article after article, blog after blog, YouTube after YouTube clip was the word Community. If you have ever belonged to a gym or a dojo, a church or a charity organisation, a tight-knit business or a club, then you have felt the allure and power of community, and experienced the stories that accompany it.

To facilitate its global reach, CrossFit makes use of a virtual community Internet model (Wikipedia 2015), using technology to its benefit and localising the success of this worldwide brand in a way that no other fitness offering has done in the past. Proud members posting daily how amazing there ‘WOD’ was or how close they are to their best ever ‘Fran’ – a language that only a committed CrossFit member would understand.

This ethos is continued locally at the ‘Box’ which is owned and run by CrossFit Accredited Trainers Joe Murphy & Grant Hogan, whose mantra is very much replicating the localisation of the CrossFit brand with a Jersey ‘family’ that radiates the word community.

“We train incredibly hard; harder than most thought they were capable of. Everyday our members break down barriers and set new standards for themselves.
Our training is intense (relative to each individual) and it creates a bond among our members that can’t be manufactured.
The community aspect of Jersey CrossFit is our greatest strength. There are no egos, and no room for bad attitudes. Those type of people just don’t fit here. We are fun and supportive, we are competitive, we are strong, we are humble”.

The ultimate aspiration is to compete in CrossFit’s annual event, the Open, where any CrossFit members worldwide do a series of five workouts. There are a variety of categories, including such as those based on age, where teenagers’ between the ages 14 and 17 years old as well as the ‘Masters’ for those older than the age of 40.

The Jersey Box have 8 team members competing in this years Open, and will also be representing the island at the British Championships held later this year.

However, the foundation of CrossFit is about preparing people for any physical goal, not simply for competition, and the key is for a realistic and achievable target meaning people can feel comfortable knowing they are still part of the community but working towards achieving their individual goal – another attraction that has seen the popularity of the CrossFit brand grow.

Maslows ‘Hierarchy of Needs’ theory states that the top three motivations for any human endeavour are;

  • self-actualisation
  • esteem
  • love/belonging

Given the goal driven approach, the physical and mental success rate results and the competitive community it has created, CrossFit founders Glass & Jenai has managed to incorporate the top three of Maslow’s Hierarchy key motivators as part of their culture. Whether or not Maslow’s Heirachy was discussed or outlined in the original Business Plan, Glass & Jenai got it spot on.

Find out more on Jersey’s Crossfit and see for yourself why CrossFit promotes, #FitnessAsASport .

Alternatively, contact Jersey Box owner Joe Murphy at joe@jerseycrossfit.je for more information as well as the chance to get your hands on a limited number of free day passes when the new gym opens its doors in May.

Have you tried CrossFit? What are your thoughts?

Yours in Health

Dan Ireland

I sell and I am an introvert

Introverted salespeople? Impossible….

 

Gift of the gab, smooth talking, charismatic, can talk to anyone; these are all phrases that would describe a salesperson, right?

Well yes, that probably is right, having these traits is indeed a fantastic asset for customer facing people (including telephony based). So that must mean that introverts purely work in back office admin roles?

Well yes, again, the vast majority probably do, but not all; some of the best salespeople I know are introverts. Impossible…

Let me offer my support to this bold statement.

  • Introverted salespeople often turn out to be the relationship builders within your sales team.
  • They genuinely care about how your customers think, feel and act with regards to the brand that they work for and the products that they sell.
  • They care about the intricacies of the relationship; they don’t just see a sale, they see a person and the potential to build a lasting relationship with them.
  • They take the time to understand your company’s offerings, researching your customers, and have never ever uttered the words: ‘I am just going to wing this one’.
  • The introvert won’t be top of the sales table after 6 months, but will be on the way up towards the end of that year. More than likely they will be number 1 or number 2 from then on.
  • They will be the one with an amazing complaint record, proactive when a product is launched, and well prepared to mitigate any objections due to their belief in your company’s products.
  • They are active listeners that react to your customer’s body language and tone, and spend time analysing material that will aid them through the sales process.
  • They believe that impressions last, and will make sure every effort is made in the first contact.

Does this mean that none of these traits can be found in an extrovert? Well no, of course they have some of these traits, and they already have one skill they know an introvert will never have; the innate ability to walk straight up to anyone and comfortably start a conversation.

To all those introverts out there that have taken the time to read this article; believe in yourself. You have the skills to succeed. Keep striving to improve, seeking out training opportunities and developing your closing techniques. Continue to sell with pride and above all, never stop caring.

