Are you a salesman?
Name it, account manager, account executive, business consultants, business development executive, relationship manager, territory manager, all of these titles are equivalent to a sales position.
Perhaps the only job position in the world where there is only one common KPI (key performance indicator) – Achieve Sales Targets, sales is perceived to be the only job where pressure is so intense, it can make the person think of committing a suicide.
There are a lot of books about sales out there. Thousands are probably published and sold in the bookstores, however getting a successful stint in sales requires only several basic rules – endless prospecting, consistent follow-ups and avoid indolence.
It all starts with Prospecting
Every salesperson must know the benefit of prospecting. A salesperson without a prospect is nothing but a headless chicken. A stable and almost-infinite supply of pipeline is a sure-shot way of achieving sales target. But then, these pipelines must be translatable to sales, otherwise, quantity will never be the basis of success rate. Together with prospecting is qualifying. The rule is, a salesperson must know if a prospect is a qualified lead. Are they willing to buy? Do they have a budget? Is it likely to be closed within the quarter?
A salesperson must be very careful in qualifying a lead or prospect. Some clients are very good in accommodating sales executives in their office. More often, the salesperson are lured to the fact that the clients hospitality might be a buying signal. Sometimes, or more often, this act of accommodation is just a pure gesture of casual encounter and buying is not on their priority. They are just shy to shut the door at you and they want to give you a chance. There is a 95% chance that this ‘hoppers’ will not buy.
You will never know if the client is interested unless you meet them. It will take a careful and critical look on their body languages and excellent probing will play a vital role in unearthing buying opportunities. Books about sales say that clients with a lot of questions are in the position to the buy. But this is not always the case. Rebuttals or clarifications are sometimes misleading, giving the salesperson an indication that they are interested about the product. But then again, we must translate interest to decision and there is a slim chance to deliver curiosity to actual sales. A successful qualifying can be done by excellent probing.
Where do I get my leads?
Some companies have telemarketers or lead generators. But everyone in the sales organization might be competing internally with each other to get the freshest lead. Online/Telephone inquiry is sometimes the surest way to get a sale. However, one must not rely on endorsed leads as this is not the true measure of a good salesmanship. A good salesperson is measured by his ability to find leads and prospects on his own, without relying on referred leads.
There are a lot of platforms out there to gather leads and opportunities – internet, linkedin, facebook, twitter, etc. The internet is fast becoming the ultimate bible of sales as it contain an endless supply of leads and new information. It only requires creativity and intelligence in finding the right keywords and searches to meet the desired results.
Battling laziness and encouraging follow-ups
The ultimate enemy of a salesperson is laziness. Since we are susceptible to freedom and flexibility and we have full control of our time, we are bound to use it carelessly. To convert query to leads, leads to opportunities, opportunities to sales, it must passed through a series of follow-ups.
Please don’t expect the client to proactively send you update about your offer. It only happens in almost rare cases wherein they are in the best position and time to buy. But in the event that you are in a convincing mode to change their mind or make a purchase, you must consistently follow-up with the customer. A perfect phrase to ask them for an update is like this: “Hi Maam/Sir, How are you? I hope this email finds you well. It has been a while since our last talk, I would like to hear a word from you on the status of my quote, I am interested to know if you have reached a decision….”
Don’t worry or be scared, clients truly understand your intention and they expect that you will follow-up with them from time to time. So just extend your patience a bit further and wait ’till the sales come in.
So there, I hope you were able to learn something from this. If you have questions, please do let me know 🙂