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Top 5 Tips for Sales Re-keying Your Sales Strategy

12 Feb, 2004 By: Alicia Ellis imageSource

Top 5 Tips for Sales Re-keying Your Sales Strategy

“sales” may logically seem to be the primary source of income in our
industry, we all know that the sales department is the hardest department to
make profitable…and it is getting harder.

Chances are
you are not using your sales department to your greatest advantage in
today’s changing market. Many of the techniques that worked in the “good
old days” are no longer making the grade. Remember, change is inevitable but
transformation is optional. The market is changing and will continue to do so.
Below, we’re counting down the top five tips for the sales department. Is
your business going to transform or be left behind. 

Traditionally, it takes at least a year to make a salesperson
profitable. Let’s take for example a new salesperson hired at a base salary
of $36,000 per year. If a profitable company is making five percent net profit
to gross sales, your salesperson would have to sell $720,000 in gross sales
just to cover his wages. But, what are your real expenses? First, there is the
interview process of finding and hiring the right person. Then they must be
taught the business: cold calling, what you sell, your company policies, the
competition, time management, how to demo, overcoming objections, record
keeping, pricing, etc. Most sales managers have been thought this exercise
time after time only to find out six months later that the new hire is not
making his draw or they are just unskilled for the job. All of this takes a
tremendous amount of time, money and energy away from the trainer and your

What is the
answer? How can we make them profitable in their first week? Put them on the
phone with a sales lead script and feed the senior sales staff with leads.
This technique, in a round about way, builds good hard working skills and
feeds the sales team. And, the new salespeople become profitable while
learning the business.

The days of cold calling are over. It is too expensive and sales managers
have too little control over where salespeople are and what they are doing
while they are on the clock. The world has changed and potential customers do
not appreciate the interruption of unannounced salespeople. Instead, institute
a solid telephone sales lead program in your business and not only will new
salespeople benefit but so will the entire sales force and your whole company.

Using this
method, I know of one company with 24 salespeople that generated 1,067 hot
leads in their first month. That was calling one day per week. They also
discovered 1,291 deals that were sold in the last six months by competitors
because they were just not aware of where the deals were taking place.

correctly, you can identify where most of your competitors are in the process
of making sales. Just count up the number of competitors that you have and
multiply that by the average number of salespeople they have, then assume
there is a 60 day selling cycle. That should give you a rough idea of the
number of deals that your competitive salespeople are heating up for your
sales staff.

concept of territories was set up by manufacturers who wanted maximum exposure
for their product lines, lots of ground covered, and lots of salespeople
pounding the pavement…all on your payroll. The unfortunate scenario of set
territories is that a salesperson that is not qualified to give a segment 3 or
4 demo gets the lead just because it’s in their territory. Far too often,
they blow the deal due to lack of experience or lack of closing skills and you
loose not only that deal but probably any hope of doing business with that
customer ever again.

give the most experienced and skilled salespeople the high segment or multiple
placement sales leads. Unfair to the newer sales staff? No, you can partially
offset this by giving the newer people more of the lower segment deals. This
is also a great tool to improve your sales force. It motivates the newer
salespeople to get qualified on bigger machines. Those who are not motivated
can go to work for your competitor and continue to blow deals they are not
qualified to handle.

Sure, you
want to sell new machines, but what about the customer who just cannot afford
something new? Statistically, fifty percent of your account base is over three
to four years old and needs to be upgraded. I know many dealerships think they
are doing a great job at upgrading but, stop for a moment and perform a simple
diagnostic test on your upgrade effectiveness. Just ask your dispatcher or
service manager what percentage of your company’s accounts are over three to
four years old? Better yet, ask your technicians how much “junk” is out
there in the field? Chances are they will tell you that there is a lot...even
up to or over fifty percent. You may not be doing as good a job as you thought
you were.

So, if your
sales force has not been able to upgrade the customer, or if the combined
efforts of service and sales have not convinced the customer to do an overhaul
(See last month’s article on Service Tips), what can your salesperson offer
this account to prevent them from being lost and going to your competition?

salespeople should have a list of used equipment for sale with them on every
deal. The list should cover the condition, options, meter readings and a
minimum selling price. Right then and there, if a new machine is not an option
for this customer, your salesperson can drop back to offering a used copier
without having to research what is available and in what condition the
equipment is in. This can be a major closing tool but, for this to work
effectively, there must be someone on the inside assigned to keep up with the
paperwork on a daily basis. The following is a suggested form format to be
updated and provided to each salesperson on a daily basis.

if you could bring the closing ratios of all of your salespeople to that of your
very best closer? You probably never even thought about it as you probably think
it is not possible. But, if the techniques existed, what would that do for your
sales at the end of the month? Double them? Triple them? It is possible and is
not hard to do. The chart below shows a theoretical example of possible
recoverable sales.

First, understand that
closers are a rare breed, hard to find, and expensive if they are really good.
Second, realize that far too many sales are lost due to the lack of closing
skills. So what can be done about this? Find your best closer and fire him or
her. Then, offer that person a promotion to the position of “Closer.” The
rules are simple: they must accompany the salesperson on every call to go in for
the close. With the right pay program and the right tools, this can be a reality
in just weeks. Now go back and look at that closer chart again and think about

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