How to get results on Day 1

How to get results on Day 1

You’ve just been promoted to Head of Sales and you want to make a good impression and get results fast. How?

As part of the Superhero Sales Manager programme, one of my clients has recently got the promotion he was looking for and now has a sales team to manage for the first time. He asked me what he should do first to make the best impression.  I told him to focus on the 3 most important groups of people.

 1.Your managers

Your Senior manager(s) are going to be judging how well you are doing at the end of the day and the value that you bring to the organisation. So it is worth spending time right at the beginning clarifying expectations and goals.

Not having clarity in your new role can hold back your progress. For example, I’ve had sales managers focused so much on delivering VOLUME of sales that they’ve discounted, given special offers to their customers  so the actual VALUE of the sales and therefore the profit actually dropped rather than increased. Make sure you are focusing on the right measurables and Key Indicators.

Insist on a clear job description, transparent goals, incentives and sales targets. So the company’s expectations of you are clear. Check your understanding of them by asking questions. There is nothing worse than putting your efforts into achieving a goal only to find you have misunderstood it and wasted your time and resources at the end of the quarter or even at the end of the year!

2. Your team

You are not going to deliver any results without your team

Find out what motivates each member of their team (it might not just be money; they may love travelling, working alone or a particular job title).

Speak to each member of the team individually . Find out what suggestions they have for improving sales, customer relations, marketing, etc. Find out what they love most and least about their jobs. This team meets the clients more often than anyone else in the company so getting feedback from the Sales Team is nearly as important as getting it from the clients themselves. At this stage your job is to listen. They will feel good about being listened to and even better if you agree and can do something about it.  It sets the stage for them coming to you with ideas and suggestions in the future.

By really listening you may find that something as simple as having  a kettle and tea/coffee making facilities within the department could boost morale, save time out of the office and improve productivity . You are not going to please everyone all the time but some decisions may be a no-brainer, perhaps no-one has actually listened and actioned it before.

3. Your clients

Use the Pareto Principle (which states that 80% of results come from 20% of effort) – learn where to put your effort. It’s crucial that you look at your most important clients. They are probably bringing in 80% of the sales. Make sure you are aware of who they are and what more can be done for them. Create a plan aimed at improving results from your key clients (encourage your Sales Team to help you in this).

Use the news of your new appointment to connect with your client base as a whole – send an introduction letter stating which products and services you are delighted to be working on, invite them to contact you with any ideas or issues they have about your products or service.  Really make the most of the “new broom sweeping through” idea so you can draw a line under any problems in the past.

This is what I said.  What would you advise?  Is there anything there you could implement now, even if you have been in the job for a while?

If you have any questions about Sales Management, send me an email Nicola@superherosalesmanager.com or post your question on my new Facebook page Superhero Sales Manager and they will be answered every Thursday.

 

To make the most of your first 7 days as a Sales Manager – download the free Induction Kit “Superhero Sales Manager in 7 days” – fill in the box on the home page.

Are you putting your client first?

Are you putting your client first, or your sale?

How big a part of your job is giving sales presentations to a GROUP of potential clients? It’s probably more often than the 1:1sales meeting now, isn’t it?
Clients don’t want to take risks so often have more than one buyer in a decision…
What you are selling has to be compliant with more than one department…
For whatever reason you will probably find yourself standing up in front of an audience with the aim of convincing them all to buy your product rather than sitting over a coffee discussing it with one person.

I was recently running an in-company presentation course and a Sales Manager on the course was very much focused on the sale, as you would expect.
But how does that make his audience feel?
If he starts his presentation with,
“By the end of this presentation I will demonstrate why you should be working with us”
how would you feel as part of that audience?!

If I was in the audience I’d be thinking, I’m in for a hard sell presentation and I’d put my barriers up, be very cynical about everything that was said and believe that the presenter was more focused on getting a sale than understanding my needs.

If however he’d opened with some questions to ascertain my most burning problems and then started the presentation with “In the next 30 minutes I’ll demonstrate to you how we can save you time, save money and help you expand your business without increasing your headcount”, I would have sat up, listened and taken notes on how my problems were going to be solved.

Show yourself to be a Superhero for your clients by focusing on the value you deliver that answers their problems.
Also if the presenter had delivered on that promise, tailoring his offering to their specific needs and wants, the value of whatever he was selling would be clear to the audience as it gives them a solution to their burning problems. That way price negotiations would be a lot easier at the end.

