Are you committed to serving your customer? Let’s say that you’re committed to your company, its products, and services. And, you’re committed to serving the customers who are just waiting for you to call on them.
Don’t you dare roll your eyes. I know what you’re thinking, I thought the same thing. But there are millions of business owners who want and need what you have to offer. You just need to find out who and where they are. However, just because you find these buyers doesn’t mean you deserve to be in front of them. Now, what do I mean by that?
Ask yourself right now, “Am I really committed to creating a successful, lucrative, sales career?” If you truly believe you are, then know this; the foundation of every successful sales call, no matter what you are selling, is directly related to the amount of effort you put into earning the right to ask for the sale. I’m talking about your level of commitment to serving your customer and to the preparation you do before making a sales call.
I took the value of account preparation for granted until I realized:
- how much money I was leaving on the table,
- how many sales contests I was losing,
- how I was underserving my customer,
- how embarrassing it was to be an average producer,
- how unorganized I was,
- how stressed I was, and
- that I was causing all of this unrest myself.
It took me too long to figure this out. When I finally did, I was on my way and finally attained a consistent high six-figure income by serving my customers. You can too.
Here’s a scenario that takes place every day in the lives of most average to below average producing sales people. Is this you?
Congratulations! You finally got the prospect to give you an appointment! That’s huge! Now, what do you do? It’s 4:30 pm. Your appointment is at 10 am the day after tomorrow. And Tomorrow is a packed day of seeing customers.
Those golf clubs are calling to you from the trunk of your car, aren’t they?
And, for you, so are those gorgeous shoes from Nordstrom’s. You can hear them just flapping in their box. They can’t wait to get on your feet.
Umm. Seems like you’re left with a choice. Do you celebrate, nothing really, because all you have is the appointment; you haven’t sold anything yet. Or, do you stay and prep for this customer whose conversion could put you closer to the goal of winning the company Incentive Trip to Paris that you have been working toward.
Then you justify and tell yourself, “I make money when I’m in the field in front of the customer not at my desk, prepping.” “How can I possibly know what to prep until I get in front of the customer and have a conversation with him? I know what I need to say, I can think on my feet. I can squeeze in the account prep around this time tomorrow and still get my daughter to the soccer game at six. And… you chose to go to the golf course or Nordstrom’s.
The next day ran longer than anticipated making you late in getting your daughter to the soccer game. You planned to prep last night but you got so wrapped up in that great movie on TV. One thing lead to another so before your big appointment the following morning, you only had time to do the dashboard/armrest prep. How’d that work for ya?
Here’s the reality of your choice. I don’t use the word “mistake” because I don’t believe in mistakes. I have learned, over the years to believe that everything we act upon or we do, comes down to a choice and every choice has a consequence.
In this scenario, your choice resulted in money left on the table, a lost sale and the loss of respect of a potential customer who, by the way, could have referred you to new customers. More importantly, you know you let down yourself, your company and the customer. That’s a crummy feeling, isn’t it? I know because I made this choice many times and felt terrible afterward. Oh, and that trip to Paris is no closer.
The bottom line is this, if you don’t put in the effort, you can’t expect to get much in return. Nor, do you deserve it because you did not earn the right to be there in the first place. And know that your choice to be unprepared speaks volumes to your customer.
You may have amazing conversation skills and know how to engage with the customer. However, when you quickly discover that you have the potential of a huge sale for which you can’t answer critical questions because you didn’t do your homework, you’ve just wasted your time and the customer’s time. Now, you have to back out of the call to go do what you should have done in the first place, prep. The momentum you had during the call has stalled and what could have been a one-call close just turned into an unnecessary two-call close or worse, a lost sale. Why?
On your next visit the customer may not be in a buying mood, he doesn’t give you the time he was going to give in the first visit or, he thought about what you have to offer and decided to pass altogether. Not to mention, had you prepped in the first place you could have closed the sale on the first try and moved on to your next prospect.
If you can relate, try this….
Have a face-to-face with yourself and find your gratitude.
- Give thanks that you have been hired by an amazing company that produces products and services you are proud to represent.
- Be grateful that your manager saw something in you when you were interviewing for the position that you somehow lost. Find it.
- Realize that it is your passion and determination to do what it takes that will turn you into your own success story.
- Believe you can, and you will.
Stop, look at your habits and check-in with yourself
- Why don’t I put effort into consistent preparation?
- What am I doing that is holding me back?
- How can I become an expert in my products and services?
- Who should I talk with to give me insight?
- Know that every superstar sales rep started at the lowest rung on the ladder. They became superstars because they made a choice to commit to the process of learning what they didn’t know and then worked to become experts.
- Commit to do the same and fly up that ladder
Become an expert in product knowledge
- When you become an expert in your products and services, your confidence and passion come through during your presentations.
- You can think more clearly and answer more thoughtfully and directly. This builds customer trust.
- A customer’s trust in you leads him to buy from you.
- Commit to becoming an expert about your product knowledge and reap the rewards in sales commissions, company awards, and customer loyalty.
Give each customer dedicated preparation focus
- Treat each customer’s account as you would want a rep to do for you.
- Earn your customer’s attention and discover inventive ways to serve the with your products and services. When you do, you will sell larger programs and more products and services.
- Your confidence level will increase and so will your commissions.
Seek the advice of sales superstars
- Ask a few superstars to have coffee and a conversation with you.
- High producing reps love to give their knowledge away because they know that’s the secret to success.
- When you stop thinking about your pocketbook and do as Zig Ziglar said, “You can get everything in life you want if you will just help enough other people get what they want.”
Time-block your week
- Carve out specific mornings, afternoons, whatever necessary amount of preparation time is needed for your product or service and stick to it.
- Time-blocking will:
- Help you concentrate,
- Keep you organized,
- Give you more freedom during your sales day
- Allow you to get more done.
- Put your attitude in a better place.
Prep as many accounts as you can in that time-block
- This allows you to be ready to see that customer who canceled on you last week at any available window of time.
- Realize that as you build your presentations, you can use the same prep for other customers.
- This saves you time, and you’re seen as an expert because your presentation will be honed to perfection.
During prepping time:
- Avoid your email,
- Let your phone calls go to voice mail,
- No visiting with your colleagues
- Schedule your calls around your prepping.
- If you have a customer that can see you tomorrow but you’re not ready, don’t shoot yourself in the foot and take the appointment until you have earned the right to be in front of him by doing his account preparation first.
Commit to doing thorough account preparation and you will:
- Earn the right to ask the customer to buy
- Sell bigger programs or more products and services
- Be perceived by your customer, as an expert in your industry
- Be more likely to be referred by your customers to new leads
- Win more company sales contests
- Be perceived as a superstar among management and your colleagues
- Be on your way to a high-six-figure income
- Commit to your company that you will represent its products and services in the best possible light.
- Commit to your customers that you will prepare to earn the right to ask them to buy your products and services while always serving them by recommending the best solutions for their needs and for the right reasons.
- Commit to yourself that you will time-block your work-week to allow for the right amount of prep time that will ultimately lead you, your company and customer to a better way of life.
When you do your research and learn all you can about your potential customer and how your products and services can help him have a better way of life, you will have earned the right to ask him to buy from you. In other words, you reap what you sow.