If you’re not investing in your Sales Manager you’re missing a trick!

Investing only in frontline sales training won’t get you peak performance results. Today smart companies across the globe are waking up to an important fact.

They must invest and empower their sales managers to achieve maximum performance.

We must stop this erroneous notion that by promoting good sales people they will naturally become great managers. They won’t because ‘Sales Management’ is a completely different role.

So, here are 5 reasons why every company should be investing in training and developing their sales managers.

  1. Set the pace. – They are the ones that set the pace and create the atmosphere for the whole team to achieve high performance.
  2. Direct link between boardroom & field. – They are the ones who can effectively communicate the strategy and direction from the boardroom and translate that into meaningful sales activities to be implemented in the field.
  3. Know their numbers. – They must understand their sales figures, and be able to read them like a book! Spotting pipeline pitfalls and forecast potential blockages with the ability to help their team overcome them.
  4. Leverage their experience. – They need the tools and coaching skills for a strong Knowledge Transfer, developing everyone by multiplying their skills throughout the team.
  5. Breed Loyalty – A good manager will be able to win the hearts and minds of their team. This is another valuable quality when you consider the high cost and impact of staff retention on your organisation. The person in the role of sales manager can dramatically affects the bottom line, but they need to know the qualities required to lead.

When you think about these 5 points is very evident that investing and empowering your sales manager is the key to superb results.

For additional insights checkout, the attached visual – -The Essence of Thriving Sales Organisation’ and listen to the podcast – ‘Empowering your sales manager to lead the team.’

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Are you Leveraging the telephone technology – to its highest potential?

As we discussed last week creating powerful correspondence is a great way to engage with new prospects.

However, to get the maximum benefit from this activity you need to be really effective on the telephone. Unfortunately, today many people feel self-conscious about speaking on the phone. They hide behind email which is a shame because the telephone is one of the greatest tools for creating rapport and relationships with people.

Even more so today with the opportunity to hold interactive skype calls where you can have 1-on-1 meetings that are brief, friendly and engaging.

So, let’s think for a moment about the correspondence we created. If you haven’t seen this go to the previous podcast where you can see an example, which we will use for our telephone follow up today.

Usually, I recommend you arrange to do your follow up calls 48 hours after they receive your correspondence, so it’s fresh in mind.

Let’s look at a successful formula to make this call, and we’ll take the toughest example – someone you have written to but have never spoken with before.

I would never cold call them without having written a personal letter or email to them in advance. I like to do this for two reasons.

Firstly, you feel more confident when you’ve taken the time to write a professional letter to someone.

Secondly, it builds trust in the other person that even if they haven’t seen the correspondence sent they will give you time to explain why you wrote to them in the first place.

So, let’s look at what to say on your follow up call. First of all, you want to introduce yourself by name and your company. But here’s something most people don’t do, they don’t give their prospect a ‘first call notice’. What do I mean by that? Well, you need to say something like, “you and I haven’t had the opportunity to speak before, but I wrote some correspondence to you last week”. By saying you haven’t spoken before, you’re giving them that ‘first call notice’ it lets them relax mentally. If anyone has called you and given their name but you don’t remember it you automatically start to go through a mental rolodex! You are thinking to yourself. Do I know Peter, should I remember him? Etc., etc. They’re not concentrating on what you’re saying. So, the first call notice is important to avoid this happening.

The next area to focus on, just like the sequence of your letter, is your industry expertise. You could say something like, “I’ve been working with other professionals in your sector for x number of years now”. Then you want to site job title expertise, you can do this by saying, “some of the concerns I’m hearing from other sales professionals in your position are…”

Then you can mention some of the challenges you highlighted in your letter.

After mentioning those key issues, you can show how you can help simply by saying, “I’ve been able to help our clients solve these challenges in a number of interesting ways.

Finally, you want to create curiosity and give an invitation.  Simple say, “I’ve been sharing some of these experiences and insights recently and I’d welcome an opportunity to learn more about your own objectives and see if these ideas can add value to your operation. When do you think there might be a good time to have a chat about that in the next couple of weeks?

This follow up approach is simple, it follows the same format and content of your letter for the telephone call, you’ve shown how you can add value and offered to share some specific examples with the person to help improve their business.

All of this correspondence and telephone work is focused on how you can help the other person. You’ll notice I spent very little time talking about myself my company, products, service or how great we are!

So, with this in mind I wish you great success in leveraging the telephone to create some fantastic new business relationships.

