1. Be an Accountability Buddy for your Sales Reps – I use Drop Box to keep my client files organized. I know what they have ordered in the past, what I have proposed or priced before and where things are. This allows me to quickly and easily make sales. My sales reps must be responsible for keeping their client information organized as well. What they do affects me so I must hold them accountable.
2. Don’t let Them Interact with the Factories – I don’t call factories, other than to negotiate better pricing. I don’t collect past due accounts and I don’t deal with proofs/tracking/etc. I assign these tasks to others so I can focus on what I do best. I recommend my sales reps do the same. One of the most important parts of the business is to meet with clients and prospects, network, volunteer, and socialize in circles that can connect you to business and sales opportunities. My sales reps know this and do likewise.
3. Use Technology to AUTOMATE Best Sales Practices – I created a weekly calendar which breaks down what I am doing every single day, into hourly chunks. It also ties directly into my goals. I set goals and review them constantly. This helps me focus and get back on track when needed. At any given time, I know what I should be doing from a sales activity standpoint and who my targets are. I expect my sales reps to do something similar with a system that works for them. By taking these steps, everyone keeps track of their progress and stays focused and motivated.
4. Organize & Plan Out Their Schedules with Them – Using the technology outlined in the point above, I help my sales reps break down their days into time blocks. With time blocks mapped out on their schedule, they are able to more easily stay on task and avoid getting bogged down by mundane tasks, such as constantly checking their email. I encourage them to automate whatever they can in their schedule.
5. Encourage Them to Use LinkedIn to Ask for Referrals – I connect with my top clients and contacts on LinkedIn and then I ask them for referrals to their networks. I share what’s going on with my business and life to make it about more than just asking for business. I also share my goals online so my network can help me achieve them. Check out my LinkedIn page and you will see what I am talking about. I encourage my sales reps to reach out to their contacts on LinkedIn to build their clientele and their visibility within the industry. As we all know, word of mouth marketing can be a powerful force.
6. Motivate your Sales Reps with Regular Sales Contests – in a business way! I generally have a sales contest with my reps about once per quarter to keep them challenged and motivated. Some previous Sales Contest ideas have included… New Business, Sales Volume, Specific Supplier and Profitability Level. Although the contests may be different, they all have one thing in common. They are all gross profit driven, since that is the bottom line in any business.
7. Take Them to your Client Meetings & Go To Theirs – When I meet with a client or a prospect, I will circle back to thank them (and summarize meeting notes) within 2 hours of the meeting or at least the same day. At tradeshows I summarize my leads the minute the show is over and send follow ups, often times while the show is still going on for my clients. By bringing my sales reps to my client meetings and tradeshows, I reiterate the importance of following up with the client by my actions not just by my words. At their meetings, I get a chance to see them putting their knowledge into action.
8. Use eCommerce and Technology to Grow Their Sales Pipeline (and Yours) – At the click of a button, any one of my clients and prospects can order a free sample from my website. Within 3 minutes I can place an order for my client online and close the sale. I automate the thank you and follow up process (where appropriate) by using technologies like HubSpot. Technology is very important these days, as buyers are getting younger and have grown up on the internet. My sales reps utilize these same technologies to assist their clients with online purchases.
9. Help Them Build Long-Term, Meaningful Relationships – I have clients who have worked with me for 15+ years. Not just a few clients, but hundreds of them. I am focused on building the relationship with them because with that comes the sale. I don’t even ask for the sale. I share my personal relationship-building examples with my sales reps to illustrate how crucial this best practice really is. For example, taking my clients to lunch is a tradition. They get to choose the restaurant, so it’s something for them to look forward to. It’s also a chance to connect and learn about one another.
10. Focus on Scalable Sales Opportunities – I teach my sales reps to think about growing clients they can eventually offer a company store to. Or repeat orders that they know will come back over and over because they are in the supply chain. The more the client grows, so too do their sales, but only if they have managed the relationship properly as outline above.
If I can be a resource for any of this, or if you’d like to schedule a call to learn more about me and the benefits of The Swag Coach™ Program in more detail, I am always available at firstname.lastname@example.org