Why Keep A Complimentary Pipeline of Opportunity – by Elinor Stutz

Why Keep A Complementary Pipeline of Opportunity?

Most salespeople in need of making a monthly sales quota merely maintain a sales pipeline. However, when you maintain a complementary pipeline of opportunity, you will find it becomes the motivating force for over-achieving quota.

While some trainers insist that sales are just a numbers game, I whole-heartedly disagree. Sales leaders will tell you there is so much more to the profession than the simple declaration.

Elements of the successful sales process include:

  • A give and take conversation where the prospect and salesperson energetically engage one another. The exchange consists of insights, personal stories, and troubling circumstances in a heart-to-heart plus mind-to-mind communication style.
  • All the while and throughout each conversation credibility and trust build.
  • Timelines are typical, and follow-through with timely delivery on all requests is the usual occurrence.
  • Periodic check-ins after the sale are included to maintain client satisfaction.
  • The personal touch with human feeling attached is the ultimate sales experience that puts the representative at the top of the charts.

A numbers game? Hardly!

It is the complementary pipeline of opportunity that increases motivation on a daily basis. For a moment, imagine what high-energy motivation will do for you each day.

  1. Entrepreneurs, think about the offers others provide and focus on those that excite you the most
  2. Job Seekers, consider the company openings that will put your skill set to the best use.
  3. Salespeople, while you do the mundane to attain quota, keep sight of the exciting possibilities ahead.

Should you buy into the extra elements of successful selling, it becomes clear as to why a complementary pipeline of opportunity is essential. The following list is of ideas that you might include to maintain enthusiasm and a smile:

Prospects You Enjoy

Similar to not everyone is your friend, not every candidate is friendly or close to being a good choice. The numbers element may be in your primary sales pipeline, but be sure to omit from your opportunity pipeline. Instead, keep a record of the prospects and clientele you most enjoy.

Notable Companies for the Resume

Few people remain at one sales job their entire career. As you gain experience and contemplate furthering your career, add notable companies that will light up future employers and in the meantime, will keep you motivated to do your best.

Sizable Initial Sale

Challenge yourself to take on a massive sale where others in your space are also competing for the business. Believing you can do it, and motivating yourself to learn will see you accomplish more than you thought possible. Taking on a sizable challenge keeps the motivation and excitement fresh.

Potential Repeat Business

As you continue to learn and grow, and motivation is a constant, channel your enthusiasm in conversation with clientele. Prospects and clients pick up that you are continually learning and growing, encouraging them to do business with you.

Upon continuing the sales cycle, more business develops. In your complementary pipeline, partition the clients that are likely to provide repeat business and referrals.

Referrals

Underneath your list of clients providing repeat business, list the companies they refer. Referrals are more likely than chance encounters to do business. Using the same sales methodology above will increase the likelihood of referred parties asking to do business with you.

Time management is an essential piece of not only securing the everyday sales but also earning the more complex. Attention to detail and focus on client need will work in your favor. And the excitement in the opportunity pipeline is what will put you at the top of the sales scoreboard.

Sales Tips for Pipeline of Opportunity

  1. Lead client conversations with insightful questions
  2. Listen carefully to each reply for elements not addressed
  3. Use enthusiasm to help build interest in you and your services
  4. At the end of each day prioritize the prospects that interest you the most
  5. Acknowledge the areas that attract your interest to seek out more of the same
  6. Leverage all areas that hold your attention
  7. Commit to education for improving your effort
  8. Ask the clients you enjoy if they know of others who may have a similar interest in your services
  9. Follow-up immediately with new referrals to impress the referring party
  10. Celebrate Success!

Today’s blog is provided to help you achieve The Smooth Sale!

 

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Make Your Customer’s Buying Process Your Sales Process

All of us know, most of the sales process is gone. Starting in the mid 90’s with the initiation of the internet, customers began investigate solutions to their problems themselves. Without you.

