Five answers to help you learn more to earn more.
Answers. Salespeople want answers. This year questions emailed to me have DOUBLED. Reason? This year, salespeople NEED answers. Here are a few of the questions I get in the mail (fax, e, and snail). These answers will assure you that you’re not alone in experiencing the weirdness that everyday selling seems to breed.
Jeffrey, I know you HATE cold calls, so I am looking for your advice on this situation. I have taken over the territory of a sales rep who’s numbers were declining over several years until the company let him go. There are few, if any, existing customers. Its a new territory for me, and I have few, if any, contacts there. How would you suggest developing the territory? Bruce
Bruce, Talk to 25 customers that used to do business with your but left. Begin there. I garuntee that you’ll find customers that left you in the past and may want to do business with you now. Find out the reason why they left. Then figure out what networking events exist where you can possibly meet new prospects. If you want to develop a new territory, networking will get you farther and faster than cold calling. Throw yourself into networking so that people won’t throw you out when you cold call.
Jeffrey, I sell packaging. It’s a commodity. There’s just 3 selling points: quality, service and price. My company focuses on the first two. This is a good thing, but I often compare it to swimming upstream. Price is an easy sell, but a very fickle buy. But how can I more effectively compete with the “price” sellers? After viewing your website, I’m going to get referral letters from my good customers to help wow new prospects. Any other suggestions for commodity sellers like myself? Tom
Tom, It’s a commodity in your mind. Everyone thinks they have a commodity. Commodities are things like cattle and gold. What you have is a product that can be manufactured and delivered in many different fashions. Focus in on how your customer can profit from the use of your product rather than how much it costs to obtain it. If you can increase their profit, the price will become irrelevant.
Jeffrey, One of my former competitors hired me after 5.5 years of successful selling against them. It was an opportunity to grow in new areas and gain management experience. I had established a loyal group of customers. I’m finding that some of them are reluctant to reply to my messages about my recent changes. Could I have sold them so much on my former employer that they are not willing to change? How do I work on getting them to switch? The company I work for now has a great reputation. Ty
Ty, My recommendation is that you leave your former customers alone and build your new career in a better way than you had at your previous employer. Do more networking than you’ve ever done before, and let the word of mouth of your new position reach your existing customers and have them call you. This is not only a more powerful way of doing business, it is a more ethical way.
Jeffrey, In a slow economy like we have today, do you find that sales via the Internet is effective in filling in the slow sales months? I sell marketing and advertising services (ad agency). Robert
Robert, The only thing that is certain to help in a slow economy is a fast sales person. They key word is more. More networking, more internet, more personal branding, more sales calls, more relationships, more hours. Net result, the more, the more. If you are looking for an easy answer there is none. Your success is dependant on a combination of efforts, not a concentration in one area.
Jeffrey, I’ve been out of sales and in general management for 2 years and now am returning to the sales department. It seems hard to get in the flow and concentrate 100%, any suggestions? Fred
Fred, 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.
OK, there’s a few — but I get (and answer) lots of them. Got one? Wanna see others? Wanna submit a question? Every week in my ezine, Sales Caffeine I answer a few — if it’s yours, you get a free mug and coffee (and an answer).
Free GitBit… we have selected 20 answers from our archives covering every aspect of selling. Nuggets of information you can turn into orders. Go to www.gitomer.com (register if you’re a first time user) and enter ANSWERS in the GitBit box
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 internet training programs on selling and customer service. He can be reached at 704/333-1112 or e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org