To avoid COVID-19 spreading too quickly, governments and businesses ask people not to travel. Hence, many sales colleagues find themselves in a new situation; working from home. Now is the time to be productive and use your telephone skills as much as you can. Indoor or Telephone Sales are used to this, but If you are in Field Sales, this may be a whole new environment. Normally in the field, you may make 30 visits per week, now you need to do these by phone. If this is your new situation, here are 5 tips to be effective in applying the new way of selling skills to portfolio customers and prospects.
The phone is your friend.
The phone is your friend to be more productive- Get into a routine quickly. Find a quiet place in your home where you can work undisturbed in sets of one hour. Have breaks in between every hour. Have a call list ready. Make it a mix of portfolio (current) customers and prospects to ensure variations in your calls. Not travelling between meetings has advantages; you can reach more customers and more prospects per week. This requires a new kind of discipline. Normally it would take you three months to visit all your portfolio customers. Now, on the phone, this goes a lot quicker. Update your current trading customers on how your company is dealing with the new situation and how you can help them. Look after them first, and ensure they understand that your services continue as always. Instead of 6 visits per day, now you can contact at least double and still have time for prospecting. You have one friend in your room: your phone.
Preparation is key
Prepare yourself really well for every call. What is the objective of your call? Use LinkedIn to find out more about your contacts. Who are they reporting to? What function do they represent? Explore your prospective customer’s website. Ask yourself: How do they make money? Who are their end customers? Who are their main competitors? Why do you think they chose them? Can you find any strategic plans on their website or Social Media? Ask in your calls about their future plans. What are their growth strategies for the next 12 – 24 months?
Focus on strategic value.
Focus on delivering strategic value – If you want to displace your competitor, you have to deliver strategic value. It needs to make sense for a company to change their business to you. In most cases, the main reason has to be related to either a better way for them to make money, reduce overall cost, have more growth opportunities or all of these. To start their buying clock ticking, you need to ask questions about their current situation first and the risk of not changing. Is their setup good enough to achieve what they are trying to achieve?
Deliver insightful information
Deliver Insights – Customers are hungry for insights. So, you need to give these to them. What information is useful for your prospective customer to know, is relevant to their challenges, and may change their perspective about their current suppliers and set-up? What is it that you know and they don’t? Do not think too difficult about this. What were the main reasons your last ten prospects changed their business over to you? What was it that they could not achieve with your competitor supplier? What insights did you deliver to them? The most difficult part of the new way of selling is not to talk about your company, your products, and their FABs. Take your conversations to a business level, understand what your prospective customer is trying to achieve, and think with them as if you are a member of their team. Then the relevant insights will come to you.
The buying room is bigger than you think.
Uncover more stakeholders – In the new way of selling, you are already aware that nowadays, there are more stakeholders involved in making major buying decisions. In Telesales, this number may have increased from two to three or four, and in Field Sales, you are looking at six to seven people involved across multiple functions. Be aware that they all have a different agenda, but in the end, they all play their part in the company’s strategy. The best way to meet more stakeholders is to be introduced. Go back to an old and unsuccessful opportunity in your pipeline and pick up the phone with the last contact you had. Or the person you had the most contact with. To make a change, all stakeholders involved need to arrive at a consensus to change. Who is your change champion? Who can introduce you to another functional stakeholder to understand their view on the matter? Make sure you talk their language; Operational people are interested in operational efficiencies, and Sales and marketing managers are interested in revenue gains and growing their customer base. For finance people, the overall cost is important, and for owners, MDs and CEOs, it is all about Return of Investment and…that there is consensus at the senior management team to make a change.
I wish you good luck with your new situation. Turn it into a positive, and make the most of it. Review these 5 tips regularly, become a Trusted Advisor over the phone, and let your coming month to be your best productive and effective month ever.
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