Having managed successful sales team for years, and in developing top-level sales individuals, nothing was ever more frustrating than hearing a sales person contact their client and state, “I am calling to touch base,” or “I am calling to check-in.”
Patience is the word I would remind myself of, but changing a sales individuals poor habits takes persistence and consistency. I wholeheartedly believe we owe each sales individual this coaching for their development and growth. As we would coach, stay consistent, and demonstrate our message on our expectations our sales individuals become more polished and professional.
What is wrong with touching base or checking in? The answer to me is, it has no purpose, and it lacks direction. In addition, I believe it shows a lack of respect to your client’s time and energy, and gives the perception that the client always have time for your touch base call or check-in. Unfortunately the client may not tell you that you are wasting time, because they receive similar calls from other sales individuals from other organizations, so to them, this is normal. But this is actually an opportunity to demonstrate how and why you are better.
In all things, we teach professionalism. But not all client’s even understand what professionalism is until they start receiving it from a sales individual that stands out above the others. In that clients mind they have the thought, “I like how this person works with me. They certainly always seem prepared and are respectful of my time. I like that.”
Great sales individuals always have a purpose for what they do. This includes when they make contact and communicate with clients. To teach this concept, we even incorporate this wording into our sales individuals’ vocabulary. “The purpose of my call is……”
This sounds professional, and leads the conversation. Great sales individuals have a purpose and utilize this purpose to help guide the conversation and move the process along that helps defines their client’s exact needs. They listen effectively, and summarize back what they heard to reconfirm and gain clarity. In addition, they ask solid questions to completely understand the needs of the client. But the step of always having a purpose starts from day 1.
Day 1 with the client is the first part of building the relationship. It is an opportunity to demonstrate and earn the ability for two-way accountability with the client. The best opportunity to define and agree to standards of the relationship is at the start. To earn the ability to push back and dig deeper when needed, and to demonstrate your value is the first conversation you should conduct. Executing this sets the standard moving forward that allows the individual to manage the relationship in the most effective manner.
All things starts with habits. To teach the habit of always leading with a purpose we teach to take notes, and break down any conversation for documentation within three categories. What was discussed? What was proposed? What is the purpose of the next communication? This formulates the habit of always knowing what the next purpose is. It also assists leadership in coaching, and having a clear understanding from their sales individuals CRM notes where each account is documented. The consistency creates a system and process that benefits the client in the most professional way. The best sales individuals call with a purpose, always.