SO, now YOU HAVE DECIDED TO BE A SALESPERSON
There are many volumes and books stipulating how one may enter the sales field. Most cite an individual’s success and stories relating to the manner in which the writer was successful in achieving the sale.
APPEARANCE , PERSONALITY, and KNOWLEDGE GOES A LONG WAY
If anything has changed in this economy, it is the manner in which an individual may not copy the suggestions of those in the past. Today’s salesperson must be far more innovative and look within to find the answers. Yes your personality profile is of the greatest importance as is your appearance. Know who you are and how to project those qualities to a perspective client. Time is money. Do not let the client waste your time nor should you waste the client’s time. Pre-qualify your prospects as well to assure the time spent is not wasted.
- You must like people genuinely. Your smile and greeting should place a customer at ease. You are versatile having the ability to not only sense the actions of those with whom you are dealing but to change your strategies in a heartbeat to match those of a prospect. Then just then you may command the situation and bring them back to your original plan of action. In other words, go with the flow..
- Introduce yourself and explain the nature of your visit if you are cold-calling. Since it is a cold call, it is not your intent to secure vital information or to meet with the prospect, unless you are begged to do so. If that is the case, make certain you determine what the urgency may be. (i.e. poor pay record; dropped by competitor) The initial meeting is one of introduction and to provide insight into a product you sell. Most importantly it is to secure a future appointment when you both have more time..
- Do your homework in advance having knowledge of the specific industry you are targeting. There is information on the internet, through the Chamber of Commerce or other industry groups. Determine who it is that you wish to meet. If you are not allowed beyond a receptionist or secretary, find out when there may be time to meet with the executive. Make that person your best friend to secure vital information. Then write a letter of introduction citing you were sorry to have missed him or her. Explain the nature of your call and the uniqueness of your services or product and look forward to setting up a future appointment. Sometimes handwritten notes are more important. Unless you are told an e-mail is the only way in which to reach the client, do not send electronic mail. Most executives receive multiple advertisements and are familiar with the delete button.
- Listen to the client or prospective client. To talk, means you are not listening. You are here to meet the client, not to sing accolades to your background, unless asked. Many salespeople have talked a client to death, and today entrepreneurs and businessmen don’t have the time for such pompous and overbearing dealings. Time is Money. Note inflections in the voice that indicate an interest but perhaps the product may not be affordable at this time or other reasons which may prohibit an opportunity at this time, like economic downfalls. Emulate with the client’s feelings.. Anticipate a “No” which is an opportunity to secure a “Maybe “or a “Yes” You may cite such things as “Do you currently have a similar product” They are happy to tell you that they may be working with one of your competitors. Never bad mouth the competitor or the product. Ask if there may be an opportunity to provide your proposal at a later date. If they are not interested and have been with another salesperson for years, do not waste your time. You have just qualified the prospect’s intentions. You may advise the prospect that you understand his willingness to remain with the same product or person, but in the event leave a business card or brochure stating information about your company and the companies which it serves. You may also sate “I just came by today to introduce myself and to let you know that I will be available for you in the future, because this offer/my services which I provide are valuable to you and your industry..
- Always dress for the occasion. Wear appropriate clothing which will integrate the dress of your client but with class and style (i.e. If you are selling Ranch products, you may not wish to wear a dress suit but instead, jeans, boots, open dress shirt and jacket may be the key)
- Plan with efficiency and creativity. Decide who you wish to call on or the industry you wish to target. Make the necessary phone calls to set up appointments as an early morning ritual. As you plan your days you will find you will be making more calls daily as well as securing the necessary appointments. A true salesperson is always determining their next day’s events and the manner in which they will proceed, whether just relaxing with family or watching a television program or newscast.
- Do you have the ability to be larger than life when describing your projects or proposals? In order to achieve this image, you must have the confidence and conviction of your product or services. Always remember knowledge is power. Many who have been in the sales field have forgotten this most important statement. Instead they cite good old boy stories and do not stick to the facts. It does not mean that you may not utilize a joke or two to provide a warm up or a funny story about what happened in your industry recently, but keep it professional. Bragging about oneself or not sticking to the point will not get the sale. Remember, it is what the customer desires which is important and in order to do the best job possible, it is necessary to listen. And, if you do not understand a statement, inquire, do not assume.