And it escalated. Their ability to get informed or educated on the huge variety of goods and services available solving their problems increased exponentially. But we, the salespeople, didn’t really catch up their pace.

We act as it’s still 1995. We still construct sales processes with stages based upon KPI’s designed decades ago; number of calls, number of meetings, number of quotes ans so on.

We still believe that more of the same ancient methods will lead to achievement of our targets. And when we disappoint our management not achieving them, we just raise the bar once more, trying to call more calls, book more meetings until our customers scream: we don’t want you here!

Leaving us in sales with missed quotas once more.

So, why don’t we just dismiss our sales process, if it’s not working? I believe it’s because we’ve set a reporting structure based on the industrial age requirements, when there were – always – new customers to sell to. Today, it’s the opposite: Global competition, cloud services, block chain, apps, digitalization etc, have set a completely new agenda. In a post-industrial society, the customer is king, having all aces on hand and is able to chose among suppliers on a global market.

Research tell us customers are doing 70% of their buying process before they need contact with a salesperson. And when they finally get in touch, they are educated enough to specify exactly what they want and to what price. You’ll be lucky if their specification can be matched to your products or services, or if you’re on their short list at all.

The trick is – as always – to get in early in the process to impact your customer’s specification. But if they don’t want you there, how to do that?

During most of my career in sales, I’ve done in a certain manner, making myself coming in really early in my prospects’ buying process, and by that be in charge specifying my prospects’ specifications, making the price don’t really matter.

The secret is as simple as this statement:

You can’t sell anything, but you can help your prospect buy.

Your starting point should be to forget all activities you used to do in your sales process. Instead, establish a new process based on customer buying stages, such as information search, internal need benchmarking, problem resolving go/no-go, evaluate available solutions  and so on.

I bet your current sales process hasn’t any of those stages?

But even if you are unfamiliar with your customer’s buying stage name standard, you may act as it was your own sales process. Try to figure out how you could serve a typical prospect along their buying journey, making their buying process your sales process. See the picture below.

To attract prospects of different kinds, without knowing who they are (remember; they do not what to contact you or to be contacted by you), you may create customer personas per buying stage, identifying what they need to learn or what value they are going for, for every single stage.

You may define as many stages as you need to, depending on your effort and available customer data, but my experience tells me you need to have at least three stages; Small Value, Value and Great Value.

Small Value (first stage) may be in-depth articles about solving typical problems in your customer’s industry, not yours! You must not tell anything about your products and services, try to be as educational as possible. BTW, your prospect is fully aware of the fact you’re offering solutions, that’s why it’s completely redundant to mention it. And it will be counter-productive since they really don’t love marketing messages in early (or all?) stages.

An example of a value in the second stage (Value) may be a downloadable ROI calculation spreadsheet, showing for example types of cost reductions, readymade cashflow analysis or inventory simulations where your prospect may put their own data in. Such spreadsheet would be perfect for their internal need benchmarking where they negotiate what investment they would prioritize and the sheet will of course show that solving problems in your business area will provide huge gains, wouldn’t it?

In the third stage – Great Value – a risk analysis will fit. In late stages of most buying processes risk aversion is obvious. Risks are connected to the disadvantage of stopping many far gone purchase processes. A comprehensive and trustworthy risk management analysis will do a great job for you.

Finally, don’t forget to have an “e-mail me for further help” button everywhere on your site.

And remember: you cannot sell, only help prospects to buy!

Why you shouldn’t hurry your buyers’ decision

Recently I was involved in buying an apartment to my son. You know, being 23 it was time, thought his father, his son would have his own place at last. It’s not that easy to live at the same place, same house, with grown up kids.

However, my buying journey was not that easy. Maybe it tells something about living as a buyer, who knows? Let me tell my buying story.

the floor

Buying an apartment in Sweden is mostly done by an open bidding process. Estate agents set a sort of “group text platform” where buyers text their bid and thus receive text messages from other bidders. Buying this particular apartment was no exception.

