Let’s face it – sales people (myself included) aren’t usually the best at time management. First, I’ve been around staffing sales people (myself included) for a couple decades now, and have witnessed firsthand how we struggle in this critical area. Second, I regularly speak on the topic, and always ask for a show of hands who considers themselves good at time management. After unofficially polling hundreds of sales professionals, I would say about 1% actually consider themselves somewhat good at managing their time.
While waiting to board my flight back home, the gate attendant made the following announcement:
“This will be a completely full flight. For those of you boarding in later groups, we recommend checking your carry-on as we will run out of overhead space. You will not be charged to have your bag checked – we are performing this as a courtesy to our customers. I repeat, we will check your bag as a courtesy to our customers.”
A courtesy? They run out of overhead space and yet they act like you are doing the customer a favor to check their bag? Come on, they should be apologizing for the inconvenience, not trying to spin it like they are offering some sort of free benefit.
The number one knock I hear on networking as a sales activity is that it doesn’t tend to result in new business. And for many sales people this is true. But in almost every case, it is not because networking doesn’t work, but because the sales person doesn’t network the right way.
Most sales people don’t network enough, and the ones that do typically approach it from a “show up and see what happens” approach. Most of the time, this results in limited interaction with the right people, awkward periods of not having anyone to talk to or butting in to existing conversations, and ultimately frustration. The sales rep then blames the event or organization for being “clickish”, unfriendly, or just plain bad. After one or two attempts most salespeople just give up.
This is where your opportunity lies! That same organization that other salespeople have dismissed could be a gold mine for you, IF you network the right way. Here are 4 ways to get the most out of a networking opportunity and increase your sales.
If you are like most sales people, you struggle to get prospects to read and respond to your emails. There are a variety of likely reasons prospects are deleting your emails:
- It looks too much like spam or mass email
- Its too wordy
- The subject line and/or opening sentence is too salesy
- There is no value in your message
- You sound like every other staffing sales person trying to get their business.
While no sales email is going to result in a 100% success rate (or 75 or 50% for that matter), we’ve identified 7 essential components that significantly increase your odds of a response.
Compensating salespeople effectively is one of the biggest management challenges for a growing business. When a well-designed variable compensation plan is implemented it can have an enormous impact on the bottom line and future growth of your business. When developing your compensation plan for your sales professional, always consider what you want it to do. Here are 3 initial points to consider when designing your staffing sales variable compensation plan.
In sales, we are taught how to overcome objections, get past gatekeepers, push for appointments, and close sales. We bombard prospects with generic pitches over the phone and email. Sometimes we stop in unannounced and ask them to stop what they are doing to talk to us. And we wonder why some prospects don’t like salespeople?
Most salespeople essentially are taught to go against basic human nature when approaching prospects. We do things to prospects that we hate when they are done to us! Do you like getting calls from telemarketers that won’t take no for an answer? No, of course not. But we often do the same exact thing.
The problem is that we get so focused on the goal of making a sale, and quickly, that we start to look at prospects as just a means to an end. We essentially dehumanize the prospect, thinking of them as this faceless entity on the other end of the phone just waiting to hit us with objections. Instead, we need to approach prospects the way that we want to be approached in a sale. Get to know each other, build trust, and ultimately help them make the best decision for them and their company.
Here are some do’s and don'ts when interacting with prospects.
Your presentation to the prospect has just wrapped up. You’ve offered a compelling solution and built rapport and credibility with the decision makers. You are so close to landing this deal, and then you hear the dreaded words - “We’ll get back to you.” You get in your car with the other presenters (or call your manager) and discuss how it seemed like it went really well, but then at the very end they were non-committal. Maybe they were really enthusiastic, but uncommitted nonetheless: “This has been really great! We’ll get back to you soon!”
The key to building on a successful presentation is to ask questions that confirm the buyer’s level of interest, address any outstanding concerns, and nail down a definitive next step that moves the sales process forward or wins the business. Here are 8 questions you can use that are effective in determining your position and gaining buyer commitment.
A few years ago I was working with a new sales rep (we’ll call him Bill) that was struggling to hit his activity numbers. In fact, he wasn’t recording ANY activities after several weeks in the position. So I of course asked him what was taking up his time.
To paraphrase a famous quote from Douglas MacArthur – “Old deals never die; they just fade away.” Odds are, most of the deals that fall out of your pipeline you don’t technically ever “lose”, they just lose momentum until the deal is eventually gone. This can happen when a client has other priorities pop up, over vacations and holidays, or because the sales person loses focus (or interest) on the deal.
Deals require consistent action in order to move through the sales process. The problem is that during a longer sales cycle (60 days or more), there is likely to be a period of inactivity. Most sales people don’t want to come across as a pest, so they just wait a couple weeks, or even months. Unfortunately during that time the prospect often will redirect their attention to new priorities, and the pain they were feeling has subsided (usually because the incumbent staffing firm caught wind they were at risk of losing the account, so they stepped up their game).
But there are ways that you can maintain momentum even during the longest of sales cycles, and do it without coming across as the pushy sales person. Here are 8 ways you can keep communication flowing without irritating the prospect:
Working in the staffing industry presents some unique challenges when it comes to time management. Candidates and clients call in on a regular basis. Our inbox is continuously flooded with hundreds of emails. And there is inherently a high sense of urgency associated with almost everything we do. So how do you manage the constant interruptions and actually get stuff done?