From computer-assisted telephony to layering up on technology that will supposedly save salespeople time, everything I hear business owners wanting their salesforce to do these days is about accomplishing more, faster. This sounds enticing in principle, for who doesn't want to exceed goals, deliver the max, and do it all in record time? But the reality is, there is a price to pay for this need for speed--and a steep one. Bad things happen when we rush--details are ignored, opportunities are missed, and mistakes are made--and in business, those all cost money. Asking salespeople to perform as though high output matters most has a very negative effect on a business' bottom line. If, instead, we choose to move slower, but with purpose, we can actually drive both revenues and customer experience faster in the midterm. Here are 3 ways to slow down in terms of sales and rev up your revenue stream in so doing.
1. Don't absolve your salespeople from dialing. An auto-dialer moves so fast that there is no time for a salesperson to reset, and the resulting conversations are robotic, and the greatly reducing the chances of making a sale. It may sound great to hear that, when aided by a computer, your salesperson can make 200 dials in a day instead of 100. However, salespeople lose 3 important opportunities in the process: time spent dialing gives them a chance to clear their heads from the previous call, shake off burnout, and research their next prospect. Accept that dialing may result in a lower number of sales calls, but can be a real tool in keeping a salesperson effective when a prospect picks up.
2. Don't automate anything that has to do with decision-making in the sales process. Deals are not done without real human contact. Sending out clever marketing emails to your entire database is just that--marketing. Marketing informs, but it doesn't close sales. People do. Understand that your automated marketing must be accompanied by real people following up, discovering concerns, and answering questions. And know that to do those calls right takes time. Give your salespeople both the directive and the leeway to follow-up in a manner that is relevant. Spending 5 minutes extra preparing for a call may reduce the number of calls your team can make in a day, but those 5 minutes of paying close attention to a particular prospect's situation and needs will allow the salesperson to truly engage. After all engagement is the key to commitment.
3. Don't ask salespeople to pitch. Ask them to discover. Most companies expect salespeople to construct a pitch along the lines of an elevator pitch--meaning make it a one-size fits all soundbite that can be spit out in record time. But trotting out a canned spiel is like leaving a message. If you have the good fortune to say the right thing (which happens 1% of the time at best), you might get a call back. If you don't, the message gets deleted. Ask your salespeople to make every call with one intention: to learn more about the customer. If they start from the principle that their job is to uncover the needs of the prospect, they slow down to listen. The call may take a few minutes longer, but the information gleaned is well worth the extra time, because it yields the key to closing.
Selling your product or service to your customer is like wooing them in for a mea. If you show them a microwave dinner, chances are, they'll dine elsewhere. Take the time to slow-cook it, let the aromas waft their way, and make sure they like what you're serving up and they'll stay to savor--and recommend you to everyone they know.