At least from the beginning, in the end it turn out to be – well memorable – if not saying frustrating.

I and my wife were taking our son with us to the apartment display. It was colored in light nuances, the kitchen was small, but nice and modern. It seemed that the apartment had undergone some careful renovation.

So yes, we were interested. Really interested.

Let me tell you a little about us, as buyers. I can say we are experienced buyers. We’ve been through some bidding processes before and felt the pressured, nerve-thrilling process to end up with a victory or a loss. In all cases it had been an honest fight with other bidders, probable with the same feelings about the process.

During theses processes, we’ve found a great way to win such. You start by making it clear to the estate agent rep that you’re interested, but you never start the process yourself. You wait, wait and wait. Remember, you’re getting all those text messages so you are able to follow the bidding process really close. You’re not a hurry. Not at all.

So if you wait until you feel the frequency of the other bidders’ bids slow down to a pace when you can feel they’re thinking to stop – “this is my last bid, no more”, then it’s time for you to Enter The Arena.

But you shouldn’t put a bid just a little above the last bid. It has to be – if you are ok with the level – a massive bid. That will definitely shock the others and – in most cases – finish the bidding process to your advantage.

Back to the actual buying of an apartment to our son, the other bidders had making their bids and the process was slowing down. It was not really time to go into the process, but soon, very soon we felt.

Then came the crucial mistake from the estate agency. He texted as follows:

“We intend to close the bidding process tomorrow at noon. Please give me you last bid”.

Now. Hold on for a sec. What are the agency rep trying to accomplish? And why? But what impact does he on the buying process?

For sure, he’s trying to close the deal soon and by that force buyers to make up their minds quickly and put their last bid. He’s certainly also trying to make those bids to be higher, since “you’ve got only one more chance”.

And why? Of course to cash in his commission a soon as possible.

But what impact does he? Let’s sort it out.

  1. He stresses buyers to opt-out from the bidding process
  2. He blocks the buyers’ need to evaluate the others’ new bids, and possible put a new and even higher bid, refusing highest possible money to the seller
  3. He infuses irritation by introducing a “last minute process”, that no one more than he earns at

The agency rep became aware of, at least, our irritation when he called me just a few hours before his intended bidding process closure. I said I was just discussing with my family to put a huge bid tomorrow morning, I’d just wanted to evaluate some other apartment offerings, and naturally it’s a big decision and a lot money involved. We always, I said, consider very carefully our actions, but when we decide upon things, we’re honest about our intentions and just go for it, making it a success.

But he persisted, the bidding process would be closed at noon.

I was totally pissed off (excuses for my bad language) and opted-out instantly. The seller of the apartment missed out on a lot more money and my son a nice apartment. To whose gain?

Everyone talks about “customer is king” and “you’d better consider their buying process instead of your own sales process”. So what may we learn from my story? Are we still thinking demand is greater than assets and by that it’s the sellers’ market? Is the customer really in focus for you? Do you really understand the behavior and needs of your customer? Have you created your “buyer persona” by really step into his shoes?

I doubt. Especially when buying apartments.

Customers increasingly regret their buying decisions – that’s your opportunity!

Lost the contract with your best client? No worries.

According to new research from CEB, customers that regret their buying decisions are increasing. CEB’s research says that in over 40% of all B2B buying decisions post-purchase anxiety occurs.

That’s your opportunity!

winback

The reason for decision makers asking themselves questions like: “did we buy the right thing”, is that too many alternatives are presented to them and they’re flooded by information from too responsive sales reps, which makes customers’ buying process “awful”, customers say.

Besides that, we should look into the opportunity of customers’ post purchase anxiety and how that may turn up to be your opportunity.

Many years ago I had a sales process evaluation meeting with one of my valuable clients. We sketched their new process on the white board; Qualify to Quote to Negotiate to Close. A simple, traditional sales process which is working very well in most businesses.

oldprocess

“NO, NO !”, my client almost shouted; “You forget the most important phase”.

