Asking questions to speed it up when it’s slow.
Answers. Salespeople want answers. Here are a few of the answers to questions I get in the mail (fax, e, and snail). The purpose of this column is two-fold. First to give you a sampling of what people ask, and second to assure you that you’re not alone in experiencing the weirdness that everyday selling seems to breed.
Jeffrey, When sales are a slow, it seems hard to get in the flow and concentrate 100%, any suggestions? Thanks, Frank
Frank, Are you asking me to give you answers that you already know? Are you looking for a mentor or a mother. Let me give you a couple ideas that your mom might not come up with. Number 1 rule. Do business before business and after business. Business in America is conducted before 9am and after 5pm. Work while others sleep. Use the evening and early morning to prepare ideas and questions for the next day. And do internet research on your customers and prospects so that you know as much about them as you do your product. And finally: wax on, wax off.
Jeffrey, I sell CRM solutions to mid-market companies. I would rate myself as a better than average salesperson. However, I feel that there is one area that I am not strong at in the sales process. Closing is my weakness. I can get prospects all the way to the close. Can you suggest any ideas on how to make closing my strength? Mary
Mary, If you want to make closing you strength, then stop trying to close. Use your present customers as testimonial resources and have them end the testimonial with a call to action (telling your prospect to buy now). I must also tell you that I’m answering this question with some degree of hesitancy in that most CRM “solutions” piss customers off. In order to serve you better please listen to the following 9 options… To me, it does not compute into “customer relationship.” Maybe you can’t close because you really don’t believe in your product.
Jeffrey, I have a mature sales team that is stagnant in their sales due to complacency primarily. How do I motivate them to try new ideas, establish new contacts and grow their existing business? I’m a younger sales manager who has been brought on from a different industry to “shake things up” and make an impact. Can you help? Gordon
You don’t motivate people, you inspire them. First thing I want you to do is invest a few dollars in the most important person in the world: (you) and buy my sales management CD set called “The Force.” The second thing I want you to do is take every member of your team out on a sales call and make a big sale in front of them. This will not only inspire them, it will scare the crap out of them that you can make a sale where they might not be able to. Nothing is better than the combination of inspiration and fear to make a sales team jump. By the way, if you’re not one notch better than any of your salespeople, get out of sales management.
Jeffrey, I love your column and have read (and use) your books to my benefit. I get a lot of good information to use, but still feel a bit off center because I am a sales Manager. I manage about 35 independent resellers. They are spread out over a 14 state area; they complete with each other, and they don’t want to give referrals (obviously). Any suggestions about managing sales through a distributor set-up and getting new resellers? Your advice is always excellent! Judy
Judy, Judy, Judy, Since you have 35 different siblings all fighting over the same piece of banana pie, you might want to start out with a daily or weekly inspirational idea such as my sales caffeine ezine (subscribe free at www.gitomer.com). They need to perceive you as a helper. Someone who is dedicated to helping them make more sales now. The other thing you should do Is begin to collect success stories and share them. Even though they may not want to share referrals, they will certainly want to brag about how they did it. And “how they’ve done it” can be equally inspiring as providing them with a sales lead. One final note. If you begin to write articles that help the end customers, you will get responses (leads). You might want to set up a trade program with your distributors so that you will be willing to give them a lead if they were willing to give someone else a referral. Maybe this way you can create a bit more comradery among the sibling rivals. Jeffrey
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Send me your sales questions, and you’ll get answers. If your question (or sales tip) is answered in print, you get a free coffee mug from my ezine Sales Caffeine, and some coffee. The mug says “coffee is for closers.” Go to www.gitomer.com – find: Sales Help – I need Jeffrey’s help – I have a question — and ask away.
Jeffrey Gitomer, author of The Sales Bible, and Customer Satisfaction is Worthless, Customer Loyalty is Priceless. President of Charlotte-based Buy Gitomer, he gives seminars, runs annual sales meetings, and conducts training programs on selling and customer service. He can be reached at 704/333-1112 or e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org