The business of selling is experiencing some tough times. Customers are ordering less, cutting their number of suppliers and reducing budgets. Many companies have restructured, resulting in fewer staff with a larger work load.
Businesses are feeling the pain of the longer lead time in closing a sale. With customers becoming more averse to risk, buying decisions are closely scrutinised. Even when a buyer wants to talk business negotiations are often focused on price. To make matters worse, this new situation has made the marketplace even more competitive as sales people battle for their piece of business.
While the marketplace becomes increasingly competitive, there is more emphasis on managing sales operations and sales personnel than ever before. With the current economic downturn, it means that sales professionals are under increased pressure to reach mounting targets as well as getting the edge on competition.
The key priority of companies over the coming 12 months will be to survive by achieving these sales goals.
Unfortunately, most salespeople do not spend enough time working on improving their sales skills and techniques. Sales training and development is not something that the majority of salespeople would choose to spend their valuable time on. Perhaps lack of training was ignored in the times of the Celtic Tiger when closing a sale may have been easier.
Sales success will go to salespeople who really understand the reasons behind why people choose certain products or services and in turn, can assist people in making the right buying decisions.
Only the most experienced and driven sales managers will survive the tough challenges ahead. It is essential that individuals can achieve results but also, and most importantly, they must know how to get the best from their sales team. Sales staff need to be well managed, coached and encouraged to meet their targets and increase their performance. Without training, sales teams lack the support they require to achieve their potential.
Salespeople need to get on the telephone to generate appointments. The telephone is a powertool in sales. It is one of the most widely used tools for increasing business when handled effectively. It generates a large amount of activity (activity drives sales ), and it also provides immediate feedback for sales planning.
Time for telephone sales needs to be block booked into each sales person’s diary each week. The most important thing here is to be mindful of who it is you are speaking to and what their specific needs are. Be prepared and have answers for objections you may face. And remember, persistence is the key to success in making sales calls…. Start planning it in to your work week!
Orla Conneely is a Chartered member of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, is an accredited business coach and is a member of the Sales Institute of Ireland. Orla has recently spoken on sales training (Money Talks… Speak Wisely ) at the Financial Skillnet Conference alongside renowned economist David McWilliams. For more information on Orla and Salestrainer.ie call 091 384529 or log onto the company website www.salestrainer.ie