Getting Ready for Selling

If you are involved in field sales, here are some guidelines when preparing your day, your week, your month and your year.

Remember – Its How Hard You Work, How Smart You Work, You Dedicated You are, Combined with your Self Belief that will determine your ultimate success.

When approaching a customer for the first time:

Do research on the customer, on their business, on their competitors business and on the customers they serve – What problem can you solve for them, what value will you bring to their business, why will they want to do business with you and why will they want to meet you again?

If you are researching the company and you cannot find the person you are visiting on any directory, on linkedin, on the company website – do you think you are really meeting a key decision maker. Will they have the authority to make a decision? It is important to meet with the decision maker – if you fail to do this, your destiny will be other peoples hands. Its not easy but equally it is not impossible – That’s where your creativity comes in.

Remember, if you are in sales, your biggest competition can often be apathy – thats right – the customer cannot be bothered to change even though your price is better and your product (in your eyes) is better. If you find that this is the case – take a good look in the mirror – Your customer is selling you on a no and you are taking that to the bank – where you cannot lodge it.

If your competition is apathy, you have not given them a compelling enough reason to switch and this is your responsibility?

How well did you prepare your questions, did you uncover any reason why they should move, did you monetise this reason. You can prepare your questions by doing a very thorough research – no a quick browse on the internet.

Preparing for sales is something that is not taught in school (oh – actually it is – its often a reflection on how well you did your homework)

Maybe you need to revisit this area of your sales profession and get to work on your proper preparation. Your wealth depends on it.

Sales professionals often forget about the lifetime value of a customer. While the initial sale may not amount to a huge value, the ongoing sales will build as the relationship builds and trust is developed. Too many sales people forget this and they only associate the initial sales value to the prospective customer and prepare accordingly – think lifetime value when planning your sales.



What gets measured gets managed

If you have ever played a game, be it football or tiddly winks, you will most probably have kept score. The same is not true in many businesses and consequently business struggle and fail to take corrective action quickly enough – because they are often unaware of subtle changes taking place.

There are financial measures and there are non financial measures in every company. It is easy to measure turnover, and cashflow and wages etc. It is not easy to measure and then understand the activities that lead to the turnover, cashflow and wages. And it is this lack of information that leads to many business mistakes.

For example, if business A had a turnover of 100,000 and business B had a turnover of 80,000 we could easily assume that A was a better business. But we cannot tell anything from turnover.

If Business A had a Net Profit of 10,000 and Business B had a Net Profit of 9,000, we would again think that A was a better business.

But what if Business Owner A had to spend 15,000 to get that level of sales while Business Owner B only Spent 1,000

What if Business Sales Manager A required 10 inquiries to get every sales, where Business Sales Manager B only required 2 inquiries.

What is business A had a gross profit of 40% while Business B was making 55% while selling the same product?

What if Business A realised that no enquiry over the past year had come from his website, despite spending thousands on its development?

What if business B realised that 20% of all his enquiries were as a result of one happy customer singing their praises?

What if the receptionist at company A always informed inquiries that they would be called back but never passed the message on?

What if one sales person in the business was visiting 10 customers per day and the 2nd sales person was only visiting 5, struggling but unaware of what they should do?

What if the supplier for company A was actually charging them 5% more than their competitors because he knew he could get away with it?

What if company B had a wage figure which was 15% higher than their immediate counterparts.

Imagine if you had every available piece of information about how well or poorly your business was doing. Would some of your decision have been different and would you have focused more on sales and customers and less on rules and regulations.

We call all of the above Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s). Do you have yours?

How to conduct a job interview properly

Most people have very few interviews throughout their lives and therefore can find them quite daunting. Equally, many Small Business Owners have not conducted many interviews either and they can also find them very difficult.

If your company needs to hire someone new, then you should have some process or structure to follow. Here are some simple guidelines to get you started.

1. Write a clear description of the type of person you want before the interview. Detail about skills, attitude, qualifications, work experience all need to be written down and agreed by all on the interview panel.

2. You dont have to selecet on of the candidates that you interview – if they do not fit your profile, then select other to interview. Remember, that in a small business, each team member can play a huge role – therefore, selecting them should also be a big decision.

3. Ask someone who does not work in your compnay but whom you respect as a business owner or leader to sit in on the interviews. This adds a different perspective.

4. Prepare some questions in advance of the interview. We find the best questions to be situation based questions as follows:

  • Tell me about a time when you had to deal with a difficult customer? How did you deal with it, what was the outcome and what did you learn from the experience.
  • Tell me about a time when you were under time pressure and felt like you simply had too much to to. How did you handle it, what would you do differently?
  • Tell me about a time when you had a problem with a fellow team member – how did you handle it.

