The JF Guest Author Spot
Prior proper planning prevents poor performance! Our productivity is greatly increased when we make the time to prepare. Notice I didn't say 'find" time. (Though, wouldn't that be great to pick up some time we found on the sidewalk?) Preparation is a discipline and successful professionals make the time.
Preparation is even more important in a changing economy. We need to change our preparation strategy during this time. What worked yesterday may not work today.
For each contact do your homework and prepare for:
1. Who you are meeting with. In the overall sale, is this person the only person you should be meeting with? Are there others within this organization that should be included in the discussion? For this person, what is happening with them today? How is the economy affecting them personally? As you consider how to approach them identify a question or two that is just about them!
2. The industry they are in. Conduct research to find out what is happening specifically in this industry today. Are lines of credit to this industry lessened? Does the global implication matter to them? What is happening with the workforce? These are good starting places for research.
3. The company. Have they had layoffs? Are they hiring? What is happening with their stock (if applicable)? What is their competition doing? There are many companies who have found a way to capitalize on the financial situation in the US.
4. Review notes from past contacts. What level of discussion have you had? Has it been strategic - tied into increasing results, decreasing costs or lessening risks? Or tactical - focused on one specific piece of information that is tied directly to what you offer? Prepare to broaden your discussion to strategy and help them solve business problems or create opportunities.
5. Communicate with them the way THEY want to be communicated with. Every person has a "language" they speak. Some speak facts and figures, others talk about people. Some are "quick" communicators - they like bullet points, not a lot of detail and get right to the main points. Others like to hear stories, need a ton of detail and won't be rushed. You can get an idea of their language through any communication you have had with them in the past - emails, telephone calls, voicemail messages tell a lot.
If you can find them on any of the social networking tools like LinkedIn or Twitter, you can learn a lot about how they communicate. Prepare to adjust your communication to "talk their language" and the level of trust will be stronger and the information flow smoother.
To make your preparation efficient, a few tools to use:
1. Google alerts. Use these to receive an email when a specific industry, company, or person is in the news. Go to http://www.google.com/alerts to set your alerts.
2. Use your in-house CRM system - Garbage in, garbage out. If you have input good information, now is the time to use it! If you haven't, set aside 30 minutes a day to populate your system.
3. Put pen to paper! Writing your call objective, questions you will ask, benefits you can create and problems you can solve will help you retain focus during the discussion.
The biggest obstacle to preparation I hear is the "not enough" excuse. Not enough time, not enough information, "not enough" value in doing it. In our control studies, the sales professionals that prepared were 17-25% more effective than those that didn't.
How would those sales increases impact you?
Sales expert Nancy Bleeke, The SalesProInsider (http://www.salesproinsider.com/index.htm ), helps organizations set aggressive sales goals and achieve them while boosting profitability by hiring, training and retaining the best employees.
Companies can increase sales 5-25% in six weeks using Nancy's tools and skill training for sales (http://www.salesproinsider.com/SkillDevt/sales.htm ) and coaching. She shares her expertise with the Timely Tips ezine and her blog (http://www.salesproductivityinsider.com/ )
Today's News: You have a real treat in store today! My colleague Maureen Blandford is in conversation with Clayton Shold over at Salesopedia - anyone else thinks she sounds like Ruby Wax? I told her that, but she had never heard of the amazing Ruby!
"Maureen Blandford bumps up against corporate marketers as she advocates for sales teams everywhere. She discusses challenges faced by many sales teams that feel they are not getting the marketing support to be effective on the ground. She declares corporate America needs to stop whittling away at training budgets and shift some marketing dollars in that direction. She believes a better alignment is possible which will leverage sales motion. Maureen makes a compelling case many Presidents and CEO's would be wise to consider." Just click on the banner below to listen in.
Tomorrow: "Will 2009 Sound The Death Knell For Sales Training As We Know It?"
Link to original post