“Ehhh, what phase ?”, I said, slightly surprised.

“The WIN-BACK phase of course, that comes after you lost the deal.

“But if the deal is lost and contracts are signed, that shouldn’t be a sales process phase. It wouldn’t be possible to tear their contract?”, I opposed.

“Well, not really”, my client said, “but we are selling a lot more just after we lost a contract with a large existing client. That revenue are really important to our profitability, so we cannot ignore sales activities after we lost any deal”, my client explained.

So we just added the “Win-back” phase to the end of their sales process.

newprocess

But why was my client selling a lot more after they lost their big contract?

The meeting with my client was many years ago, but adding a win-back phased to their sales process was valuable even then. My client explained their newly lost client was struggling to implement the new contract with your competitor, new contact channels were to be set up, new processes were to be implemented.

Those things are not easy to fix and takes time. During this period you can become the “good guy” and with just a little more attention you may get a star status of service. All your processes are in place, all contact channels are tuned, you are in a favorable position to make them happy.

Like in a guerrilla war, you may with a very little effort make a lot revenue, until your competitor has learned how to make service excellence at your client – but that takes a while and cost them big money. If you’re great and lucky they will not succeed until next purchase round is to take place.

According to the new research I believe the reason to add the extra win-back phase now has just become more important since customers are increasingly anxious making the right decisions in a world of information overload. There are too many options, too many alternatives, too many suggestions, too much information available, too many…of everything. And it’s expected that customers’ are doing more than 57% of the entire buying process before they even get in touch with a sales rep. So they stumble, trying to get the right information, not getting any help from intrusive sales reps.

And worse, great sales reps that earlier was promoting and pitching about their specific product and features, are – nowadays – banned to make sales pitches in social media since they are just transformed to become experts, not sales reps, anymore!

Ambivalent, yes. Confused, yes. I leave that to another blog post. But if you lose, be aware of the revenue after you lose. That revenue seems to be increasing nowadays…

Good luck losing 😉

 

Being analogue take you further in sales

I’m just reading a book about the possible danger of always being connected. The innermost sentence of the book is to illustrate the importance of being offline – analogue – from time to time, in an online, digital world. More than having a sense when to disconnect and relax in these times of summer and vacations, you need to develop skills to float between being digital and analogue during your sales process, which contains elements of high pace, unexpected events and intense competition combat, just like rafting in white water.

20051009192726_rafting

The book is not in the category of business literature, but most of the book’s contents are definitely applicable in business.

The book points out that today’s standard of always being online is not necessarily good for your health. Nor in sales as well.

My thought is that if we go all-in and always use the internet, social media or e-mails for prospecting , as many sales experts nowadays are suggesting, and not feel when to switch from digital to analogue, then I think you would lose more deals.

I know, prospects are much more researching vendors online today, before they get in touch with you, leaving you offside of their buying process. The obvious answer on this has for some years now been the concept of social selling, where you’re supposed to create and nurture prospect relations. Social selling lets your prospect being able to make their investigations according to their extents, timings and relevance, without being distracted by intrusive sales people. Being an expert to them, you’ll become (one of) “the man to talk to” when it comes to an eventual procurement.

Using social media and other digital tools for taking care of your first selling phase is great, but not necessarily in all phases. My feeling is that the further you raft along the white water stream, your sales process, the more analogue you have to be. Much of the job in early phases of selling is to create visibility and existence, but not to provide solutions to complex prospect problems. That belongs to the upcoming phases where insightful discussions have to take place to be competitive.

To win sales deals, you need to get to the selling phases where “talking” takes place, and need to get much deeper in your conversations than you possible can with help of digital tools, such as social media or sending e-mails. Most conversations on those type of tools are mostly too general or too public to really manage helping your prospect solve his problems, but also for you to win the deal.

