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Contact Center Superstar – Top 3 Tips for Closing More Sales

A top sales person who implemented these tips

One of the questions we often hear from our contact center clients is “How can we get our agents to close more sales?” Whether you are measuring revenue per call, revenue per hour, or total revenue, the objective of increasing these metrics is often the focus of contact center managers and leaders. Unfortunately, many contact center managers simply tell their agents they need to improve the metric without providing any behaviorally focused ideas. Contact Centers’ most successful sales people use special strategies for closing sales. Top sellers are bold, confident and consistently establish TRUST with customers.

In today’s post, we provide the Top 3 Tips to Close More Sales.

The Tips

No. 1: Treat closing like orange-juice concentrate – don’t water it down.

Do you make a habit of telling customers about every discount they can possibly receive in your initial pitch for a product?

Example: “Guess what, you qualify for a free, <your product here>. And you can get free shipping and free technical support, plus free this or that. Would you like to sign up for <your product here> today?”

If that sounds like something you‘d say to a customer, then you could benefit from an approach that top sellers use. First, they don’t “dilute” the closing pitch by presenting all of the discounts that customers might receive right off the bat. Rather, they position the product and then listen to customers’ objections. In response to those objections, top sellers bring up the appropriate special offers and discounts one-by-one. This approach gives you something else to close with if the customer objects. And it makes customers feel like they are getting the best possible deal…not just a “standard’ offer that anyone can get. See the example of an “undiluted” closing below.

Example: “Great, based upon what you’ve told me, it sounds like you need <add personalized benefit> and I recommend you add <your product here> for just $___. (Pause) This would allow you to attain <add second personalized benefit>. How does that sound?”

If the customer objects for financial reasons, then you can fall back on explaining the cost saving benefits of your product such as free shipping or free technical support. The key is not to bombard customers with ALL the pricing and discount information at once.

 

 No. 2: Listen carefully to build TRUST.

After you ask for a sale, let the customer respond.  If the customer needs a moment to think, let them. Don’t interrupt their train of thought. As the customer is expressing their thoughts and concerns, listen very carefully. Careful listening will not only put you in the best position to overcome the customer’s objections, it maintains the trust you built throughout the contact. Customers buy from people they trust.

 No. 3: Classify objections by clarifying and then respond.

When a customer objects to a closing question, the agent must be able to identify the type of objection to fully understand the “WHY” behind the customer’s objection. All objections may be broken down into one of three categories:

  1. Misunderstanding – In these objections, the customer doesn’t understand the solution the agent is recommending. Often, this is caused by the agent leaving out details of the proposed solution or providing too much information for the customer to process.
  2. Doubt – When the customer lacks trust in the agent or doesn’t believe the product or service will meet their needs, the customer creates objections based upon doubt.
  3. Drawback – These are the most difficult objections to overcome. Drawback objections are based upon real or perceived fact in the customer’s mind. In these cases, the customer believes their current solution is more valuable than the one presented by the agent.

In order to overcome objections successfully, agents must classify them and then use the appropriate technique to overcome the objection. Here are the appropriate techniques for each type of objection:

  1. Misunderstanding – Clarify the information by focusing on the personalized benefits for the customer. Whether the customer has received too little or too much information, the focus on the personalized benefits of the solution will allow the customer to fully understand why they should agree to the solution.
  2. Doubt – Proof is required to overcome doubt objections. The most effective proof is third-party proof. When a customer lacks trust or belief in the solution or agent, providing third-party evidence to support the recommended solution will often sway the customer to accept the agent and the solution.
  3. Drawback – When the customer believes an alternative solution provides more value than the solution recommended, the agent is faced with a challenging value proposition. The agent must outweigh the alternative solution by identifying more value with their proposed solution. Drawback objections will not be successful navigated until the scale of value tips towards the proposed solution.

 

While there are certainly many more behaviorally focused ideas to help your contact center achieve more sales, these three tips have proven successful when appropriate implemented. If you have other ideas which have successfully increased your teams’ revenue, then please share them by commenting or send me an e-mail at dave.gregory@inspiredperformancesolutions.com.

Understanding Call Center Productivity: Part 3 of 3

Productive time is time that is focused directly on generating income. So what percentage of the time are you productive?

