Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Smart Selling Requires Focus

Smart Selling Requires Focus
Level II salespeople are at the relationship level of selling. Since it's impossible to build relationships with an infinite number of customers and prospects, smart salespeople must develop the discipline to focus their energy where they are likely to achieve the best results.
This is where so many salespeople miscalculate. They believe the more customers they have on their books, the more sales opportunities they have, the higher their odds of success. Not true. Too many customers buying every now and again dilute salespeople's energy and effectiveness.
Just like the proverbial magnifying glass can focus a beam of sunlight and make it hot enough to ignite a combustible object, salespeople can focus their energy on fewer buyers and almost invariably achieve significantly higher levels of sales.
Another miscalculation salespeople frequently make is convincing themselves that just because they know someone they have a relationship with that person. Nothing could be further from the truth. True relationships are determined by how much you know about people -- both personal and professional -- how they think, what their problems are, and what the salesperson can do to help them achieve their goals and objectives in life.
I have "called on" customers and prospects for sometimes years and really didn't know them. Sure, we recognized each other, spoke to each other, were civil to each other, even did some business together, but the individual was more like an acquaintance than a friend or "relationship."
The key to growing sales is multifaceted, but there are two ingredients that almost always must be present to achieve success: number one is the quality of the relationship with the customer or prospect and number two is focusing on specific product lines that your research has convinced you are a good fit.
In many industries, salespeople sell hundreds if not thousands of products. Not all of them are a good fit for all customers, so it's wise to take some time and identify specifically what a customer is NOT buying from you and determine why.
Who is getting the business now?
What are your obstacles?
How much sales volume are you looking at if you are successful at getting this business?
The answers to these questions will dictate whether it's worth your while to pursue the business.
Here's my system for a commissioned salesperson: answer these questions:
1. How much more money do I want to earn?
2. How much more must I sell at what gross margin to achieve that level of income?
3. Then I follow the process above until I identify about 20% more product lines than I need to meet my sales and income goals, that are a good fit, and enable me to achieve my sales and gross margin goal. The additional 20% is my cushion.
I encourage you to give the ideas in this article some serious thought and consider following these principles as you develop your strategy for improving your productivity.
If you want different results, it's almost always necessary to do different things. If you continue to do the same old things you've always done, the odds are extremely high that you'll continue to get the same old results you've always gotten. So step back and try a new approach.