There are lots of similar questions designed to elicit real life examples to test and see if the candidate has actually experienced these. You need to establish if they have been in pressure situations, if they have ever been responsible in previous roles, if they have the ability to solve problems on their own.

In addition to the interview, we also recommend some form of profiling which agains makes the whole process fairer and less reliant on a single interview.

It is important to rate the candidates based on your predefined criteria and be as objective as possible.

We also suggest an intense trial period which is good for the candidate as well as the employer.

If you feel you need to grow your team or to change some of the personnel on your team and need some help, then call Derek on 087 222 0720 today of fill out the form below for a free consultation…

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Dealing with Insubordination

It can be very frustrating for business owners when team members simply will not do what is asked of them. This frustration is compounded even more when this attitude spreads to other team members and the business owner is fearful of the the team. This happens often – its a form of bullying. And the team member uses the threat of Employment Law as a tool to beat up on the owner.

So what can be done about this? The answer is lots but it does require some learning, some discipline and a measure of assertiveness.

Step 1. Understand the law and how it is also there to protect you. Take the time to read the Employers Guidelines that are written by ISME (Irish Small & Medium sized Enterprises Association) or the SFA (Small Firms Association)

Step 2. Make sure that every employee has a written Job Description that allows you some scope to change the role as your business changes.

Step 3. Give people clear goals and objectives either weekly, monthly or annuallly or all of the above.

Step 4 – When asking someone to do something in the business, be very clear with the instruction, set a timescale for completion and request that any problem with it be flagged early

Step 5  – Introduce accountability and check that work is being done

Step 6 – If the work is not being done having completed all the above, start issuing verbal and written warnings and make sure that the employee understands the seriousness of their actions.

Your objective is to drive the business in a particular direction. Your teams objectives should reflect this. If they choose to drive the business in a different direction you must take immediate action.

Sounds Simple – It is, but its not always easy. It gets easier if you persist and get outside your comfort zone. If you need help – call me – 087 222 0720

How to Increase Your Sales in 2012

If you need to increase your sales in 2012, make a commitment now to doing 2 things:
1. Measure your conversion from enquiry to sale
2. Spend more time getting in front of prospective customers.

Most business owners and team spend so little time actually marketing or selling their business, it is amazing that they survive at all. Very little real time is given to sales and marketing on a consistent basis and many people will avoid it at all costs. Yet they will complain if they are quiet and they will attend functions and rallies to speak about the economy.

Participate in your own rescue. Meet people who can purchase your product or service and understand how best to position your product or service with them.

People also overestimate how good they are at Sales and they claim that they have very high success rates. In fact the real success rates are much lower. Solution: Measure your rates of conversion, establish 3 or 4 ways to improve your conversion and then train your team.

Both of these suggestions cost little or nothing to implement but they will increase your profits. Call me on 087 222 0720 for a FREE consultation about your business today.

Do Business Plans Really Work in Real Life?

If you speak to business owners all over the world, you will hear the following:

“I prepared a business plan which got me a loan but did not reflect how the business fared at all.”

“Most of the assumptions that I made in my business plan were wrong and the plan did not work”

“My business plan lacked any real insight into what really happens in business”

“you cant plan for my business – its too un-predictable”

“I have not got time to do a plan – I’m too busy (not making money)”

And these are the reasons why most people fail to plan. Too often, plans are too broad brush, too long terms and fail to cover the specifics of what has to be done, today, tomorrow, next week and the week after.

If you would like to get down to the nitty gritty, to identify the top 10 things that you must do in your business in the next 3 months, then you need to attend GrowthCLUB.

Book your event today in Galway on January 9th or Ennis on January 16th

If you you like to work on a personal business plan outside these dates contact me today.


Suffering Sales Rejection – Build your “Rut”

As a professional, have you ever been rejected using the “time” excuse? Even if what you are offering seems way better than where they are right now. i.e.

Build your Rut - Attend the Next Growth Club

“I don’t have the time for this right now”

There are 3 reasons that you may get this excuse:

1. They genuinely do not have the time to consider an alternative – Thats a problem in itself.

2. The Time Excuse is a natural defence mechanism to new things and is often bandied about –

3. They do not think that you have something to offer them that would justify their time.

In any of these situations, the problems is yours because you have not made a sale. Here’s how to deal with these objection.

Build Your “RUT” first – and what we mean by RUT is your routine. We often call is a positioning statement. Many of your existing happy customers may also have felt this way prior to working with you. And working with you has been good for them. So you need to start your sales “RUT” with the following:

Before I was involved with this service, I was way too buy in my job, I did not have the time for anything, I used the time thing then as en excuse for myself so that I became untouchable and because the concept does take a few minutes to grasp, it was easy not to see value in something because I only gave it 30 seconds of my time. But what happened for me is this….

And off you go. Build Your Routine first, before you start to make sales…