As a professional sales trainer, I have the opportunity to talk with salespeople from a wide range of industries, representing a variety of products and services. Based on their feedback, I find that while most sales reps are challenged in this difficult economy, some are doing quite well. In fact, it’s not unusual to find evidence of both success and failure even among sales reps working in the same office, trained by the same manager, selling an identical product, in the exact same market.
While there’s no “magic bullet” for selling in a down market, there are several key steps you can take right now that will have an immediate impact on your business. Here are four tips I would like to share with you that I’ve gleaned from top producers who have learned to adopt new strategies and prosper during tough economic times.
- Don’t “play office.” Make appointments. Monitor your activities and take a critical look at how you spend your day. Is your day filled with client appointments and prospecting opportunities or are you reading the newspaper, surfing the internet, playing solitaire, filling out administrative paperwork and taking long lunches with co-workers? In other words, respect your time and delegate all administrative tasks that keep you from your two primary functions: making appointments and closing sales.
- Accomplish daily prospecting goals. Schedule time each morning to make a minimum of 25 prospecting or customer service calls per day. Daily prospecting activity is the single most important ingredient in determining business success.
- Enhance customer service. Make it a priority to meet with your existing customers. Look for follow-on sales as well as cross-selling and upselling opportunities. This is not only a sound business decision, but it also allows you to promote client loyalty and generate additional referrals.
- Be prepared to address common objections. It will serve you to develop a well thought out response to the three most common prospect objections: “It costs too much,” “I can get it cheaper elsewhere,” and the classic stall, “I want to think about it.” It’s important to take the time to actually role-play your responses until you sound smooth and natural. When it comes to building confidence, there is no substitute for role-play.
Seasoned salespeople have learned to accept the fact that economic market conditions will fluctuate up and down just as predictably as winter follows fall. By incorporating these powerful Best Practices into your daily activities, you’ll not only improve your business now, but also hone your business skills so that as the market recovers — and it will — you will be in position for even greater income than previously experienced.