Ever had a dream where you were taking a test that you didn’t study for? All of a sudden all eyes are on you. You feel the pressure of not knowing the answers and you wake up in a cold sweat. This isn’t a pleasant feeling; luckily it ends as soon as you wake. But what if this wasn’t a dream?
The high-pressure nature of sales interactions can make this nightmare scenario a real life occurrence if a representative is ill-prepared. So why not do something about it?
Too often we think of critical knowledge as applicable only to our service departments, but your sales force craves knowledge as well.
Helping your sales team minimize time guessing what the best course of action is allows them to spend more time on what matters the most—perhaps more sales activity.
Where to Get Started
There is likely a shining star within your organization who not only interacts with key clients frequently, but also closes deals at high percentages. These vital players contain a wealth of knowledge that needs to be tapped and shared to help train and evolve the team.
By asking for their input, you further verify that they’re a valuable member in addition to identifying what makes them successful, which can in turn provide opportunity for replication.
In order to make the most of your sessions, identify what stages are part of the high performer’s sales process. Below you will find a few examples of stages and some suggestions for each.
Once you’ve identified stages, break them down into easy-to-follow processes for future reference.
Keep in mind also that best practices will evolve and it is key to update training information as it comes along.
Discover Best Practices
Connecting with Potential Clients
Prospecting for clients is difficult and can be uncomfortable, especially for newer team members.
To help them out, identify what your key players do to setup initial contact with potential clients. Include prospecting details such as what mediums they utilize (social media, email, etc.) as well as best practices for messaging and delivery for each. The more detailed the instruction, the better the chance of success.
Getting the initial meeting is only part of the battle. Being able to quickly convey the appropriate message to the audience is a science and an art.
Providing your team with essential materials like physical handouts and digital presentation files will ensure that their focus is on actively engaging their audience.
We would highly suggest creating a list detailing what and how many materials to bring, their purpose and where they can be found or accessed. That list should also lay out any special considerations (like dress code), exceptions, etc. that might alter your list.
Doing so can minimize guess work as your team prepares, allowing members to focus on their presentation and personal messaging.
With the meeting set and materials gathered, it’s time to focus on the presentation. As with other sections of training, relaying past experiences helps build future expertise. Include in-depth details about all sections of the meeting including:
How should the team address the room? Who should be addressed first? How do you introduce yourself, other team members, and the organization?
Product and/or Service Presentation
What are the most valuable touch-points? What order should they be in? Is the order situational? Are there any examples or stories that can be easily shared to help show value? How should the conversation progress?
With the initial presentation coming to a close, what are the next steps toward success? What questions should be asked? How do you propose follow up? What materials should be left behind?
Follow-up and Closing
Completing a presentation comes with a large sense of accomplishment, and at that point it’s easy to feel like the process is over. But that isn’t the case. Unless an agreement was reached at the meeting, follow-up is still required and this stage is equally as important as the others.
To best equip your team for follow-up efforts, note best practices such as time ranges in between the end of the meeting and first follow up contact. Be sure to include details and examples of prior successes such as mediums used (phone, email, etc.), general recipient suggestions, taglines, touch-points, and additional resources.
Congratulations! Your team followed your best practices and has landed a new client. At this point, there is generally a hand-off within the organization and with that can come some new struggles.
Your sales team worked hard to build rapport with the client. Building sales is great, but nurturing long-lasting relationships (repeat sales) requires fulfillment to be as painless as possible.
Maintaining that will in part depend on whether they provide the implementation team the resources they need for success (preferably prior to closing).
Some examples of what this might entail include:
- Client organization name
- Best contact person
- Contact information (phone, email, etc.)
- Products/services requested and quantity
- Fulfillment date
- Expiration date (if applicable)
- Special requests
Plan to Succeed with Sales
Preparation can be the difference between success and failure. By focusing on the best practices of your sales team you can help facilitate their success, the success of your support teams, and perhaps most importantly, your clients’ experience.
As a final note, no sales scenario will be the same. Your plan has to have a certain level of flexibility. However, if you can help your team minimize guesswork, you’ll lead them in the right direction.
Ready to document the steps to success? Get the conversation started here