Your Sales ROI:
Drive Your Numbers Up in Any Economic Climate
By Michele Lando
is the vice president of a national sales organization.
You know the type, pleasant enough, a hard-drivin',
fast movin', numbers driven, kind of guy. But he is
off on projections by 32 percent heading into the third
quarter. Several standard reasons are tossed about at
the sales meeting when asked why sales are off: "The
economy's down." "There's not a clear differentiator
between our offer and the competition's." "Two
other companies are cheaper than us." Any or all
of these may be true—not only in Al's company,
but also in myriad others. The problem is you have still
got to hit your numbers. And, none of the proclaimed
reasons sales are down are in the control of the sales
department. So, what do you do?
learn how to know what the buyer REALLY needs in order
is an old saying, "Business would be great if it
weren't for the people!" But guess what? Your buyers
are people...each with different core needs. And this
has nothing to do with your products or services and
everything to do with them—who they are and how
sales team is going out there doing their jobs—pounding
the pavement, making the calls, setting the appointments,
making the presentations and submitting the proposals.
But, are they getting the results?! You need to guarantee
that all of the effort they are already extending is
going to result in the desired Return on Investment—meeting,
and exceeding, your projections!
are the basics to drive your numbers up, in any economic
climate, exerting no additional effort:
Four Potential Needs of All Buyers:
may possess all four needs but to different degrees
and with different priorities. Think of a buyer (or
yourself) and identify the strongest need they (you)
have just by observing behavior.
to the bottom line. Fast paced. Problem solver.
Impatient under pressure.
about weekend, do business in the last 10 minutes
of an hour-long meeting. Fast paced. Sees the big
picture. Overly optimistic.
listener. Likes to have time to process. Prefers
continuity. Averse to change. Doesn't emote.
thinker. Analytical. Perfectionist at heart who
needs to be well informed to make best decision.
Slow to act.
you take the time to observe, you can quickly determine
someone's preferred way of receiving what you have to
offer. There are numerous strategies you can adopt to
accommodate each buyer.
are a few tips:
them questions and let them define the answers—do
not tell them.
how much time they have before you begin talking.
if they prefer phone, e-mail or in-person. Do not
be surprised if it is not in person.
to the bottom line, how it will help them based on
what they have shared with you; then, ask if they
want to go through the details.
them to lunch to discus—preferably at an innovative
sure to let them have plenty of talking time to share
about themselves and ask you questions.
for the element of fun in the meeting—as they
would define fun. That may simply mean keeping it
them how your product and/or service will allow them
to enjoy something…and more time, more whatever
is relevant to your offer and their lives.
questions relevant to business as opposed to personal.
them information parceled out. Allow for them to have
time to digest, ask questions.
authentic stories of yourself, or others by example,
which reflect practicality.
sure your offer is presented in a way that does not
suggest much change.
prepared with statistics and data and share sources
slowly. Be prepared for a lengthy sales cycle and
multiple rounds of information sharing.
on purpose when you touch base, setting the stage
for the next checkpoint and any additional information
thorough, detailed and create a sense of certainty
for the buyer.
the time to really understand who your buyer is, and
what they need, will allow you to re-think how you interact
with them, from:
you engage—e-mail or phone.
to best prepare and conduct meetings—detailed
agenda or more conversational.
length of sales cycle—long or short.
to communicate—share personal stories or strictly
business and/or bottom line.
sure your sales teams are prepared to work with the
buyers on their terms, from their point of view, to
get their needs met, means guaranteeing a return on
your sales ROI. Just like Al, you can learn this critical
knowledge and combine it with an ongoing action plan
to see referrals flow, sales revenue rise and projections
hit their target!
Michele Lando is an international speaker,
trainer, author and a founding principal of Skilset
Communications, Inc. a marketing and training firm designed
to help Fortune 50s to Fortune 2,000s differentiate
themselves in a crowded marketplace and drive outrageously
successful sales outcomes. To find out more about her
speaking and consulting practices, please send her an
e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org
or call (626) 792-0032 x130.