So putting your audience’s needs first and foremost in your sales presentations is more likely to get you the sales than focusing on the sale alone. If you aren’t already doing that, try it and see. Let me know how it works for you.

For a free preparation and checklist for planning your sales presentation that is confident, compelling and converts send an email to Nicola@SuperheroSalesManager.com with “Sales Presentation Checklist” in the subject title.

For more information about Superhero Sales Managers Presentation Skills Training and the Confident, Compelling Presentation that Converts Programme see the services page.

How to give your exhibition stand presence

How to give your exhibition stand presence.

You’ve seen those exhibitions where smartly suited people are sitting behind their stand talking amongst themselves on their phone so not engaging with anyone.  They will go home thinking the exhibition was a waste of time and money!

Or the stands where the exhibitors have wide smiles and  outstretched arms asking “Can I help you?”  Your obvious answer is “No, thanks” and scuttle on as you don’t know what they do or what to ask for.   They will wonder what they did wrong!

Your average Sales or Marketing Manager will make sure you are present – the stand is booked in a good position, staff are on the rota to cover the opening times, the stand and marketing materials are all present and correct.

The Superhero Sales Manager will make sure your exhibition stand has presence – everyone talking about it, the stand everyone wants to visit, gets press coverage and brings back new leads, new business, new investors and lots of new interest.

So how do Superhero Sales Managers do that:

Here are 3 of the many ways to give your exhibition stand presence: 

1.      Don’t try and sell anything.

2.      Give something valuable in return for a visitor’s business card

3.      Make your stand an interactive experience

 

1.      Don’t try and sell anything.

Don’t expect or try to sell anything immediately. You are there to build a relationship first and foremost so spend time engaging with your visitors, finding out more about them. Have some form of short survey to gain valuable market information, have something free to give them that tells them more about you, your services and your products.    Make sure any freebies relate to your products or services. Too many people have something to give away that is just a waste of money as it is not relevant to your business nor is it memorable.

However, make it easy for your visitors to buy should they choose to by having special offers for the exhibition only as some people buy on impulse if you have explained your products and serivces well.  (There is a different mind-set  between selling something and enabling a visitor to buy something and that difference could cost you the sale!)

  • What questions could you use to engage and draw visitors in?
  • If you choose to have a free gift, what does it say about you? And what benefits does it give your visitor?
  • Plan special offers to give on the day.

 

2.      Give something valuable in return for a visitor’s business card

Adding new names to your database is a key objective of being at an exhibition but visitors are more reluctant to give away their details these days for fear of being bombarded with irrelevant emails. So you have to make the give-away prize or prize draw something really special.

I have given away Break-through VIP coaching days in a Spa in the past or an experience of being Superman in a wind tunnel, part of my Superhero Sales Manager Challenge programme, anyway.  They are each worth £1000 and my target market are busy Sales managers that either are in need of relaxation or craving new adrenalin rushes!  Relevant prospects are prepared to exchange their business cards for the chance to win either of these.

  • How will you encourage and reward visitors for giving you their contact details?

 

3.      Make your stand an interactive experience

In order to engage with your visitors, you want them to spend time with you on your stand, so give them something to do while they are there.

Have some kind of game or competition that engages people and gives them a reason to visit your stand, tell others about it, and return for another go later.

I recently helped a fashion retailer plan her stand at a big exhibition.  One of her key selling points was fashionable clothes at a low cost. So the obvious thing to do was to dress a mannequin in a full outfit and have the visitors guess the price of the outfit by writing it on their business card and putting it into a draw.

Not only did they collect more business cards, they raised awareness and surprise at how affordable their clothes were.  They also had people returning to the stand to find out the answer, the winner and what the next outfit would be like.

  • What is your key selling point?
  • How can visitors have an experience or an insight of what you do in a few minutes on your stand?

I have all sorts of activities planned for my stand SD220 at Sales Management & Performance, happening at ExCeL, London on June 6/7Book it in your diary and come and find out what they are!

 

Personal vision of a Sales Manager: Be Proactive!

Personal vision of a Sales Manager: Be Proactive!

