I had a great call today with the sales leadership of Interiors Homein PA. We have been working together for a couple of years and discussing how to break some habits and create new, more effective ones. One of the actions we were discussing I have mentioned before: Sales managers interrupting sales/customer interactions on the sales floor to help the salesperson to overcome concerns and to help them to close the sale (or get the appointment).
Today we distinguished HOW to engage. Instead of the sales manager introducing themselves to be ‘helpful’ to the customer and to the salesperson, it’s better to “Actively and Intentionally Engage” with the outcome being the sale or the appointment. And to take the opportunity to demonstrate the selling skill needed (new questions, more powerful presentation, overcome sticky objections, or ask for the commitment!) that the salesperson may have missed or performed poorly. It’s a BIG difference from just being helpful.
My sister, Jill Simoes, a masterful sales leader and I were having a conversation over dinner last night. She was discussing a trade show that she attended with her sales teams – as an observer, as their leader, and as support where needed. We were discussing the construct of the sales process, with specific interactions that she viewed and participated in.
When she observed, she watched as the sales associates connected, asked a few questions and proceeded to talk until there was nothing left to talk about…with no next steps in mind. When Jill stepped in, she asked questions – lots of questions, out of interest to understand the prospect and their situation better, out of a desire to hear what the prospect is struggling with that she/they can help with and to determine what (other) product/service offerings will benefit the prospect.
A highlight was that one of her sales associates performed exquisitely. Her engaging was natural, her questions fluid and flowed from question to answer to the next question, and her ability to offer information and solutions was appropriate for the stage at which their conversation occurred. AND she created the next steps before they left the space. Jill took a moment to ask her: “Do you know how skilled and talented you are?”…which was received with surprise and humility and continued to become a mentor/mentee arrangement that begins this week!
As a sales leader, are you listening for their greatness or their shortcomings? Are you listening for where they take the sales opportunity now and what they close for today and tomorrow?
Your salespeople follow your lead – take an opportunity and see where you can take it. Show them how it’s done.
salesperson/designer after a customer interaction completes. He simply asks
“What’s the next step?” and from there
discovers that something either happened or didn’t…which leads to further questions. Brilliant.
So tell me, what are you asking your sales team after an interaction with a prospect/customer? If you aren’t consciously and consistently doing that, begin to make it a habit. You will see results immediately.