Basics – You are a Salesperson and Sales Manager

Regardless of how long you have been selling, every salesperson needs to be reminded occasionally of what his responsibilities are in operating a sales territory.  You are a salesperson and a sales manager.  Even if you work alone, you are a sales manager in your territory – your own sales manager.

You are responsible for producing maximum revenues from the accounts located in your territory, those assigned to you, and those that may suddenly spring into existence.

You have the responsibility of holding current business, increasing business from old accounts, obtaining new accounts, serving your accounts, and selling your company as an organization.

“Serving your accounts,” not “servicing your accounts.”  Somehow the phrase “servicing an account” carries the flavor of routine checkups, phone calls, drop-in appearances rather than carefully planned “selling” calls.  Perhaps you should drop “servicing your accounts” from your vocabulary and replace the term with “selling my accounts by serving them”.

The need to assume the role of sales manager comes with the peculiarities of some businesses.  A door-to-door salesman of specialty products can use a canned sales talk, ring a lot of bells, and through sheer volume of calls, day in and day out, make a lot of sales.  There is a certain uniformity to your customers which permits routine calls, routine trips.  Many manufacturers traditionally bring out a new model each year;  a salesperson for one of these firms, then, sells the initial large orders, concentrates on his first big trip around the territory, and from that point on, follows a set schedule of “around the territory once each    month or six weeks” – and so it goes each year.

But some salespeople are confronted with little of this monotony and have few opportunities to make routine calls and routine trips.  No two accounts are exactly alike.  Their budget years differ, affecting sales call timing;  their products vary, calling for an entirely different sales approach;  at some firms, the manager can give you the order, at others he can’t give you the order, but can keep you from getting it.  Each is a separate sales problem to which you must apply your time, your ingenuity, your salesperson and sales-manager brains in order to get that precious business in your book.

Your own managers and home-office staff are eager to help you with major problems by being available for counsel and calls.  Talk to your managers frequently; keep them informed about accounts; draw on their experiences and judgment and contacts.  Yet, for every special assist they may be able to give you, you must be able to settle many more sales obstacles on the spot.  The salesperson – sales manager on the ground in the territory must be versatile enough to analyze his own sales situations and produce the solutions that will get you the business.


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Basics – You Lose Customers Every Year!

You Lose Customers Every Year!

1% die.

3% move away.

5% form other friendships.

9% are lost for competitive reasons.

14% develop product dissatisfaction.

68% quit doing business because of an attitude of indifference toward the customer by one or more persons representing the supplier!

These statistics are taken from a survey published in U.S. News and World Report made by the Rockefeller Corporation of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

You want Customers for Life, so you must be sure to always treat your customers as they want to be treated.  No one in your company must ever show indifference toward a customer!

Basics – Responsibilities of a Salesperson

Primary Sales Responsibilities

The primary responsibilities of a salesperson are fundamental:

1. Hold present volume of business with existing customers.

2. Increase volume of business from old customers.

3. Obtain new customers.

4. Serve all customers.

5. Sell your company as an organization.

Know your products.

You must be thoroughly acquainted with your products.

You must understand why people want to buy your products.

You must know and believe the basic reasons why people buy from your company.

Know what your sales kit contains. Know where important information is, and be able to put your hands on anything you need at a moment’s notice. You must have an excellent filing system. And you must have the most important information committed to memory.  These are essential responsibilities of a salesperson.

Know your customers

Know everything you can about your customers.

Know the people with each account.

Determine whether your primary contact likes to buy or be sold to.

Classify each person as to whether they are sold on your products or not. Then concentrate on their weak spots.

Know proper timing.

Knowing your accounts means knowing when a company’s fiscal year starts. When does planning begin for the coming year? Are expenditures planned, or does the company fly by the seat of its pants? Make sure you have laid your groundwork during the year. Then hit hard at the proper time.

If you know your accounts through regular calls during the year, you should know where you stand with the account. If a problem develops, you should be alert enough to detect it early.

Know which competitive products your accounts are using.

How much business is the competition getting? What other products are being used?

Know your competition.

Know what your competition has to offer. Know what the positive and negative points of each competitor.

Know what percentage of the business in your territory is going to the competition.

Know how your competition sells. Know how they react after losing some business. Understand that you can still lose business after you have been told it is yours; that’s when a good competitor will work the hardest to knock you off.

Recognize that your competition is calling on accounts while you are elsewhere in your territory. Every call must be an important selling session the impact of which will last after you have gone.

Know when a competitor is taking desperation steps to try to take business from you, so you can fight it.

Know yourself, as a salesperson.

Know how you rate in terms of sales, and be honest in your evaluation as to ability, sales attitude, sales follow-through, and the esteem or respect you have among buyers upon whom you call.

Know how expertly you sell your products, and recognize where there is room for improvement.

To have the proper sales attitude, you must have the desire to drain every last dollar from your territory and have the determination to be the top salesperson.

These are the responsibilities of a salesperson.  Sales jobs vary, so your responsibilities could vary, but basics almost always apply.

Basics – Selling is a People Skill

Selling is a people skill.

Our happiness in life depends largely upon our relationship with other people.  All of us work closely with people daily, whether in the home, in our jobs, in church or service organizations, or in our leisure hours.  Our “skill” in handling people should begin before we leave the house each morning, and we should direct each word and action until we say goodnight for the last time at the end of the day.

Studies show that selling is 15% products skill and 85% people skill.  By now, you have the basic product skill.  So, we should zero in on the part that is overwhelmingly larger – the people skills.  Closing skills are really a people-handling skill, but people skills start with just good old basic treatment of people.

SMILE a lot!!!  Be excited, friendly, and happy, and you will close twice as high a percentage.

Make sure you hear your prospects’ first and last names and that you learn them.  Then always use their first names as you talk to them.  Be sure you use their names several times, but don’t over-use them, as too many sharpie salespeople have a tendency to do.

Make friends with your prospects!  People like to buy from people they like.  We want everyone to leave saying, “Boy, those are really nice people.”

You also must get your prospects involved in what we are doing, if you can.

Believe in what you are selling.  You can get what you want from the other fellow, and make him happy about it now and in the future!

I was once told that there are three basic ways of dealing with people.  First, you can take your share right out of the middle – by force, threat, intimidation, or outwitting.  Second, you can buy your way – by coaxing or begging or indulging his whims.  The third way is to exchange what you can give for what they want – and in return, you receive your desires as well.

Human nature is the same the world over.  All of us desire certain things.  COMMON in all of us is a deep hunger for praise – the longing for approval – the desire to have someone listen – a craving for appreciation and recognition.  So, be a good listener, and use praise and recognition in talking with your prospects. (For example, you could ask to see pictures of the children and praise them. You could recognize what a fine company someone works for. You can tell a lady you really like her outfit….)

Each of us needs to be accepted by others; we want to be liked and respected as individuals.  The better our self-esteem, the better we handle life’s problems.  The person who is chronically unhappy is usually one whose self-esteem is low.  There are a lot of medical terms for this condition, but in most cases, the person’s ego simply needs support.  He needs “ego food.”

Ego is the feeling of personal worth, our dignity, our individuality.  “Ego food” would satisfy these basic desires.  Sincere praise – compliments (at any time, but particularly when not expected) – recognition for tasks well done – never appearing taller than the other person, but talking with them as equals – the act of asking permission to ask questions – and the courtesy of listening to the person’s spoken and unspoken words as he talks.  All of these are “ego food” and show the person that we are interested in him.