The phases of talking includes physical meetings, where emotions, body language and nuances are central things that counts. Here’s where the real sales takes place, even if it’s activities often are initiated as social selling activities.

In the phases of talking, you may be able to consider in-depth relations based on feelings that unveil situations and implications you really can help to solve and put yourself ahead of your competition. BTW, did you know that we are equipped with 24 different muscles in our face, optimized to express different feelings? To translate all these expressions, you need a lot of training which is only obtainable by plenty of prospect meetings.

The tricky part may be to get the feeling of how to handle a certain activity – digital or analogue. Social media is an excellent way of getting in touch and convey prospects through early phases of why they should invest and what, but seldom how to get the business value.

My recommendation is when it comes to more detailed questions from your prospect, always consider to switch to analogue tools, by just picking up your phone and call them. Start a more detailed discussion, and try to book an on-site workshop. Further on, use the opportunity to use efficient digital tools as chats or Skype sessions for additional minor questions, but always have your eyes open when to shift being analogue again – especially when it comes to deeper discussions. These discussions require an analogue approach to develop your deal forward.

You need to learn when to switch from digital conversations to in-depth on-site activities, and maybe back again, as the white water stream flows further on. Also, when you’ve made the switch, train your skills in empathy and body language, to get the discussion to a deeper level.

Sales managers also need to look for a new skill. They should look for individuals that master the combination of being both digital and analogue, to really drive your sales processes forward, and take the rafts and deals safely down the stream.

Learn from Social Selling to make your e-mails hot

It has happened fast, the shift from using social media in your daily selling. Studies such as this from CEB and Google tells more than one-half of the sales process is gone. Or, more precisely, customers run their buying process at least 57% before they get in touch with a sales rep, in some cases much longer than that.

Conclusion: There’s not much time left to make some impact on your prospects’ decisions.

New social media techniques are therefore essential for your sales success. However, one part of your sales lead production is still left to be traditional, such as sending a prospecting e-mail. It may not be a great part of your sales work and it will definitely be decreasing. But you’d better not ignore it in a foreseeable future.

The challenge is though, partly because of the mentions above, it’s getting harder to create sales leads from traditional methods. So what to do?

Why not turn the knowledge transfer the other way round? Why not learn from recently learned social selling skills and apply those best practise on traditional prospecting as well?

Social selling to e-mail

To do so, you need to define what elements in your social selling that are key to your success and map them to traditional selling tasks. The very best experts in this area is Barbara Giamanco. My own key elements are these five:

  • Curiosity
  • Relevance
  • Value
  • Expertise
  • Ease

Curiosity. Most of us are crazy curious about things we are interested in. You might be interested in discussions in your specific marketplace and what your competitors are doing right now. Social media lets you see what they are discussing and bother about for the moment.

Relevance. In today’s overflow of information you need to be mega relevant when you discuss things. Don’t bother participate in social media discussions or write articles if you’re not relevant.

Value. Only pure customer value counts in social media. Value is measured by the customer, not you.

Expertise. Customers are doing a major part of their buying process without contacting you, but they still need information. They turn to their personal contacts and relevant public information to make their decisions. In social media, it’s easier than ever to be their “personal” contact and provide in depth relevant information.

Ease. In social media you cannot sell. Your only “sale” is a “like”, comment or an accepted invitation on LinkedIn. Easy actions from prospects are connected to a sort of “cost” for them, but it’s affordable low, such as “Yes, I can like this article”, “Well, I should comment on this” or “Fair enough, I can afford to be his friend or contact”.

OK, I will now try to apply my social selling key elements to a traditional prospecting e-mail that turns it from cold to really hot. For some years now I’ve been able to test a method using these social selling key elements in traditional prospecting e-mails with extraordinary results.

In 96% of the cases I’ve got contact and a booked meeting with the right people, access to the decision maker and a list of people that have an impact on my sale.