When you consider your role and what you are paid to do, how much productive time do you really invest in income generation?

Productive time does not simply magically happen; you have to be focused and disciplined and consciously create it! How much of your week last week was spent on maintenance or looking busy or administrative work rather than on generating profitable income?

As a call center leader or agent, you are a business owner, you are the individual charged with the responsibility for generating sales revenue, the most productive thing that you can do at any one time is: Increase the profitable sales revenue generation of the sales team. Even if you are in a support role in a call center, your most productive time is helping those agents actually generate revenue.

You may well be a critical component of the team, but as a business leader (that’s you Mr. or Mrs. Agent) the most productive thing that you should be doing with your time is to “Increase the Profitable Sales Revenue Generation of the YOUR business.” So let’s discuss you and the number of truly productive hours you put into a day. Do you have an hour of productive time a day? 2 hours? What’s your most conservative estimate at this point? Unless you have really focused on maximizing your productive time before, my best guess would be that you currently work no more than 2 hours of productive time a day. Remember, we are talking about time invested to Increase the Profitable Sales Revenue Generation of YOUR Business only!

So we are not talking here about writing a report that your boss needs for his executive meeting, nor are we talking about reading e-mail, observing another agent, attending training, meeting with other team members, surfing the web, planning a contest, chatting with a friend, handling customer complaints, or anything else which is not 100% focused on increasing the “Profitable Sales Revenue Generation of the YOUR business.”

So as an exercise let’s review all that you do through this window of MOST PRODUCTIVE THING time.

Consider your activities from the last 3 days. Looking at all the time you spent working, how much real time was invested in doing the MOST PRODUCTIVE THING…Increasing the Profitable Sales Revenue Generation of the YOUR business?

You need to be really self-critical in your estimate. Imagine that someone was there with you questioning every little detail. Imagine that someone was scrutinizing everything that you did, through the window of MOST PRODUCTIVE THING! Imagine that whatever you presented, we peeled it back, dug down deep asking you the tough and searching questions, all with a view to checking what you did against the productive measure of “Increasing the Profitable Sales Revenue Generation of YOUR Business.”

So be tough on yourself. Stop what you are doing right now and do this exercise. Let’s see how many truly productive hours you have worked in the last 3 days!

Remember, we are not suggesting all the other things that you had on your plate are not important and should not be done. That’s not what we are looking at here. We are simply looking at your last 3 days of work, as an average, and the amount of time you actually invest in doing the Most Productive thing possible!

By the way, the small number of productive hours that you have come up with is more than likely very indicative of the way you operate most of the time. So, if you have been super critical about where you currently invest your time, you have more than likely concluded that your productive time score is far too low. Looking at that number, is it any wonder that you are behind on your financial goals, when most of your time is spent working on things other than Increasing the Profitable Sales Revenue Generation of YOUR Business?

If your current “Main Thing” score is anything like the average, then you are most likely thinking to yourself, well that’s all very well, but with everything I have to do in a day, just how am I possibly expected to work on my “Main Thing?” There are only so many hours in a day and how am I supposed to get it all done? I am time poor as it is.

The answer lies in Self leadership. Self Leadership can be viewed as the ability to lead yourself by clearly defining what you want from life. Your vision of what success looks like for you and how you intend to get it. This means that for you to accomplish your goals you must mobilize all the resources that you have at your disposal. Your resources include your time, people, budget, talents etc. All of your resources must be put to use PRODUCTIVELY to ensure your best chance of successfully achieving your vision. This is all about maximizing your own output!

Recognizing that for the majority of us, it is very difficult to go from “Saul to Paul” overnight, how do you suddenly change your work life to reflect the call to do the most productive thing? How do you abruptly go from averaging 1 or 2 hours of “main thing- productive time” to 3 or 4 or 5 when you consider all you currently have on your plate?

It’s all very easy to say that you need to invest your time keeping “the main thing the main thing”, but how does one actually move from where one is right now to where it is that you want to be?

How do you move your business from where you are right now to where you want to be?

How do you move your current income state to earning the kind of income you really want?

How do you move your career from where it is now to where you want it to be?

