In his book "Fundamentals of Selling", Charles Futrell identifies careful use of selling time as perhaps the distinguishing characteristic of the successful salesperson. Frequently there are two main pitfalls that even experienced salespeople can fall into in terms of activities. First, they simply aren't doing enough. What's enough? Enough telephone calls to make appointments, enough face-to-face calls, enough calls that involve or influence the decision-makers. In general, the more focused sales activity salespeople generate, the greater the number of sales opportunities they can create.
Poor Quality Activity:
Second, but equally important, salespeople often aren't clear about how to identify the prospects most likely to have a genuine need for their product or service. Without an objective way to prioritise which prospects to contact first and/or an efficient strategy for contacting them, salespeople are doomed to waste a large percentage of their time.
Another huge dilemma for many salespeople is how to divide their time between servicing existing clients and generating new business from new prospects. Existing clients frequently make requests for service that could be dealt with by support staff. But salespeople who lack a disciplined, future-orientated plan for generating new contacts and sales often find themselves spending more time attending to "urgent" tasks for existing accounts instead. A common approach among salespeople can be summarised in the saying "If you throw enough mud against the wall, some of it is bound to stick". This approach is exhausting, demoralising, extremely unproductive, and very expensive in the long term.
Speed Of Relaying Customer Information:
The Sales Director provides another interesting dimension to activity management. Apart from product or service knowledge, salespeople require knowledge about prospects, clients, and market trends. Therefore, if the information those salespeople require isn't relayed in an efficient manner, their "face-to-face" selling activities are dramatically reduced.
Today's News: Mixed reaction to my new banner: My son Joe, who regular visitors will remember is studying Astro-Physics at Cambridge University said: "The top of your head doesn't seem to exist. You just go from eyes to eyebrows to white. Very ghostly. I like black on white though. Very minimalist and crisp"
So, this is what an education at one of the world's leading seats of learning gives you - the ability to identify the obvious!
Tomorrow: My guest is Paul McCord and you can expect more commentary, if I do not get woken up at 5.30 am by the hotel's fire alarm system and am left to freeze outside for an hour and a half!
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