Spring is coming. I know this because the birds are singing and I haven’t worn gloves for 2 weeks. I also know this because I’ve received dozens of sales calls. It is the season for selling. If sales is a big part of your life, I have 3 tips for sales people.
Every business has seasonal swings. For my company, things are pretty steady year-round but we tend to experience 3 blips: back to school, Christmas/New Years, and spring. These are times of transition in most households with changing school schedules, frequent entertaining, travel, and preparing to buy or sell a home.
Spring seems to the time when I get approached by all sorts of vendors and suppliers looking to make sales. The other day I received 4 calls within 2 hours. Perhaps it is the longer days and hint of warmer weather which gets sales people hopping. Or maybe it is the realization that we are about to finish the first quarter of the year which gets everyone focused on meeting their annual targets.
Based on my extensive experience of being on the other end of the line, I have 3 tips for sales people:
1. Be Prepared. I’ve had sales people ask me the name of my company half way through their pitch. I’ve also been asked “What does your company do?” Don’t call someone unless you have a specific reason to call them, and don’t ask anything which can’t be answered by spending 30 seconds on their website.
2. Be Respectful. When you get someone on the line, understand that you could be the third pitch they heard that day. Don’t go on and on and on and on and on. Get to the point of why your product or service has value for them.
3. Be Patient. Time your followups to allow time for the person to consider your pitch. Understand that the sales cycle may be long, and be patient with your prospect. I was annoyed the other day when I received a “what do you think of my proposal?” call 18 hours after they sent me the email. In those 18 hours I’d been in meetings, busy with other scheduled tasks, dealing with mom duties like homework, and oh yeah – sleeping. I hadn’t even opened the email yet.
My favourite advice regarding sales has nothing to do with the phone. Or with the season. It is the reminder that sales is not the goal. Sales are the result of effective marketing activity.