It all starts with Self Leadership. Self Leadership requires you to know what motivates you to create your MOST PRODUCTIVE time. Our Values are those things which motivate us to create behaviors. Jay Niblick, author of What’s Your Genius?, has developed a diagnostic tool to help us determine our motivational values. As an example, here is a snapshot of my Values:

Values Index

The seven motivational values are:

  1. Aesthetic
  2. Economic
  3. Individualistic
  4. Political
  5. Altruist
  6. Regulatory
  7. Theoretical

Each of us are motivated uniquely by these Values. Do you know your motivational values? In order to take the next step in self leadership, you must understand yourself first. Use the link below and receive a FREE ADVanced Insights Profile which will allow you to understand your natural talents, how you are motivated to use them, and how you prefer to use them.

http://rac.innermetrix.com/vo/req.php?id=cd11fcc1

For more information about doing the MOST PRODUCTIVE thing, contact me at Dave.Gregory@inspiredperformancesolutions.com.

Understanding Call Center Productivity: Part 1 of 3

Image

What's the MOST productive thing?

One of the most important things you can do when learning how to manage a call center is to learn how to have high productivity. Let us begin by saying that this article is not a time management lesson. This is a lesson focused on self leadership, your own individual productivity, weather you are a call center manager, agent, or support person. YOUR productivity is a vital component to driving sales revenue production.

Tom Hopkins of ‘How to master the art of selling” fame, would often quote the affirmation; Hopkins “I MUST DO THE MOST PRODUCTIVE THING POSSIBLE AT EVERY GIVEN MOMENT!″ Meaning, if you want to start multiplying your business, then you must always do what you think is the most productive thing possible at every given moment.

When you look at this simple concept quote, “I MUST DO THE MOST PRODUCTIVE THING POSSIBLE AT EVERY GIVEN MOMENT!” it seems pretty obvious, right? Wrong!

The devil is always in the details and in this instance the detail is in the 2 key words MOST PRODUCTIVE.

What does “most productive” really mean?        

In a call center environment, this is perhaps the most important lesson for agents to grasp. Every second counts toward productivity. You already monitor and measure availability, after call work time, ready time, talk time, closed time, just to name a few. If you’re a call center leader, then how do you communicate the importance of these metrics to your agents? If you are an agent, then how do you interpret the importance of these metrics? If you use the metrics just for performance management or you view the metrics as just another way to “get fired”, then you have missed the purpose of these metrics, completely. 

In our experience working and coaching call center business leaders, we believe that the majority of them don’t really communicate the tremendous value these metrics provide their agents. In turn, the agents fail to use these metrics as tools to help them monitor their own behaviors and improve their inefficiencies. Essentially, each agent is operating their own small business. Agents must monitor their activity as any business owner should steward their resources.

One of the critical things that a call center leader or business owner must understand and practice daily is that, if you want to start multiplying your business you must always do what you think is the most productive thing possible at every given moment. This truly is the difference between being really successful and failure. As a business leader (this includes agents), you must be able to very clearly define what the MOST PRODUCTIVE thing is for you in your business.

In our view, based on hundreds of interactions with both call center leaders and agents alike over the years, most haven’t in reality given too much thought as to what really is the MOST PRODUCTIVE thing. For those few who have, knowing what the most productive thing is and doing the most productive thing is two very different notions.

By the way, we have no doubt that your days are full. We have no doubt that you have a lot of things on your plate that need attention every day. We have no doubt that many of you are over loaded and struggle to manage your workloads. Stay with us here because this module will be a terrific help. It will make all the difference to how your next 90 days turns out. These principles will have a massive impact on how your year will conclude.

More to come tomorrow… 

 

Seven Steps to Success

Seven Steps to Success

 1.    Self-esteem

  • Empowerment, it’s up to you
  • Complete tasks everyday

2.    Set demanding goals

  • Dare to be great
  • Dreams/Goals

3.    Attitude

  • Be careful what you ask for
  • Be in the present

4.    Establish good habits

  • Accept Accountability, NO Excuses
  • Pressure, it is self induced be prepared
  • Stress, believe in yourself

5.    Persistence

  • Just do it longer (work smarter)
  • Successful people do it more (fail, that is)
  • Poor,Hungary, Driven (PHD)

6.    Adversity

  • Life is a series of problems
  • Accept responsibility for you actions
  • Luck is created, preparation meets opportunity

7.    Dealing with success

  • It doesn’t stop when you get there
  • It is a journey without an end

“Successful Coach” – A Call Center Manager Certification Program

Greetings!