My method uses both phone and e-mail, and requires three prerequisites:

  1. Cell phone number to the most top manager you can get
  2. E-mail address to the same
  3. At least one success story this top manager can relate to (a competitor to his business is ultimate)

Prepare a short manuscript for leaving a short voicemail (because he will likely not answer your call) to the top manager when you call. Don’t forget to finish with: “…I will also send you an e-mail summarizing what I’ve said for your convenience”. This is just a heads-up when the e-mail arrives and connects to your first sentence in your e-mail.

Now it’s time to compose the e-mail.

Subject line. The only purpose of the subject line is to make the top manager to open your e-mail and should consist of two things and in this order: Relevance + Curiosity. The part of the subject line “Heat Exchangers” makes Relevance (if e-mail sent to top manager in a industrial construction company) and the part “Competitor X” stimulates Curiosity (“what have they done that makes relevance to us…?”).

Example: Heat Exchangers to Competitor X

First sentences in Body. The first sentences in the body will do two things; connect to your voicemail and pitch Value. These first sentences are maybe the only few the top manager will read, so plan your words very carefully. The sentences have to be short and describe the value generally so the top manager easily can understand it. The value has to be relevant to his role, challenges he may struggle with and in words such as money, bottom line, etc.

Example: “I was trying to reach you earlier today but didn’t succeed, so here’s a short summary of my voicemail. As you certainly are aware of, the Challenge B has become a major concern to companies in your industry. As I mentioned in my voicemail, we’ve been working together with Competitor X and by implementing our heat exchangers with our unique feature Y, Competitor X has decreased their total cost by 20% and improved their bottom line with more than 15%. I would like to discuss with you how we’ve been able to achieve these improvements related to your specific business environment”.

Middle body. This part has to be written pretty complex. The reason is that when the top manager starts to read it, he may understand what it is about, but need to involve expertise to determine if it’s interesting enough to spend time on. What will he do?

Yes, of course the top manager will distribute the e-mail to whom it belongs to. And this is exactly what you want!

You want other people impacting your case to be engaged. Also, when anybody later on get in touch with you it might be by forwarding your own e-mail message. If so, you can just scroll down and see all relevant names by reading cc:s etc.

The body should further explain what you’ve done at Competitor X and what more value they’ve got by implementing your solution. You have to show your deep expertise. But please note, I don’t encourage you to reveal competitors’ business critical details and break non-disclosure agreements. Your text in the body should therefore consist of industry details that the internal experts or department managers can relate to and judge to be true and credible, without having you to reveal secrets.

Communication should be in context of “from one expert to another”. This part of your e-mail has to win those experts’ hearts. They don’t easily change their minds investing in new partners or technology, because they’re not embracing change and are definitely prioritizing low risk above most other things. But they also are pragmatists and may be convinced by market leaders. That’s reminds me of the most excellent book in marketing strategy I know, Crossing the Chasm by Geoffrey A Moore. It tells the higher relevance you have to their needs and greater market leadership you may prove, the higher chance you’ll get. Maybe you’re not the well-known market leader, but nobody says how tiny markets should be defined…

Finish. The finish will call for action, but in bite size. It really should be “at no cost” to further engage with you. That makes the Ease for them to engage. “Why not, a meeting with this guy only cost us the time of one hour…?”

Example: “I’d like to schedule a one hour meeting at your premises, anytime that fits your schedules and of course entirely unconditionally, where I may further explain what we’ve done for Competitor X and other companies in your industry”. You see, you conclude your message with curiosity as well to improve your snakebite rate…

Now you have to wait. Don’t disturb the process for a while by calling them too early to follow up. My experience is that a minimum “radio silence” of three weeks are necessary for their process to execute. Think about it; there are lots of things you may have set in motion on the prospect’s side: e-mails that have to be forwarded, internal discussions, meetings etc.

So just wait. Your social selling boosted e-mail is hopefully just getting hotter than ever.

