What if you could double the size of your sales team with no additional payroll or benefits? Does it sound too good to be true?
You can double your sales organization if you’re willing to create a shift in mindset and culture at your company.
If you walk into any organization and ask a member of the team what department they work in, the reply will be accounting, customer service, marketing, warehouse, etc.
What would happen if everyone in your organization gave the same answer? — “I work in sales and service.” After all, isn’t selling and servicing the essence of why a company exists?
If you don’t sell, you have nothing to bill, ship or service. If you don’t service the client, you soon have nothing to sell or ship.
So how do you create one big sales department at your company? Start with basic education and communication.
Help members of your organization recognize selling opportunities that are right under their noses every day. Here are three areas on which to focus education and communication:
Get clear about your best client
- This is always an interesting discussion, because most companies build their target lists around SIC codes, size of company, revenue, number of employees and/or geography.
When you really dig into who your best customer is, descriptions such as, "They treat us like a partner, they value what we do, they collaborate, they pay their bills" appear.
It's important to educate members of your company to recognize both the tangibles and intangibles so they can listen and look for opportunities.
For example, if one of your employees reads about a company that's philanthropic, there might be a good match on values and culture.
If an employee is at a party and hears their new acquaintance discuss expansion of their firm into another part of the country, it would be good to report that to headquarters.
What’s your company’s value proposition?
— Your employees probably belong to associations, churches and school groups. So when they’re asked where they work, it’s a prime selling opportunity.
They could reply with the dud answer, "I work at XYZ company. We do this."
Or, you can teach some sales skills and change the response: "I work at XYZ company. We help our clients’ customers decrease frustration with technology that doesn’t work. Or, we help our clients figure out which new products to roll out and which ones to shelve."
The first response creates a dead end; the second one creates a sales conversation.
If you think your employees can't give the second response, we say, if they learned the Pledge of Allegiance in grade school, surely they can learn a one-line value proposition.
A sales-training colleague teaches her entire office to say, "We help salespeople quit talking." It makes the prospect laugh and opens up a conversation about how her firm accomplishes that feat.
Service after the sale
— All good sales organizations know it's much less expensive to keep a client than acquire a new one.
There's an old saying that two heads are better than one. How about getting 15 heads together and ask them how to exceed customer expectations?
For example, the accounting department could sign a card thanking your best clients for paying on-time.
What about having your warehouse team send a picture of themselves thanking your good customers for the opportunity to serve them every day?
At your next department meeting, set aside time for brainstorming on ways to wow your customers. Don't re-invent the wheel. Study some of the companies that do it well.
Zappos is the new darling of the business world. Everyone who works at Zappos knows they're in the customer-service business, not the shoe business. Everyone's goal at Zappos is to wow the client.
Many of you probably have experienced this wow factor by receiving your first order overnight — at no extra charge.
We're pretty sure that not all of their innovative ideas are being created just in the executive suite or the marketing department. Everyone is in charge of customer happiness at Zappos. Everyone can be in charge of sales and service at your company.
Sales and service isn't a department. Harness the power of many and get everyone in your company involved in selling and servicing your clients. Double your sales force without any additional payroll.
How's that for a competitive edge in 2011?
About the Author
Colleen Stanley is founder and president of SalesLeadership Inc., a sales development firm specializing in sales and sales management training. The company provides programs in prospecting, consultative sales training, emotional intelligence training. and leadership training for sales managers. She is the author of Growing Great Sales Teams and Emotional Intelligence For Sales Success. Reach Colleen at 303-708-1128 or visit www.salesleadershipdevelopment.com.
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