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Creating powerful correspondence that engages them every time

How much of the unsolicited mail or email you receive goes in the rubbish bin?

I’d like to bet pretty much 90% does. Why is that? Well, typically because this correspondence is focused on them. It all about ‘How good their company is, their products or service.’

So, I’d like to flip ideas on this conventional marketing approach on its head and instead focus on stimulating interest but focusing on the key issues or interest of your customers.

But what should you include to produce this type of communication?

Here are the 4 steps to create engaging correspondence.

  1. Introduce yourself personally and your organisation.
  2. Note your expertise in working with their peers in the sector.
  3. Share how you have helped overcome key business issues they face.
  4. Invite to share some fresh ideas and experiences to see if they can add value.
  5. Include a date & time you will call to see if the issues were relevant and of interest.

Next, think of the deliver method you will choose, most people will email this content, but how many emails to you receive in a day? 30-40? And if it’s from someone you don’t know there’s a strong likelihood you will simply hit the delete button before even reading it!

How many personally addressed letters did you receive last week? Probably none right or this month even?

So, why not consider writing personal correspondence to prospects using quality stationary and even hand-write the envelope for a personal touch. Automatically, you start to differentiate yourself as someone who’s thinking differently from the herd.

Be sure to follow up at the appointed time (1-2 days from delivery) as promised.

Last week a client called me who initially rejected this as an old-fashioned snail mail approach. However, he was pleased to report some of his rookie salespeople had taken up the idea and written to twenty prospective clients. They received three calls back from prospects requesting meetings and following their own telephone follow ups a further two meetings had been arranged. He confessed he never thought this approach would work but now he’s glad they tried it out.

So, I encourage you to drop a line to some ideal prospective clients and start some new and engaging conversations this week!

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Is your approach to prospects creating interest or tension?

The vast majority of approaches to prospective clients either via emails, correspondence or telephone calls focus on you. Your company and how good you are or your product or service.

What’s the effect on prospective clients? Most of these marketing pieces don’t create much interest but rather they create tension in prospects.

So, I’d like to flip this on its head and use a different approach. One that is focused on their key objectives, the issues they face and the challenges they need to overcome to achieve great results.

Why do you want to do this?

Ultimately when you are approached you’re thinking about “WIIFM” What’s in it for me?
So, you need to stimulate interest first rather than concentrating on the immediate action you’d like the person to take. For instance, they probably already know you’d like a meeting or telephone call with them to discuss your product or service.

The problem is it’s far too early in the conversation for them to make a commitment, until they really understand what’s in it for them.

So, how can you do this?

First of all, think about the new ways of marketing. In the past, marketing was focused on outbound activity. Generally, it was an interruption, either cold calling, cold emails or interruptive ads. But today’s sales generation are really focused on inbound marketing. They are creating interest and gaining permission from the customer either through blogging, publishing relevant articles and generally creating value for the customer.

So, we need to think, are our activities still relevant and effective?

Any marketing activity that pushes services or products on customers is really using that old outbound technique. What we really want to do is use marketing techniques that rely on earning people’s interest instead of trying to buy it!

So, what I’d like you to take away from this article is really a change of mind-set. Stop focusing on your company, business and what you want and make that shift to thinking about the challenges clients face and the unique value you can add to your prospective clients.

And I’m talking about amazing value. What value could you add that would make you irresistible in their eyes…challenge yourself to come up with answers to this.

So, they are thinking not just, “That’s a nice idea” but rather “Wow that would make a dramatic improvement to our business.

Next week stay tuned as I want to discuss creating powerful correspondence, ‘How do you write to engage people?’ and Secondly, are you using that amazing piece of technology The Telephone…How can you use it to create remarkable results.

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How Do High Performance Sales Cultures Flourish?

In this podcast Peter discusses the first of three aspects for creating the environment for high performance sales cultures to grow.

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The Value Sales Managers Are Responsible Adding to Their Team

What is the value that sales managers are responsible to add to their team?

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What Today’s Customers Really Want from You?

Do you know what your customers are looking for and the 10 top qualities they are seeking? Listen to this podcast and to Peter discuss these attributes

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What Is the Future for Your Sales Approach?

Are your sales approaches delivering the right results? Discover the new sales reality.

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Are You A Collaborative Coach Or A Cross-Examining Lawyer?

Peter shares tips to developing a collaborative approach when coaching your sales team to maximize results.

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