From a fellow introverted relationship builder.

Dan

Managing Director

Our Sales Experience

www.oursalesexperience.com

Successful Accidents?

“Success is no accident”

What our customers value of the goods and services we offer will inevitably change over time. If we do not keep at least a small step in front or in step with our customers, then we become irrelevant and your competitors end up winning. Keeping in step means continually improving/updating/revitalising/cancelling our products and services.

It means continual attention to the conversations we have with our customers, focusing on their needs and priorities and what motivates them to buy from our companies.

“If you want everything you want, you need to find and sell to people who want what you got”. Zig Ziglar

Its integral to understand that value is dynamic, not static. Companies and sales people that don’t help in moving their customers forward are holding their customers back, and missing out on real opportunities to not just help themselves achieve their goals & targets, but the overall companies goals & targets.

It’s a big question that most entrepreneurs ask daily… what are your thoughts? How would you stay relevant to your customers?

Yours in Sales & Service.

Dan

Managing Director

www.oursalesexperience.com

What does your subordinate expect?

My 5 Tips of Sales Management from the view of your subordinate.

1)     Never walk into a your first team meeting and feel like you have to set a benchmark then and there as being a hard nosed, aggressive sales manager that wont take any shit and wants immediate results.

There is no quicker way to lose respect, demotivate your team and sign your P45 than this. I have seen this several times, and 2 things always happen. 1) Your good team members leave (and then you end up leaving); 2) you leave. This approach has never EVER worked. In my most recent experience of this, our team were number 1 in the UK & Ireland, and had been for 2 years. Our previous Senior Exec moved up to a more senior role, and our new Senior Exec wanted to leave his mark from day 1. Within 12 months, 4 team members had left (including myself) and the team was 3rd from bottom of the 64 Commercial Centres across UK & Ireland. In my 19+ years of Sales & Business Development, I have never seen a team combust like that before. The benchmark was set… as being quite possibly the worst Senior Exec in history.

2)     Don’t forget the importance of praise on its own

Always give praise where it is due, and never double barrel the praise with a ‘feedback sandwich’. Give praise, give feedback, just do not do both when praise is due. From a subordinate point of view, the feedback sandwich (in my career history) did not work unless my line was truly trying to deliver a very difficult message, although most of the time I knew that message was coming anyway. The whole ‘you are amazing, you are not amazing, by the way, you are amazing’ always left me walking away thinking, huh? If someone has been amazing, drag them into the room, high five them, give them a hug (is that still PC?), whatever you feel is appropriate, smile and say ‘wow, amazing, keep it going, ‘cos you are HOT HOT’.

3)     Stop focusing on the numbers and more on me and the team

Get to know your customer facing team, as each member is different. Take some time to sit down and impart some invaluable best practice sharing and wider market knowledge. One of the best managers I have had, let me listen to or join in on one of his sales calls/meetings every week as a new starting junior of the team. It helped change my tone and my language (body and verbal), as well as instilling a real respect for him and the work that he did. I was even prouder when he overheard one of my sales calls, and using some of his language he came over, patted me on the back and said, “mate, awesome”. He genuinely loved that I had listened to him well enough to mimic what I thought I could deliver when I spoke to a customer. The figures will come, when your team is firing.

4)     Stop allowing the team to sit in the office and make sales calls from the desk

With technology now moving faster than ever, sales people are getting more and more lazy. I appreciate outbound telephony, or overseas sales; these are impossible not to allow (although with Skype & Facetime this is also enabling face to face contact). Those that make the effort to meet the customers face to face win the business, fact. There is nothing more frustrating (when you are doing well) than sitting in a meeting where the whole team is getting the hairdryer treatment for another poor week, when the last 2 months you have seen the vast majority not out of the office. Get on them early. Kick them out of the office, whatever it takes. We all want to see the team doing well.

5)     Allow us the time to invest in ourselves

Apart from 1 to 1 sales coaching, allow your team members time to do some professional development. This may include, audio book work, sales professional book reading, training courses; whatever they feel is best. Give them some ideas, but allow the decision to come from them. These professionals are offering genuine expert advice, and yes, whilst this is from the perspective of 1 expert at a time, there just may be something in that book that connects with them. It may also help them understand some part of the sales process better, and whilst there may never be the “magic pill of sales stardom”, it will build confidence and push them to test the new knowledge on customers.

What are your thoughts? Are there tips you feel should make this top 5 but haven’t?.

We hope your having a fabulous week!

Dan

Managing Director

www.oursalesexperience.com