As a call center manager, you are faced with many challenges, which could cost your business thousands, even millions, of dollars. Most call center managers are promoted from the agent talent pool. Little, if any, manager training is provided to these newly appointed call center managers. Was this the case for you? Do you know someone who experienced this type of promotion? Would you like to improve your coaching effectiveness? Do you need to reduce your attrition, improve your employee engagement, increase your customer satisfaction, or drive revenue results more effectively? If any of these apply to you, then you need to attend “Successful Coach” – a call center manager certification program.

What would be the impact to your company’s bottom line if you reduce attrition by 30%, improved employee engagement by 25%, increased your customer satisfaction scores by 20%, and increased revenue by 15% in just the first three months following your completion of the certification program for “Successful Coach?” Would these results add $50,000 to your company’s coffers? How about $75,000 or $100,000 in improved results? How would those returns impact your paycheck? Does this sound too good to be true? How about a guarantee you will improve results! That’s right, if you don’t improve your results within three months of receiving your “Successful Coach” certification, then we will refund your tuition.

“Successful Coach” call center manager certification isn’t for everyone. This very intensive five-day curriculum requires participants to examine their coaching or manager motives, challenge their current processes, actively participate in the curriculum including completing pre-work assignments, homework assignments, coaching sessions, and complete a business case presentation. Still interested?

This call center manager certification program will be offered in Fort Lauderdale, FLfrom January 16 to 20, 2012, and Orlando, FLfrom January 30 to February 3, 2012. Classes will start promptly at 8 am and adjourn by 5 pm (Monday through Friday.)  The class is limited to 15 participants. Participants will be registered as soon as payment is received. The tuition investment is $3,750 OR SAVE 20% (Tuition investment $2,999) with the Early Bird registration by December 31, 2011. In addition, you may be able to deduct the tuition expense in 2011. Please check with your tax advisor for the appropriate deduction process. To register for the class, e-mail:

Dave.Gregory@inspiredperformancesolutions.com

with your preferred dates and location and you will receive a Paypal invoice for the course tuition.

Here’s a summary of the curriculum:

“Successful Coach” – ACallCenterManager Certification Program
 Prerequisites

Attendees should possess a basic understanding of what a call center is, how calls flow into a center, and basic call center terminology. Course materials are in English, and attendees must possess a high level of English fluency.

CURRICULUM
Pre-Work
·         Complete ADVanced Insights Profile (link will be sent following registration)
·         CompleteCallCenterManager Survey (link will be sent following registration)

Day 1

Chapter 1 – Introduction and Pre-work Review

  • Introductions and overview of Successful Coach
  • Review Advanced Insights Profile (AIP)
  • ReviewCallCenterManager Survey (CCMS)
  • Perform a current assessment of your call center
  • Define a call center vision statement
  • Establishing brand attributes
  • Identify and document near-term strategies for your call center

Chapter 2 – Metrics and Key Performance Indicators

  • Assess your current use of Key Performance Indicators
  • Understand the importance difference between metrics and Key Performance Indicators
  • How to classify metrics for a performance management scorecard
  • Understand each of the top call center metrics and performance indicators
    • A definition of the measure
    • Useful scorecard classifications
    • How to calculate the measure
    • How to use the metric or KPI in managing the call center
    • The relationships between key metrics
    • Establishing call center metric target values
    • Evaluating results
  • How to use metrics and KPIs to achieve call center success
    • Verify selected KPI’s are valid performance measures for your call center
    • Align key metrics with customer expectations and satisfaction
    • Create your KPI Scorecard

Day 2

Chapter 3 – Managing versus Leading

  • The role of Managing versus Leading
  • Motivation – Understanding Why Agents are Motivated and Using Values to Drive Results
  • Wearing Many Hats
  • Changing Roles from Peer to Manager

