I just received at least the 10th email this week from a different sales rep trying to sell me prospect leads – and its Tuesday. Now as a sales professional, trainer, and coach, I tend to probably be at the same time more critical and more sympathetic to sales reps trying to do their job. I’m critical in that I dissect their message and approach more than most. But I also feel sorry for many of them because I can tell by their email that they are either new, untrained, or misguided. And when I talk to sales reps about their sales activities, most sheepishly admit that they know what they are doing isn’t working, but just don’t know what else to do. Unfortunately many of the sales activities that we utilize cause more harm than good, labeling us as “salesy” and irritating the prospect.
Sales is a process. And like any other process, it is only as good as its weakest step. If you are great with one or two steps of the process but weak in others, you will still struggle. But if you focus on improving in each area, you will exponentially improve your sales results. Here are the 5 critical sales steps and how to improve.
Quick question: If you needed surgery, would you rather have a world class specialist, or a generalist that barely passed medical school? I’m guessing you would choose the specialist. But this decision doesn’t just occur with life or death situations – the same applies to most products and services. Buyers want to work with experts, so by convincing your prospects that you are an expert, you will naturally create more demand and close more deals.
“But Tom, I’m not an expert!” Ok, let me ask you a couple more questions.
We are always looking for that silver bullet – that one thing that will get us in the prospect’s door and close the deal. Or better yet, that will have the prospect beating down our door. Well I won’t go so far to say that I have the silver bullet. But I can tell you with a high level of confidence, and proof, the single best way to differentiate yourself in the eyes of your prospects is through Public Speaking.
“What makes you different than other staffing companies?” I can still hear the question posed by my prospect almost 15 years ago. I just as vividly remember my answer:
“Well it’s the quality of our people……”.
What I remember the most clearly is what happened next – my prospect laughing at me. So I stopped and uncomfortably asked him what I had said or done that made him laugh. He quickly apologized and then asked me a question:
“Thank you for calling Tallann Resources, this is Tom.”
“Mr. Erb, my name is John Smith and I’m with Better Quality Electric Power. Does your company use electricity, and if so, are you happy with your current supplier?”
“Uh, yes we use electricity, and I guess we are happy with our current company.”
“Well I’d like to schedule an appointment with you for just 15 minutes next week. Does 1 pm or 2 pm on Wednesday work better for you?”
“Why would we be meeting?”
“So I can talk to you about how we are different than the electric service you are using now.”
“How are you different?”
“Great question! It's the quality of our electricity.”
“Quality of your electricity?”
“Yes, we have the best electricity in the industry.”
Everyone in our family has an iPad, even our four year old son. We are an Apple family with three iPads, two Macbooks, and three iPhones. And obviously we aren't the only ones - reports show that Apple has more cash reserves than the United States! And this from a company that was on the brink of bankruptcy less than 20 years ago.
In today’s staffing climate, businesses are created to satisfy needs within their surrounding community. But often in the scramble to build the business and capture the market ahead of something else, it becomes nothing more than a commodity – something that is readily available, but is hardly indistinguishable from all of the other businesses that are similar in nature.
Ever notice how there are always one or two people (or companies) in a market that are synonymous with their industry? Like the auto dealer that is a not-so-minor celebrity in your city, or the HR consultant that everyone thinks of first when they have a need, or the professional speaker that seems to be the keynote at every Rotary, chamber, and industry meeting you attend.
Optimism is back in the staffing industry. Business is up, clients are calling us again, and all seems right with the world. But along with that optimism is a false sense of security, resulting in missed opportunities now and long-term consequences later.