 

 

3 stories that reveal if your sales attitude is out of date

It’s not easy to cope with all dramatic changes now happening around how to sell. High performing sales reps do, but my following true stories tell many people within sales and SMB’s still have a long way to go before they would be able to compete in the future.

outofdate

Story #1

In my garden there was until recently a huge red leafed beech. It’s height was almost 60 feet and due to that we couldn’t leave it for another year. We had to take it down. In my former life I certainly was a monkey or such animal, so I went out climbing up to the top, taking down one branch at a time.

One day later I was satisfied with my work. However, the tree trunk was still left. I scanned the internet after firms that could help me taking the trunk down. I called a few local firms and selected one that already the coming Friday was able to finish the work. Being an experienced sales person, I appreciate if a buyer comes back to me, even if it’s just to tell me I lost the deal, so I went out texting those firms that lost my deal.

Here’s the text dialog with one of them:

Me: Sorry, but I have to tell I selected another firm for the job. Thanks for your time anyhow 🙂

The sales rep: Now you lost a lot of money! We’re always 30-40% below our competitors.

Me: (slightly sarcastic) Ooops, then it certainly was a lot of money, maybe several dollars? But you didn’t check all of my needs when you called – I wanted to get the job done already this week… By the way; care about what you’re texting – just a small tips.

The sales rep: I always stand up for what I write or say. I’ve been in business since the 90’s and last year we got 96% of all jobs in your town.

Me: (increasingly upset) Think about if I had another tree I needed to take down? Regarding your attitude, do you really think I would be contacting you again? Blaming a potential customer is not a good choice. I’ve been in sales for a long time and teach sales reps, it might be a good advice to join one of my sales training classes…?

The sales rep: You should consider a training class in Foresight to earn some money!

End of story.

Lesson learned. Always accept a lost deal with a smile and a “good luck”. Look at it as a new opportunity that starts. We all know prospecting takes time and even if you lost this deal, you got in touch and next time it’s a warm call.

Story #2

This story is recently shared from my brother. He had some problems with his chainsaw (I know; you may think we are all in forestry…) and went to a retail store to get it fixed. He asked for service and the sales rep took the chainsaw into his repair shop. The brand was one of those they were selling in the store and the sales rep promised to fix it. But this was what happened next:

The sales rep: OK, I know what’s wrong, we’ll fix it. By the way, where did you buy it?

My brother: (little embarrased) On the Internet…

The sales rep: ON THE INTERNET????? Just go away and take your worthless chainsaw with you! People buying things ON THE INTERNET are not welcome in my store!!!

Lesson learned. Not adjusting your attitude and business to modern buying processes where customers using the internet and social media to educate themselves, buy things and compare, are just out of date. It’s a major threat for SMB’s but not aligning to reality is only stupid. Such aligning might be: “Great, we have a special offer for those buying on the internet, it’s a service agreement for only 99 dollars per year and I can make this included as the first repair. Would you like to fill in this form, please?”

Story #3

This story is a short one, also shared from my brother. His mower was not starting, so he called a local shop to get it fixed. However, the shop was closing at 4 PM and he knew he was a little late calling 4.05 PM:

The sales rep: (first thing saying) Do you know what time it is???

My brother: Well yes, I actually do, but I took a chance and called anyhow; and lucky me, you answered.

The sales rep: We’re closing at 4.00 PM, you cannot call later. Come back tomorrow! Then he hung up.

Lesson learned. Nothing is closed anymore. Business is always open, 24/7. Opening hours are restricting in itself, but here’s the worst thing about the short conversation above: The sales rep was actually picking up the phone. It’s not just missing the call if he didn’t answer, he also damaged his brand and that may be unrepairable.

Recognize any of these stories by your own? Do you have any more examples of out of date sales attitudes? Please tell in the comment line below! Maybe we all as high performing sales reps would get a big laugh at least 🙂