Chapter 4 – Creating Two-Way Communications

  • Describe the components necessary to clearly communicate
  • Use the two-way communication process with employees, peers, and leaders
  • Practice two-way communication
  • Formal Channels and Vehicles
  • Active listening – verbal and non-verbal
  • Questioning Techniques – open-ended v. closed-ended
  • Listening practice
  • Fine-tuning your communication skills

Chapter 5 – Feedback Process

  • Defining Feedback
  • Understanding the feedback process
  • Providing effective feedback
  • Applying the feedback process

Day 3

Chapter 6 – Coaching for Improved Performance

  • Fundamentals of coaching
  • Metrics v. Behaviors
  • How to define and prepare for a coaching session
  • Conducting the coaching session
  • Post-coaching follow-up action planning
  • Documentation
  • Performance management
  • Conducting the performance management meeting
Chapter 7 – Conflict Management
·         Understand nature of conflict and its types
·         Develop appreciation for how perspective colors conflict management
·         Identify your conflict style
·         Create tools to manage yourself in conflict
·         Using structured problem solving to resolve conflict

Day 4

Chapter 8 – Understanding Change
·         Understand the nature of change
·         Become familiar with William Bridges’ “Transition During Change” model
·         Identify and manage the four stages of transitioning during change
·         Learn and practice techniques to overcome resistance to change
·         Applying the principles and practice

Chapter 9 – The Quality Monitoring Process

  • Establish the quality requirements for your call center
  • Designing a quality monitoring form
  • Establishing quality team responsibilities and parameters
  • Performance evaluation standards
  • Implementing a coaching and feedback loop for continuous improvement
  • The calibration process
Day 5

Chapter 10 – Performance Improvement Project Planning

  • Selecting and prioritizing performance improvement projects
  • Creating a business plan
  • Proposing plans to management for approval
  • Selecting, planning, and implementing your Goal Planning Sheet
MANDATORY ACTIVITY: CERTIFICATION EXAM
MANDATORY ACTIVITY: COACHING SESSION CERTIFICATION (Observations)
 The certification process consists of four parts:
  1. Pre-course preparatory assignments completed
  2. Class attendance
  3. Achieving a passing score on the certification exam
  4. Successful completion of coaching session observation

Class Attendance: Participants will complete a five-day instructor-led course, where they will participate in hands-on learning and group exercises under the observation of an Inspired Performance Solutions, Inc. Certified instructor. Upon successful completion of the course, the facilitator will provide the certification exam.

Registration Fees

The per student registration fee for this training and certification program is $3,750 (OR $2,999 with the 20% Early Bird Discount) and includes:

  • 5-day instructor-led training
  • All training materials
  • Course certificate of completion
  • Certification exam fees
  • Feedback following Coaching Session Certification
  • Refreshments each day

Class begins at 8:00 AM and ends at 5:00 PM each day. Business casual attire is appropriate. No jeans or sneakers please.

Any questions may be directed to Dave.Gregory@inspiredperformancesolutions.com or via phone at 402 707-4868.

Dave Gregory

Chief Learning Officer

Inspired Performance Solutions, Inc.

Cell 402 707-4868

www.inspiredperformancesolutions.com

How Well Do You Know Your Employees?

“The Good Manager…Knows Their Employees.”

Do you know the following information for each of your employees?

Full Name

Nickname

Age

Marital Status

Number of Children

Approximate Ages of Children

Length of Company Service

Special Interest

Hobbies

 Think about all your employees and answer by writing down the name of the person who fits the question asked.

Who is your oldest employee in point of age?

Who is your oldest employee in length of service?

Who is your most loyal employee?

Who can handle the largest number of different jobs?

Who is your highest skilled employee?

Who is best suited to train new employees?

Who has the best attitude?

Who has the best possibilities for promotion?

Who will make the best understudy?

Who is the best natured?

Who is the fastest worker?

Who is the most stable?

Who is the most dependable?

Who has the best attendance?

Who does the highest quality work?

Who has the fewest accidents?

Who is the most cooperative?

Who is the best liked?

Who is the most intelligent?

Who is the best all-around employee?

Have you created a folder with each employee’s information?

