You have some choices that you may not have thought about until now.
Traditionally, a small business owner, contractor, real estate agent, insurance agent — essentially, a salesperson from any industry — will meet one-on-one to present their wares and discuss their products and services. For decades, this system has worked well.
Today, let’s take it to the next level. Today, I want to discuss the tandem client visit.
Recently one of our team members jumped out of an airplane. Since he had never parachuted, he jumped in tandem (thankfully) on the back of a highly skilled instructor that has jumped hundreds of times. They soared in a fast downward spiral until the instructor pulled the rip cord and guided them safely to their landing target.
Tandem client visits are a similar concept, in that a person with much more experience takes along another team member to share in the interview, note-taking and listening.
Why might you consider implementing tandem client visits on your team? Here are six benefits my team has experienced as a result of this system.
Benefit No. 1: The communication dynamic is more natural.
In my experience, when you are conducting client visits alone, there are so many things you are thinking about that it’s very easy to miss an important point that the client is sharing. In a tandem visit, it feels more like we are consulting and working with the client. Instead of feeling like a sales call, it feels like a team meeting.
Benefit No. 2: Vertical selling gets a boost.
In late June of 2007, I implemented our tandem system. Within three client appointments, we noted that we were placing more business and solving more needs for our clients than before the tandem appointments.
Benefit No. 3: New team members are trained more quickly.
Bringing new team members in on these visits allows them to gain first hand experience on how to work with our clients and what our system can offer to the client. On the job training always has the potential to be far more effective than role-playing in a sales meeting environment. Notice I said on the job training has the potential to be more effective. Observing a poor system or bad habits is not going to help the new team member achieve great results.
Benefit No. 4: Your salespeople become more confident.
Some of our inexperienced team members had issues with self-confidence, knowledge and selling skills. They needed to hear and learn how their leader would conduct a visit. I cannot overemphasize the importance of your team members having the opportunity to see you lead.
Benefit No. 5: You can play to your strengths.
Personally, my weakness is paperwork. So because I hate paperwork and because my team members love to be paid bonuses, I empower them to take care of the paperwork. My job is to spend time eyeball to eyeball with the clients. I strive to never have a computer between my clients and myself. The team member primarily preps for the appointment. They will also prep with me. They gather all the paperwork and relevant presentation materials. If I have to complete the paperwork (paper or electronic), they don’t earn the bonus. This process allows me to use my strengths and the strengths of my team members.
Would you please delegate all activities that you are currently doing that are not your strength? If you are stuck doing activities you don’t enjoy or you are not good at, you are becoming more and more frustrated. So find team members that are strong in the areas that you are weak in and let them do that.
Benefit No. 6: Your business will grow.
Finally, I would encourage you to view yourself as a teacher. Perhaps a commissioned teacher, but a teacher nonetheless. Our client visits are teachable moments more than they are selling moments. We live in a society built around RUSH! RUSH! RUSH! But I promise you that if you make your tandem client visits extremely valuable teaching moments, then two things will happen.
1. The products and services that you represent will be retained by your company for many years longer than your competitor.
2. You will earn a great reputation, which will earn you an endless stream of additional qualified referrals.
Take a few minutes and reflect on what your client visits are currently like. How much wasted time can the tandem client visits save you by avoiding endless hours of training meetings because your team members can learn on the job?
What if you tried something different? What if you tried the tandem client visit system and it worked? It will work if you work it.
For more from Marvin LeBlanc, see: