Do more: it’s an expectation imposed on sales reps constantly. Every year, quotas go up, KPIs get revised and the number of people that need to be served keeps climbing.
And… it’s happening in a selling market that’s changing faster than ever, and putting a lot of pressure on sellers. When people are pressed, many are prone to make bad decisions: going overboard with sales work, often in a scattershot way, hoping something—anything—will hit their target.
Case in point: I have clients who reach out to me via no fewer than nine communication methods with multiple sellers! None of them masterfully, or by leveraging multiple methods at once. See the problem here?
The solution to the need to sell more isn’t to just do more things more often.
The way you thrive in this market is by reducing the tasks required to close more deals. And the easiest way you can reduce labor is by focusing on both your selling behaviors the selling tools you use.
1) Re-examine your selling behaviors
Creating busy work does not affect outcomes: the style in which you work does. Start re-examining your selling behaviors. Here are five of them that are proven to reduce your workload, time and energy in closing sales.
Get clients working for you—Cut the time it takes to close a deal by consistently asking for referrals. Referrals close with half the work it takes to close a cold lead, leaving you more time to build even more new relationships testimonials. At the same time, secure testimonials. Build proof in the form of case studies, site visits and success stories. These secret weapons are the single most influential selling tool available. When prospective buyers read about your success, especially from other buyers like themselves, they call you ready to buy.
Move to account-based selling—Implement account plans for every client you have the chance to grow to ensure you’re maximizing profit. It takes 10 times fewer resources to sell to an existing client, compared to bringing on a new client. But you need a solid plan to ensure success. This reduction in labor is compounded by a reduction of marketing costs, making your profits soar.
Ask for the sale—You’d think this one is obvious but it’s still the most common mistakes I witness when listening to sales calls. If you don’t ask for the sale at every opportunity, you increase labor by lengthening your sales cycle—endlessly chasing down buyers and reducing your closing rates.
Be a thought leader—Be generous in sharing what you know every day on all media platforms. By delivering massive value to others, you become far more than just a salesperson. You become a valuable resource to your buyers. And that attracts new leads with a higher propensity to buy.
Take notes—This comes up regularly when I am shadowing sellers. Many still don’t take notes during their meetings, waiting instead to rely on memory or to write it down when they get back to the office. That doesn’t work because you forget things, can’t find critical information and make mistakes. And then your client has to fill you in again. At very least, this slows down your selling cycle. At worst, it irritates your customer. Note taking on-site shows you care and that you value your customer’s information.
2) Get technology working for you
Technology enhances your ability to sell more in less time. Period. If your selling tools are dated, you’ll never be able to keep up with the demands of your newly increased quotas nor the expectations of your buyers.
Be smart about video conferencing—Create virtual in-person meetings. Using Adobe Connect and Zoom, a finance client of mine converts all their telephone meetings to video conferences. This reduces their need to travel and boosts the amount of time they have in front of clients. Their use of video enhances relationships and has proven to increase closing ratios. The average closing ratio of their sellers is over 50 per cent, meaning they each do less work to hit their targets.
Become a BFF with your CRM—This is your digital brain, keeping everything you need in one place and organizing your steps in a methodical way. Ignore it at your peril. Here’s what I see in my own work: sellers who don’t embrace a CRM as part of their workflow undersell their CRM-loving colleagues by 20 per cent on average. A big part of this is being able to easily manage both your client files, calendar, to do list and sales dashboards in a single location No more relying on faulty memory or using multiple tracking devices to manage your business.
Adopt one-box thinking—Create a single repository for all client notes ideally in your CRM. Otherwise you’re wasting time having to scour your inbox, documents, paper files, notebooks and photos to find things. Using Adobe’s new app, Adobe Scan is a great way to make any paper notes, files, drawings, contracts or presentations digital, searchable and stored in a single client file. Once everything is digitized and searchable, you can load them into your CRM (see notes above) to create a single repository for all client files. This labor-reducing practice means everything you need to run your territory profitably is in one place!
Get smart about marketing automation—Current market research shows that by embracing automated marketing, you’ll see on average 31 per cent more closes, happening 40 per cent faster. You reach more people faster, while delivering high value content without having to do any work on your own.
Embrace mobile—Today, you need to be able to manage at least 80 per cent of your business by phone. Everything online has to make as much sense on mobile as on a desktop. This is why I love tools that work directly from your phone Sales reps in the field need to be able to access real-time data AND their schedules on their smartphone or tablet. Smartphone apps with client and seller centric features have the benefit of being always accessible
So there you have it: when it comes to achieving more sales in less time, get more done by working smarter—not just by trying to do more. By engaging in a rethink of your habits and the tools you use, your task list gets smaller, more sensible and much more focused on results.
Colleen Francis, Sales Expert, is Founder and President of Engage Selling Solutions (www.EngageSelling.com). Armed with skills developed from years of experience, Colleen helps clients realize immediate results, achieve lasting success and permanently raise their bottom line.