Customer Service Moment: Could Black Friday Ruin Your Business?

When customers walk into someone’s place of business to shop or buy something, what are they expecting?

Most people expect a courteous and helpful sales associate, to be served in a timely manner, to receive fair value, presentation of a quality product, to make the process quick and easy, and to be thanked whether you give them the business or not.

What do you get? Typically, you get a mechanical welcome, maybe someone says, “Can I help you?” Often it’s followed by telling you what they can’t do. They fail to understand that just because they’re out of an item doesn’t mean you don’t still want it or need it and will likely go to their competition to get it. All this, wrapped with a touch of rudeness.

Maybe this is a bit exaggerated. Many companies have multiple locations where the products are the same, but the service is not comparable from place to place. One may be fantastic, while another may be pathetic.

The inconsistency of people-performance will make or break a business.

Here is what will make you or anyone in a job they consider beneath them, or anyone who hates work, understand the formula for emerging into a better career:

1. Your self-esteem and self-image. How do you feel about yourself?

2. Your desire to serve. Do you believe in servant leadership?

3. Pride in your own success. Where does your motivation originate?

Companies spend millions, sometimes billions of dollars, on advertising, branding, merchandising, strategizing, and every other element of marketing that they believe will bring business success. But, if there are people involved, marketing means nothing if the people are not making a good first impression.

Try this exercise. Ask people, “How’s it going?” You’ll be surprised at the answers you receive. They may say “Just three hours to go.” Or “It’s Friday.” What kind of statement is that? What does that tell you about them as an employee, and the level of service attached to their attitude?

When you go to a hotel, a multi-million-dollar business rests on the shoulders of the front desk clerk. That’s the first impression you have. In a retail business, it’s no different. All the advertising gets you to come into the store. From there, it’s all about the retail clerk. Doctors and dentists now advertise. But it’s the person who answers the phone that gives a true reflection of what the doctor or dentist will be like.

What is your company like? Do you have people working there who hate their job? Do you have people with “attitude?” Here’s what you can do:

1. Work on your own attitude. You must think you will succeed before success is yours.

2. Set the example by being your best and doing your best.

3. Hang around with the winners, not the whiners.

The root word of “your” is YOU. Each employee has the responsibility of representing their company to their customers in a way that reflects the image and reputation needed to build or maintain a leadership position.

Anything less than “best” is not acceptable. But here’s the secret: Don’t do it for your company – do it for yourself. Develop the pride in doing your best at your job even if it’s not your career, or you use the word “just” when you describe it.

Real winners are few and far between. And making yourself one is a choice.

The first step is identifying your natural talents. The second step is using your natural talents to achieve your success. Use the link below to identify your natural talents:

http://rac.innermetrix.com/vo/req.php?id=cd11fcc1

Selling Skills – The #1 Reason WHY people fail to meet sales objectives

What’s the number one reason most sales people fail to meet sales objectives? Many sales people will blame unreasonable objectives. Sales managers and business owners usually claim lazy sales people, the economy, or some other excuse.

This question plagues many a thinking sales leader. Is it a question of fit (product or company)? Is it that some people are just not cut out for sales? Is it a question of skill, motivation or talent?

Could it just be laziness? Is it a certain type of personality? What is it that causes so many people to fail at selling or simply just miss their sales numbers month in and month out?

Well, let me ask you this…What would you think of a professional athlete who told his coach or manager that they had made a decision not to train anymore? No more practice. They have decided to cut out all advance preparation and learning, but they are still certain of their ability to perform like a superstar on the playing field.

No doubt you’d find the whole idea quite ludicrous wouldn’t you? Well why is it any less preposterous that your sales people choose to neglect their training and capability development?

Actually, not all sales people neglect their capability development. The professional sales person never stops the growth process. As the saying goes, “the more they know, the more they know they need to know.” Unfortunately, these individuals are increasingly rare. Most sales teams are made up of sales representatives.

As Steve Young wrote in a terrific article for http://www.eyesonsales.com, “Unlike other professions such as accounting, the profession of sales is not formalized; there is no required certification process, and therefore, no criteria defining the differences between the levels of proficiency existing among those in the profession. While these two groups—reps and pros—perform many of the same functions, the differences between them account for many of the problems business owners have in growing their businesses.”