When I first became a sales manager, the book that gave me the support, tools and inspiration I needed was Stephen Covey’s “The 7 habits of highly effective people”.  The 7 great principles he taught enabled me to have confidence, manage my time, and achieve a lot which led to me gaining promotion or a new job every year of my career.

Sadly Stephen Covey passed away this week but his books and ideas will live on for generations to come. His ideas influenced a lot of my book “Superhero Sales Manager” with multiple responsibilities, tasks and goals to answer to.

As a personal tribute to Stephen Covey I will apply his 7 habits to today’s Sales Manager, starting with his first one: Be proactive.  To Covey being proactive means more than just taking initiative, although that is a strength in itself. To him it means that we take responsibility for our own lives. We no longer blame our circumstances or other people but we choose our response (response-ability) consciously based on our own values above our feelings.   It’s being a grown up.

Reactive people are affected by the weather, by someone else’s moods, by the reaction of one phone call.  Proactive people carry their own weather. They are value driven so if their value is to produce good quality work, it’s not relevant whether the weather is conducive or not, they’ll do it anyway.

It is a source of personal power that others can’t take away, to choose your response to any given situation and make it a positive proactive one.  As a Sales Manager years ago, this gave me a lot of confidence to take decisions. I didn’t worry what others would think or wait and see what decisions others would make. I would look at a situation, whether it was poorly performing staff member, recruiting a new team member or distribution partner, decision whether to exhibit or not and base that decision on what was right for the business with the information I had.  This meant I could make quick decisions. And as they were based on values, not emotions they were decisions I couldlive with and make work no matter what the consequences.

Today’s business is full of the fear of taking risks, of doing the wrong thing because the focus is often on revenue and profit rather than Values and taking responsibility for making proactive decisions based on those values.

When I work with my clients at all Executive levels one of our first sessions together is exploring, clarifying and highlighting their values as they are sometimes buried beneath years of following orders, being seen to do the right thing.

What are your personal values in the work you do?  What can you do today to make sure that the decisions you take are based on those values?

Next week: 2. Begin with the end in mind

 

3 key principles of Superhero Sales Management

3 key principles of Superhero Sales Management

You’ve finally found the right Sales Manager for the role. Relief! Or is it?   How are you going to get them up to speed quickly so you get on with doing what you do best?

  • Send them on a training programme?
  • Carve out time from your already crammed diary to mentor them?
  • Show them their desk, give them their work and let them get on with it, after all you recruited them for their knowledge and expertise, right?

Would you do things differently if you knew that 40% to 50% of senior appointments fail to achieve the desired results due to lack of training, support, coaching or mentoring.

Too often we assume that the job change is a natural one but what often happens next is your Salesperson finds it a lot harder than they had expected, they keep quiet and hide their failures as they are used to being successful and feel the pressure of those expectations. The sales team around them aren’t fooled and become de-motivated and sometimes leave. So you have not only lost your best Salesperson (who no longer has the time to pull in the sales they did before) but you have a demotivated Sales team, spiralling recruitment costs and poor sales.

The 3 principles I see working best to ensure your Sales Manager is giving value to the company i.e. a Superhero Sales Manager, are:

  1. The Superhero Sales Manager Identity– a fast track coaching and mentoring solution which tackles those issues of a new mental attitude including:
    1. As a manager, not a salesperson,
    2. working on behalf of a team, not solo
    3. being pro-active and showing initiative
    4. seeing themselves as a leader

Often it takes a good Salesperson 6 to 18 months (sometimes more) to reach their potential as a Sales Manager because they have not made that mental transition. Without support at the early stages it could take a long time for them to get into their stride and identify their management style.

  1. The Superhero Sales Manager Powers and Skills.  This is the area covered by more traditional Sales Management courses and is an essential part of any transition from Salesperson to Sales Manager. These include communication and presentation skills, motivating staff, controlling and commanding the sales, marketing and customer service process.
  2. The Superhero Success Story.  Getting quick wins makes your new Sales Manager feel great about themselves and their new role.   Often that doesn’t happen for months so any training that focuses on early success, planning and prioritising critical success factors and building them into a timetable of intensive training and coaching pays dividends. Not just for building up the confidence of your new Sales Manger quickly but that of their Sales team around them, confidence in them from Senior Management and sales results your whole organisation can benefit from.

What do you think?  If you are a Director concerned about your company’s performance and don’t have the time to deliver this yourself, give this some thought (and give us a ring!)