Aside

Sell it to me before you try to make me buy

20 Oct

I was recently sent to a trade expo in the gold coast to help members of the PIAA to join up to the company that I’m currently working for. It was my second time at a event and my first ‘attempt’ at networking. I was thankfully with a bit of a digital guru called Dean Power (look at his blog – Byron New Media) who gave me some good tips.

I always prefer face to face interaction because it’s much easier to get a decision from a person by judging their response. I also wanted to find out more about the pet industry, it’s not one that I was overly familiar with and being an ‘interest’ based market was extremely popular. However what I found out was that I was going about it in the wrong way.

I was attempting to tackle a face to face introduction as if I was a telephone discussion. Which is clearly a silly thing to do but at the time I thought it was a good approach. What I was forgetting is that in a ‘cold’ face to face introduction you have to explain the ‘product’ from a user prospective (apart from certain industries obviously) because otherwise they won’t even attempt to understand you. They’ll just tell you to go and start talking to the next person. You also need to get to know the person at a basic level before you can even think of entering any kind of sales process.

The solution that I found was to go back to basics and just talk to people about their product, listen to what they had to say and get to understand them as individuals. Not attempting to sell to them at all and just waiting for them to ask what I did. The main benefit of being there in person is that you can be more ‘personal’ and don’t have to use the majority of the ‘core’ selling techniques (open, match & close) because you can just get to know people.

Not only was I more successful when I was more personal but I also got to know some really awesome people who were passionate about what they did and hopefully I’ll ge to work with them. If I don’t then I just really appreciate them showing me what they do and I hope I’ll be able to see them again.

So the lesson to learn from this post? 

Firstly, never fear failing but always question it, I could have easily given up there and then but I looked at where I could improve and tried another way. 

 

Secondly, always remember that the environment is a huge factor in how you can approach people and you need to be sensitive to that. If you ignore it then you’ll just end up failing and never having any idea why.

 

Thirdly, look at how amazing this dog is as a Tiger!Image

Start up sales team advice

6 Oct

This week I was asked for ‘business’ advice by a friend, which was surprising as I’ve never really thought of myself as someone who gives business advice, but it an interesting experience nonetheless. The issue was regarding an eccentric new investor who had asked her to write a report ‘snooping’ on her colleagues.

The obvious ethical issues aside, I quickly found out that there were a few things that I (she) could suggest to improve the sales team that didn’t involve all of them losing their jobs. Just good business sense. I ended up typing a sales plan, which might have put in slightly more than expected. The result was that I worked out a few basic things that should happen in every sales team, regardless of age or industry.

The first thing is a weekly sales meeting, either first thing Monday or last thing on a Friday (I’ve heard the term virtual beer to describe the latter) but something where everyone in the sales team can add some knowledge to the table. What’s discussed in those meetings should always be up to the sales manager but the result should always be that knowledge is shared between the team. This will make your sales team learn to naturally share information with each other and make the office a slightly more sociable place to exist.

An easy way to improve these meetings further is to turn them into games and competitions. The best example that comes to mind is when my Mum was working in retail banking in the UK and used these games to get people who had all but given up on the job to try harder. I remember once that the reward was to ask a really personal question to any member of the team, it really helped motivate people in a positive way and encouraged communication.

I ended up being asked a very personal question and having to answer it in front of my mum, not a proud moment!

The next thing that I’d suggest is sales training, no matter how experienced a sales person can be, it can never hurt to have a refresher. I don’t really think I really started selling properly until I got sales training. I was more than happy to sit through it twice and felt like it became more useful the second time than the first. Think of specific questions or experiences that you weren’t sure how to work out, give the trainer a specific example to work with.

The final thing that can really help a sales team grow is to give them a group goal or incentive, not just financial but team building exercises. It doesn’t have to be an expensive trip abroad but should be a tad more than just going to the pub on a Friday night. A good example from BNZ is where they close their branches and send staff out to help local community groups, which could be the local zoo to clean up after the animals or even the local park and planting trees.

It’s easy to be lazy and just let the Friday night pub become the norm but if you try a bit more then you can do something really good every Friday night and not have to break the company credit card.

While these sound basic, you would be surprised at how some of these can be easily over looked.

What is a ‘Sales’ person?

26 Sep

A good way to start with what ‘my’ definition of a sales person, which is obviously going to be a reflection of my experience in sales rather than an absolute definition.

A sales person is anyone who works in the client facing part of a business. Meaning anyone who speaks to clients or customers on a daily basis or as part of their role is a sales person for that company. Which might sound overwhelmingly obvious to the majority of people but has multiple applications. For example, quite often support teams and product managers are also sales people because they face ‘buyers’ on a daily basis.

The argument against this is that ‘sales’ people are a different breed, we go after the money while the rest of the company stands behind us and supports us through it. Which is true within certain companies, it all depends on the industry that you’re based in and most importantly the product for sale. However it assumes that sales people are the most important part of a business, when the truth is that the most important part of a business is their clients/customers/consumers.

I doubt everyone will agree but my logic behind is that everyone who faces outside the company should feel a sense of ownership for their company.

 

 

Introduction

25 Sep

Howdy,

I’m a young English sales guy living in Sydney, working for a ‘funky’ social commerce start up company.

It’s always a very hard task to start writing a blog considering that this is most likely the first thing that people will read and ‘judge’ you for. First impressions always count. However this also shows that I do tend to over think things rather than just doing it.

So I’m going to keep this as short and as sweet as possible.

This blog is written to document the lessons that I learn on a daily basis in my role as a sales person. They might not be unique insights and may not carry as much experience as other blog writers have but I have my style or just my youth will add an interesting prospective.

I plan to write a post a week about something I’ve learnt, a mistake I’ve made or even just an amusing ‘thing’ that I’ve discovered.

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