The difference between a sales rep and a Sales Professional is similar to the difference between a varsity high school football player and a National Football League player or the difference in sound quality between a Sanyo system and a Bang & Olufsen system. It’s akin to the quality between a Mercedes versus a Kia. They both will get you to the destination, but which would you rather ride in, all things being equal?

So, a sales rep may present your products and services to prospective customers, identity, qualify, follow-up on sales opportunities, and they will occasionally walk into a sale. In direct contrast, the sales professional will tackle the exact same tasks with a completely different approach and mindset.

Sure the sales rep has the same or similar sales goals as the sales professional, but the sales professional implements the sequence of events with great distinction.

Let’s take the goal of asking questions as an example.

Now, both the sales rep and the sales pro will ask sales questions. The difference between the pro and the rep is in the types of questions the pro asks. The professional asks thoughtful questions and listens intently to the response. Then they follow up the response with a further question. They end up with a far different result.

On the other hand, the sales rep will ask a question (if they ask questions at all), or a series of questions that they “have been told to ask” with the express purpose of looking for a hook to hang their presentation upon. Their focus is typically on themselves and what they need to do, whereas the professional sales person’s focus is completely on the customer.

How does the sales professional know what questions to ask? Experience? Sure that’s one element. The big reason that the pro asks different and thoughtful questions is because just like any product quality program where there is an emphasis on constant and never ending improvement, the sales pro is constantly looking for ways to improve their output or results of their questions.

Try this exercise. Ask someone on your team whom you perceive as an average sales rep, what was the last sales book they read and when, or what was the last sales tactic they learned and from where, and you’ll very quickly see why their sales are so stunted. Ask the sales pro the same question and what you will find is a hunger for knowledge.

Take sales preparation as another example. The sales professional grooms themselves with a wide breadth and in-depth knowledge about the prospect and the sales opportunities the prospect represents prior to a call. What they don’t know, they hunger to find out. When it comes to pre-call preparation, the pro will invest quality time on researching the prospect and the company. This is not a chore to be done to keep the boss happy, but rather an essential key for them to ensure a successful outcome. The professional will often even attempt to anticipate issues the prospect may raise during the call that would impact the call’s outcome.

Contrast this with the sales rep who as often as not, will show up with maybe just a quick glance through the prospects website…maybe!

For the sales rep, selling is just a numbers game. A game they hope will eventually lead to something coming from all of their “hard work!”

Here’s another good exercise. Compare the preparation done by the sales rep you believe to be a professional, to your average sales reps.

The bottom line is this. In the majority of situations, where you have a sales rep involved in a competitive selling situation, they will lose to the competition’s sales professional who is better prepared.

Selling professionally requires a vast multitude of skills and knowledge. Knowledge of people, persuasion, influence, behavior, corporate politics, psychology, buying behavior, sales process and the list goes on. Those sales people who make it their business to, as Jim Rohn would say, “Work harder on themselves than they do on the job” will win the business.

If you have a sales rep who doesn’t know how to sell the real value of what you offer, then all they can sell is your price. They must lose out to the sales pro who knows how to convert cost into real value that the customer will be able to measure. To sell value you have to possess and refine your knowledge and skills to present that value in a highly compelling way.

Constant and never ending knowledge and skill improvement is how people become top performers. Most people employed in sales, however, rarely invest the time and effort to improve their capability and knowledge, and thus, remain ill equipped to succeed consistently. Hence most fail!

What are you doing today to ensure you are fielding a professional sales team tomorrow? Did you know you can measure the characteristics demonstrated by professional sales people? It’s true. An ADVanced Insights Profile will identify the characteristics of your sales team. You will be able to see WHAT natural talents your sales team possesses, WHY they are motivated to use them, and HOW they prefer to use their natural talents.

For FREE ADVanced Insights Profiles, use this link for your sales team:

http://rac.innermetrix.com/vo/req.php?id=36ddfa88

Or for more FREE information on creating a professional sales team, contact Inspired Performance Solutions, Inc. at:

information@inspiredperformancesolutions.com

Or visit us at:

http://www.inspiredperformancesolutions.com.

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