- Stick to your convictions and do not sell yourself short. Believe in yourself. Believe in your Product or Services. It is fine to provide options but do not sell your self short by only citing price alone. Be able to filibuster by citing the reasons the client will be saving money in the long run because of quality or continued innovations. Those that cite price alone are not only doing a disservice to themselves, showing they have nothing of value but to low ball or that the product or services they provide are not really that valuable. This causes a domino effect where a prospect will no longer look at anything but price from any salesperson. i.e. If so and so could provide a lower price why can’t you and by then there are ten salespersons all lowering their price. Instead, be the one who states, my price may appear to be more expensive than the others who have provided you with a proposal, but we provide these additional values. Then state them. Or if they allow you to review another’s quotation which they most likely will in bidding wars, show the differences. Again this requires knowledge. If you have listened to the needs of the client, you will be able to intertwine those needs within your knowledge base so that you are able to close. Do not be afraid to secure a check for at least a down payment. There is no sale without a payment or a promise of payment via financing. If there are some items which your client may find unnecessary, then state “If I am willing and able to do this, will I then have your order?” Make the client feel they are privileged because it is usually not the norm to remove specific items from the proposal but you are happy to do so because you can see how it may be an advantage. Have the client sign off on those items they do not wish. This is not only a legal advantage so that you are not sued for an error or omissions in the future, but also most clients do not desire to sign off and will change their minds by retaining specific items.
- If you do not know something, do not fabricate. Instead, advise the client you will research the matter and get back to them within the time frame required. Clarity of convictions is important.
- Keep your Ego in check. You may be a formidable debater and have the ability to argue your point…but is it that important? Did you forget, the customer is always right, or more nearly right, especially when it comes to his or her business? It may often be better to show restraint as the better part of valor and be victorious. You must value individuals above your own principles.
- You need not raise your voice. A steady, confident voice inflection always gets the close.
- Keep your promises or you will not secure or retain their business.
- Always be courteous and thank them for their time. You are the professional. Today’s prospect will become tomorrow’s client.
A GENERAL MARKETING PLAN REFLECTING INTENDED SALES GOALS
THE INFORMATION REQUIRED/ PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT REQUIREMENTS:
- Reviewing sample PRODUCT INFORMATION and MARKETING MATERIALS to understand all aspects of the products and/or services which are offered by the company you represent, as well as the respective guidelines associated with those products or services which are available.
- Understanding the prescribed sales practices and procedures for consistency in the sale of products which are available. People desire a predictable experience, knowledgeable execution and competitive pricing.
- Review of all applications, and disclaimers or waivers available, and ask questions if there are parts which you may find questionable or incomprehensible. You are not expected to have the knowledge of the legal consultant who may have drafted the clauses.
- Understanding the computer system to be able to utilize the computer effectively in the event you may require quotes or additional marketing tools. Of course, your e-mail accounts and following up with each day’s mail is of importance.
- Understanding claims and customer service procedures devised by the Company to provide the best experience to the customer which may be available and practicable.
- After determining the businesses which qualify as to number or type of entity (i.e. only corporations, associations of a specific number of employees 1-75; 75 and above) with the company’s offerings, make a listing of those you wish to contact.
- Take any prescribed training, sales methods and presentations which are offered and approved by your Company in conducting business on its behalf. You may learn not only information about your products and services but how others before you have been successful and possible new techniques.
- Securing referrals from businesses whether personal or other businesses referrals. Always ask for at least one or two referrals. In most cases if the prospect or client is happy with your presentation, they will be happy to provide you with referrals; or better yet, they will contact the referrals on your behalf after giving you the list..
- Making presentations relative to the products which are available by bound materials or laptop computer presentations.
- Secure general knowledge of the types of business products or services which may be cross sold.
- Joining the Chamber of Commerce and other foundations and groups to further business and personal relationships within the business and governmental community.
- Volunteering to assist in planned events.
- Expanding the sale of products and/or services not only in your area but in outlying areas. Make certain you preplan your stops so that your day is full and it is not a waste of expense and time.
- Dependent upon the Company guidelines and whether the products or services would fit within certain communities, there is a possibility of targeting specific communities as well as businesses (i.e. associations, senior communities, etc)
- Retaining specific information relative to each cold call made, securing appointments, qualifying customers, securing expiration dates and seeking referrals.
- Setting Schedules for Daily routines to maximize time management (i.e.; phone calls; correspondence; meetings; cold calls by area or by prescribed industries within areas; retaining information on those approached, what was discussed, whether there was qualification, whether there is an appointment, expiration dates etc.,
- Writing/Selling approximately (list number) of individual/business products or services per month/per year.
- Exceeding Company goals whenever possible. Accomplish sales which exceed draws as soon as possible to allow for a larger earning capacity based on commission earnings.
