I was recently doing some sales coaching with a business owner and he lamented that the sales manager allowed the sales team to spend a lot of time chit chatting with one another around the office and going out to lunch together.
This brought back memories when I was a rookie sales representative and a member of a large sales team. Many of us would routinely gather at the office, our seasoned sales manager would come storming in and proclaim, “There are no customers here get out and make some sales calls!”
He followed that up with, “The customers are out in the street where ‘real’ sales people meet face to face with real customers about real business opportunities.”
Needless to say, we evacuated the office and attacked our respective territories with gusto. Off course, without pre-planning the calls or mapping out our time and territory management, and simply blasting out on the streets was not very effective.
Filling a weekly calendar with meaningful appointments with the right decisions makers is hard work. Decision makers aren’t sitting around wondering when a sales person will approach them with some earth shattering product or services. It is absolutely staggering how many sales representatives do busy work at their desk, wait for the phone to ring, or an email to magically pop up. They almost do everything but focus on making more face to face meetings.
Unless sales people are exclusively doing telemarketing or order taking (not true sales professionals) statistics demonstrate the more time spent in front of real live customers the more lasting business relationships; as well as higher the close ratios.
The conversations that lead to bigger deals and provide insight into customer requirements are mostly done in person. You can’t ask for the order unless you have done enough work to get a meaningful face to face meeting and earned the right to ask for an order.
One reason for sales people not get out in front of the customers is the organization and office culture promotes and accepts this unproductive behavior. Having specific expectations by the sales manager for the number and quality of weekly customer face to face meetings will get results.
Average sales people simply spend more time in the office and less in front of customers, than more successful sales professionals. Go to where the customers are and meet them in their environment!
Copyright © 2014 Dave Neal
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