My name is c.j., and here's the March 2007 issue of Psyche-Selling TM eNewsletter.
This issue's main article is on "How to Hire, Motivate and Lead a Sales Team Effectively", and it focuses some simple principles Sales Managers can use to create over-achieving sales teams.
Here's an on-point summary:
Many Sales Managers fail to deliver results due to defective hiring processes;
Not all good sales people that Sales Managers hire may fit into the company, products and customers they serve;
Understanding the kinds of sales approaches that work best for you may be the key to hiring the right kind of sales person that will fit into your unique selling environment.
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How to Hire, Motivate and Lead a Sales Team Effectively
by c.j. Ng
It's common sense that the best sales person may not necessarily be the most effective sales manager, but common sense isn't really that common, isn't it?
We all know that getting customers to buy and managing a sales team require rather distinctive skill-sets, yet we still promote our best sales people to their level of incompetence, that is being a Sales Manager.
For whatever reasons that we have to deploy our best sales people to do certain things that they are not really accustomed to do so (and thereby sacrificing lots of top quality selling time too), there are still ways that we can explore on how to make our Sales Managers just as good in managing their sales teams as they are in selling.
First of all, let us look at the main reasons why so many Sales Managers fail to deliver results:
Failure to establish expectations
Failure to provide feedback
Did not develop salespeople's accountability
The biggest reason of them all is that many Sales Managers don't hire the most suitable sales person. Most Sales Managers assume (usually wrongly unfortunately) that an experienced high performer from the same industry is a sure-fire way of hiring the right talent.
However, the average life-spans of such supposed "Superstars" are usually short-lived. The main reason for their failure is that they did not fit in to the new companies they work for.
So as a Sales Manager, what can you do to prevent such hiring mistakes from happening? What you see below is a graphical representation of what kinds of sales approaches there are out there, and how each approach can be used for different buying situations.
In essence, if the customer is not familiar with the product, but has a very straightforward buying decision making process, a Closing Approach is usually used to impress the customer and close the sale on the spot. We often see such (sometimes strong-armed) approaches for products such as:
Real Estate; etc.
Usually in such cases, when a prospects leave without buying, they may not return or the sales person may not have a 2nd-chance to sell to the prospect. Moreover, at the end of each sale, there's little need for the sales person to service the customer as chances of a short-term re-purchase are rare.
If the customer is not familiar with the product, but the buying process is very complex, then a Consultative Approach is usually used. Examples include:
Mergers and Acquisitions;
Enterprise-Resource Planning (ERP) Systems;
Power Generators; etc.
Such cases will usually have more than 1 person affecting the final buying decision (and often with different or conflicting buying criteria and even personal agenda). Although such cases tend to veer towards multi-million-dollar deals, the Consultative Approach might also be used as long as the customer needs to be educated about the products and services you offer. Such products can range from financial planning for the family to interior design to supply chain management solutions.
If the customer is familiar with the product and has a complex buying process, a Relationship Approach is often used. Such cases include:
Media Space/ Air Time (if selling thru media buyers);
Logistics and Shipping Services;
Fast Moving Consumer Products (if selling to large retailers)
In cases like these, there is very little differentiation between different products, and hence the customer tend to make decisions based on the Relationships they have with the seller. Here's a point of clarification: Relationship-building is NOT confined to just wining, dining and schmoozing, nor is it just about presenting gifts to customers. These customers seek responsive services, convenience and a "total peace of mind" when they deal with the sellers.
Last but not the least, if the customer is familiar with the product, and the buying process is very straightforward, then a Display Approach is often used. Examples are:
Anything that can be bought off a catalogue
The word "Display" here generally means display the product and display the price. Not much selling is required. Price vs. Quality is all that matters.
One important note Selling Approaches for the same product can be drastically different. Selling advertising spaces in magazines directly to bosses of companies is likely to require a totally different approach compared to selling the same space via a 3rd-party media buyer. Similarly, selling a desktop computer to a household can also be quite different to selling multiple desktop computers to a company.
In reality, it is likely that you find your company having characteristics of a few approaches, with perhaps a dominant one.
Understanding the Types of Sales People
The trick to ensuring that you hire the right people for the right Selling Approach is to understand the traits of the types of sales people who fit into each Approach:
rule of thumb, if you can hire a salesperson with the right behaviour,
values and attitude, they can learn the skills and competencies to sell!
How can you analyse if you spot the right sales person in a relatively short amount of time;
How can you ensure you hire people with integrity; and
How can you establish expectations, provide feedback and develop salespeople's accountability for the different types of sales people?
The short (and totally useless) answer will be: "It depends".
However, if you really want to know more about how you can better hire, motivate and lead your sales team to greater success, feel free to send your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org All information shall be kept in confidence.
Elite Sales Club
We are looking for sales and marketing people (executives, managers, directors, VPs) to help form this Elite Sales Club, with the purposes of:
If you'd like to participate as a member, pls. e-mail your details to email@example.com and tell us a little more about yourself. An online forum will be set up soon.
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Practical Tips on Selling
As part of our ongoing coaching that we give to sales people on how to improve their selling skills, here are some samples of what sales people say to customers, and how it can be better phrased.
Here's an example of what a tele-sales person said:
"Hi, is it________? My name's Andrea
calling from S-Media. Is it ok for you to speak now?
We are a foreign business media company based in Shanghai. Our business publication such includes XX Review, ABC Biz, you know that right? And also here comes one very popular directory called Easy Directory, known as the most accurate and comprehensive directory of multinational and foreign companies in the China market. I bet you know it right? "
So what's the problem with with the above way of speaking to customers? Not much, except that it's an obvious sales script which is very much likely to trigger the prospect to hang-up real quick. The cheesy "I bet you know it, right" and "you know that right" phrases are definite turn-offs.
Fortunately, there are some simple ways to fix the problem. Instead of going into a sales pitch, as the above opening seemed to be heading, ask a few questions to engage the prospect to talk to you. A better way of opening the phone call can be:
"Hi, is this________? My name's Andrea
calling from S-Media. Can you help me for a moment now?
We are an international business media company based in Shanghai, where we help multi-national companies like yours to reach out to targeted customers in cost effective ways. May I ask you a few simple questions to find out if we can help you target better customers in cost-effective ways too?"
In selling, the person who asks questions is in control of the situation. The trick is to ask in such a way that customers feel comfortable in providing you with crucial information that allows you to know their needs, and thereby making a step closer to your sale.
Now, Psyche-Selling TM is providing complimentary online coaching on how you communicate with customers more effectively, so that you get more positive responses that will lead to more sales. Simply e-mail your sales scripts to firstname.lastname@example.org and you shall be replied within 3 working days.
As you might have heard of them, the most common challenges faced by sales people in any country, and across nearly every industry, are as follow:
Having these concerns in mind, the Psyche-Selling TM is created as a result of 1-to-1 coaching with sales people from a variety of industries across 13 cities in Asia.
Psyche-Selling TM is currently operating as a community of experienced sales and marketing professionals helping other sales and marketing professionals. Psyche-Selling TM welcomes collaborations with consultancies and distributors.
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Enquiries and suggestions, pls. e-mail email@example.com or visit www.psycheselling.com