- The vehicles to be utilized to secure a steady stream of new customers are as follows:
ü Making unsolicited phone calls each morning to those who are not on the “Do-not-call” list.
ü Direct Mailings to certain customers in accordance with Company practices and guidelines.
ü Canvassing specific areas advertising our products and introducing myself. Attempt to meet the decision maker and follow up with a telephone call and/or letter to set up an appointment or provide additional information.
ü Following up with materials or qualified appointments to go over the various products which may meet their needs or those of employees.
ü Cold Calling Businesses relative to whether they would consider retaining products brochures for their employees or individuals seeking specific services or products from a reputable and responsible company.
ü Securing references from those for whom I have seen or written policies for.
ü Striving for group sessions with friends or neighbors of the prospect if they so elect to have their friends share in the information provided. And a one on one for personal needs
ü Sales presentation to businesses or groups
ü Keeping abreast of community activities or participating in such activities as a volunteer, so others may see you are confident, socially powerful, outgoing, fun, a leader, secure in yourself, have high self-esteem and someone who they are able to joke around with..
ü Participating in Marketing and educational presentations sponsored/authorized by the Company.
ü Reviewing Business News through local newspapers and magazines and other Local Periodicals to congratulate those who have achieved rewards, promotions or have achieved sports notoriety, by correspondence and a business card.
ü Excellent customer service, answering the questions raised by clients. Pointing out the time frames in which changes must be made , why certain products or services are required in addition to their existing ones.
ü Thanking customers for their business or for their referrals by thank you note or correspondence. A personal handwritten note shows personal interest. Confirming changes or conversations relating to specific possible changes or assessments to be handled in the future is equally necessary. Keep a diary/suspense by computer and by journal in date-timer. .
ü Checking in with clients to see whether they may require changes or additional services, including providing birthday cards or other personal congratulatory or condolence cards.
ü Always convey leadership qualities and a high level of personal value to attract customers. Belief in one’s self, the Company one represents and the products and or services which are being offered must come before results may be attained. One must always radiate energy, confidence and optimism to achieve goals.
ü Become knowledgeable about all industry changes. Business is 90% mental and 10% execution to the close. Apprise clients of changes which may affect them. One must take control of a situation before it happens.
ü Qualify…. Qualify….. qualify appointments. One must be extremely protective of their most valuable resource, which is one’s time and money and it is not to be given to others, unless it is right.
ü Read your prospect and try to determine your prospect’s agenda. Are they happy with their current program? If they could change something, what would that be? Will they move for a better product and/or pricing? Are they appreciative of their employees? Do they require other services which the business department may be able to assist them with?
SUMMATION OF REQUIRED PERSONAL ACHIEVEMENT AND GOALS:
Ø Glean/Absorb all knowledge, techniques, procedures and practices accepted and offered by Liberty Mutual.
Ø Sell as many products or services as possible. Ultimate goal (state number) NEW products or service clients a month, no matter whether it is an individual sale or business sale of multiple individuals. 100% RETENTION of Existing customers by communication and service. New sales initially may require additional hours and weekends to initially achieve the goals required. By utilizing time management techniques, the additional time spent will not be required.
Ø Volunteerism and community interaction is a must. Increasing one’s value to others so they may consider you first when opportunities arise.
Ø Keeping informed of community events. Volunteering time to organizations and charities. Meeting people and networking services. Networking through the sources I have already met through Chamber of Commerce and United Way events or other groups
Ø Continual personal education as well as strong client and prospect customer service skills and communications are a must.
Ø Determination of what the internal requirements may be for a smooth transition of new and renewal business and changes, including preferred interpersonal business relationships with customer service representatives, management and the sales team.
Ø Continually assess my strategies to provide ultimate sales. If something is not working, step back and assess the interaction or method and consult with the appropriate team member or management.
Ø Opportunity: (My personal belief). Never close a door. Be the professional others think of first. Listen because you do not learn by talking. Emphasize but do not get involved in another’s problems unless it is one relating to business and you may assist them in some way. Everyone has an agenda that differs from your own. A good salesperson will be able to ferrite the agenda by listening.
Ø If it is sensed the reason for not making a sale is because of being a female, or some other reason sensed or implied, ask if you may introduce another from your sales team to go over the products and ultimately make the sale.
Ø Have fun in the process. You enjoy person to person interaction. Insurance is a passion and you can do anything you set your mind to do. All that matters is that the product holds real value and provides a solution to the end consumer which is the necessary ingredient for long term success.