Often times we like to think of superior sales people transactionally. Dominant closers and persuasive at the close of sales. While this is certainly true on a call by call basis, there is something equally, if not more important, to the long-term growth and development of any salesperson in this industry. What separates the truly elite sales people from the pack is their dogged, aggressive pursuit of service for their customers.
Let’s take a look at the types of habits and behaviors of elite sales people. The beautiful thing about this is these are most typically effort traits and behaviors that can be learned if the sales person is willing.
Communicating Clear, Confident and Optimistic Expectations
No, “I might have it by Wednesday” or “probably looking at Friday”. No, “let me have my guy take a look at it and call you back”.
Sell confidently to the best possible outcome. I WILL have one to you by Friday. Sell to the solution and do not worry about potential problems. This is a big difference between top sales people and middle to bottom sales people. Top sales people KNOW that if they run into a problem they will follow up and address it when it happens. Middle to bottom sales people ASSUME there will be a problem far more often than they ASSUME a sale.
Addressing Problems Head On
We sell used parts. We expect that problems will arise. Instead of wasting time trying to preclear every possible problem with a part and doing a million call backs and follow ups, trust your inventory descriptions when selling and trust your production staff to flag anything beyond the inventory description.
By not trying to preclear every problem, you now have the time to address the real problems that come your way instead of chasing shadows. The part you offered is either not questionable or not viable and you have time to come up with a plan to address this with your customer.
Elite sales people will either call, email or communicate back to their customer letting them know of issues on this order AND will have back up plans in place if this part is not acceptable. There really is nothing to worry about when giving your customer bad news SO LONG as you are prepared to solve and address those issues. Customers expect problems. Customers stay with sales people who see solutions through.
Follow Up and Relationship Building
There is a much stronger sense of partnership between elite sales people and their customers than your average salesperson. Almost as if they are co-workers which in many ways is true. The growth and success of one business is tied to the growth and success of the other.
Because of this reality, elite sales people likely know more about their customers personally than the average person. Not only warranty preference, but hobbies, interests, kids or big family events. They know what frustrates them or causes them the most grief so they can deal with those issues when it happens.
Elite sales people are so busy, how can they possibly sell and know their customers? It is true that over time as you earn an account, the sales process takes MUCH less time. It is less of a selling process and more of taking an order. But you get to that point by building the trust of delivering consistent service and at times, helping your customer enjoy their work and enjoy working with you in particular.
I know some elite sales people who make it a point to visit their customers annually, host events for their customers, send gift, food or thank you gift for their business. THEY ARE NOT PAID BY THEIR COMPANY TO DO THIS!!!! You know who pays them???? The customer pays their commission so why would they not invest in building these relationships?
Think of the tremendous amount of trust, goodwill and relationship capital that is built by elite sales people. There is a reason they come into a month KNOWING they are going to do big numbers, because when they are on their game they never stop investing in their customers and that allows them to grow anytime their customers grow.
If you find yourself as a middle of the road or average sales person, think about all the times a customer calls you consistently for a price and NEVER orders from you. This happens ALL THE TIME. You know why that customer calls you? Because they already have a sales person and they want you to give them a better price. Giving a price is not benefiting you beyond the immediate. Giving a price does not distinguish you as a sales person. Giving a price will NEVER grow you into an elite salesperson.
Everyone starts somewhere. I’ve worked with sales people that will never amount to more than 50K a month sales person despite loads of parts and pricing knowledge and experience. I’ve worked with sales people that touched 200K in a month within 1 year. The difference is a diligence to work hard to provide great service for their customer.
Call them back. Send an email. Notify the customer of a delay. Let them know there was a problem and you fixed it. Follow up to make sure their needs were met. Discuss how you can help them make more money.
None of these things are rocket science, but none of these service elements are common either. Make your money where others fail. Step up and pursue your customers. Step up and deliver on what you say you will do.
Robert Counts Chad Counts Rich Tyler Emily Richardson Johnny Logel
Robert Counts, firstname.lastname@example.org; 512-693-6915
Chad Counts, email@example.com; 512-963-4626