The Key to Dealer Growth and Professional Sales Compensation
by Tim J. Murphy
I attended a sales / product training meeting several years ago where customers using competitive equipment were part of a panel taking questions from our sales team. One question posed was, "how often should a sales rep call on you?" The response was classic and one that hit home. "You can call on me every day, as long as you bring me value when you do." That answer to me cut right to the chase, as well as set up the following question..., "how many calls do our sales team make without bringing any value?" I didn't know what the answer was, but knew that no matter what the answer, any call that did not bring value was a wasted call. This one exchange set up a valuable coaching opportunity for years to come with the challenge that I made to every sales professional to ask this one simple question PRIOR to making a call. What value am I going to bring to the call today?
When one gauges their own personal buying experiences, the adage "people buy from people they like," rings true. Why would it be any different from customers who buy from us…or who don't? People buy from people for different reasons, but rarely is a purchase made from someone a buyer doesn't like. I'm not necessarily talking about personalities here. Buyers buy from people who either deliver value or who successfully articulate value to be received. Value awareness clearly enhances the chances for a sale. Bring no value…don't expect a sale.
Prior to getting to my main point, let me set this up further with an example of what I'm talking about. While reviewing a branch operation's sales challenges several years ago, we conducted a meeting with the local Territory Managers assessing the market and competitive landscape.
By Walter J. McDonald
Where are your equipment sales going to come from next year?
Today, there are exciting NEW tools that help you identify a very large percentage of these potential sales way before they happen. The machinery and equipment industries have changed significantly since we were given a price book, shown how the machine worked and were told, "go get some orders!" The name of the game today is
What is "
Deal Visibility is the percent of deals your sales rep "sees" or is "aware of" in the territory before they are closed.
A sales territory with high Deal Visibility has identified and zoomed in on at least 90% of the active deals in the territory. This must be done early enough in the purchase cycle to be able to influence the outcome. The later you get in on the deal, the lower the probability of success and the lower your margins, if you do win the deal.
The later you arrive on a deal, the lower the probability of success.
The earlier the sales rep can identify a potential sale and work the account, the greater the likelihood of success. The sales rep should probe, early on, and uncover fears and concerns of the key influencers. He/she must conduct needs analysis and problem diagnostics. The sales rep must understand the buyer's psychology well enough to know how the buyer wants to be sold. For example, is he an engineering type that requires lots of details? Or, is she a financial manager expecting operating cost reduction data?
Who are the major influencers in the account on the deal? Who is your coach in the company that can provide insight into their overall situation? If your sales rep arrives late in the buying cycle, there is no time for any of this. As a result, PRICE becomes the primary sales tool.
You have just spent time, effort and money recruiting and selecting what you hope will be a highly productive new member of your sales team. Your recruitment process has been developed over the years, including testing, screening, reference checking and multiple interviews. Now, this handsome, impressive, candidate is ready to start next Monday. You feel confident about your new hire. Yet, there is a very good chance he may flounder. More than 3 in 10 new sales hires in this industry fail. Only about 40% meet their first year performance expectations. And, new sales rep turnover costs about 150% of total compensation. The good news is, you can improve your odds for recruiting success. Here’s how.
Successful sales of complex, custom designed, high-value equipment demands an intelligent diagnostic methodology. Sales tools should also include testimonials, website enhancements and powerful capabilities presentations. Additionally, product support has proven to be a highly effective entry strategy that can yield high-level management access. Product support work also enables you to identify major influencers, decision makers, technical and financial evaluators involved in the large new equipment purchase process. By utilizing product support early in the sales cycle, your company can build in the prospective target account management team the perception of your interest and capability of supporting them after the sale.
Organizing and conduct a successful East African camera safari is not much different than organizing and managing a highly successful equipment or product support sales territory. You must demonstrate the skills essential to identifying the game, then, you must competently execute the skills necessary to capture the photo. Included in this paper is a personal selling skills inventory checklist on the skill sets essential for high performance machinery and aftermarket sales professionals.
Unless you are from another planet, you must know that many dealer principals are extremely unhappy with their current sales organizations. Does your boss have the perception that you are the weakest link between his dealership and profitable new business? Are you in danger of being seen as a dinosaur by your company owner? Are you in danger of being replaced by a more cost-effective sales process in your sales territory? Check yourself out…