People – buyers, prospects, customers- remember brands. Brands create trust because they are perceived as reliable and valuable. A good brand makes for good sales.
So why don’t you become the most trusted brand of telesales rep in your industry? Here are 7 ways to do just that:
1. Become a Business Resource
To be a strong brand, it is not enough to simply be a source of information (source of brochures, promotional literature, products, prices, offers, services etc.), you’ve got to be a “resource.” A resource is someone who supplies prospects and clients with ‘extras’ that go beyond pitching a product or service. A resource provides unsolicited Special Reports and White Papers to add value. Resources scan industry magazines and rip out articles that they share with clients. They provide links to websites that can help the client work better, smarter and faster. They send independent newsletters and data that their competitors would never think of doing.
Becoming a resource means you have to do more homework and become the industry expert; the product guru; or the ‘go-to’ guy when clients have a question. Resources do more. Extra. They create value.
2. Build Stronger Personal Relationships
All things being equal, people will buy from people they know, like, and trust. In fact, all things being relatively unequal, people will still buy from people they know, like and trust. How well do you know your clients? How well do they know you? What have you done to create likability and trust?
You see, that’s the difference between a transaction and a relationship. Customers can transact business with any company/sales rep that is relatively decent and competent. But they would prefer to do business with people who not only add value (See Strategy #1) but who are interesting, likable, and ‘worthy’ of the business.
Even in B2B situations, there is still an element of emotion in the buying process.
To brand yourself, you need to tap into this emotional stream. It is planned and purposeful. That means sending thank you cards every now then. It means remembering a birthday or that their son plays hockey or their daughter plays volleyball. It means sending a Memphis Dry Rub recipe to an avid BBQer; it means sending an article from Golf Digest on chipping; it means finding memorable quotes; it might mean sending a cartoon; it could mean gentle teasing about Notre Dame losing to Michigan.
Building a relationship could mean sending homemade cookies, chocolates, or candy. Maybe donuts. Anything that solidifies the personal side of the selling equation.
3. Plan and Prepare More
Look, with the glut of competitors calling the same target markets, your call NEEDS to be well planned and prepared if you expect your clients to listen and perceive value. What this means is having a well-defined primary objective supported by secondary objectives. Once you know your objectives, you can define your step-by-step approach to the call itself. Think of the questions you should ask, the points you should make, and the objections you might encounter. Figure out how to leverage your relationship. Create a pre-text for calling. Craft your opening statement so it conveys a benefit to your customer or prospect. Rehearse if you need to.
Well planned call is a welcomed call. It wastes no one’s time. It’s clean, crisp and professional.
4. Get Better at E-mail Communications and Selling
Today’s top ‘brand’ of B2B telesales reps must communicate at two levels. FACT: you will not achieve superior sales results if you cannot effectively use the telephone to prospect or sell if you cannot effectively craft a superb e-mail. The telephone provides audio messages (via direct contact and voice mail) and e-mail provides visual messages. In today’s marketplace, the two go together like peas and carrots. The trouble is most reps do not know how to compose an effective e-mail that is persuasive and interesting. They write ponderous copy with a dozen sentences. The e-mail is crammed with self-serving propaganda. The grammar is questionable at best.
Learn how to write a good e-mail that LOOKS good and READS good. And if you don’t know how to do that, drop me an e-mail and I’ll send you a report or two.
5. Practice Add On Selling
Over 70% of calls to clients and prospects end up in voice mail. What this means is that you must make the absolute most of the 30% or so calls that reach a live decision-maker. Add-on selling (AOS) is a means to squeeze, leverage and extract every single ounce of potential from the calls that you make in a professional, value-added manner.
In practical terms, that means cross-selling or up-selling in a manner that educates the client and makes them want to listen and learn. For you, that means additional revenue, usually at a better margin and typically, that means a better, bigger commission. AOS means asking for referrals because a good referral closes at a rate of 75%. AOS means getting curious and asking questions that gather ‘market intelligence’ by ‘picking’ your clients brains to get their thoughts, feeling and suggestions.
6. Work Just a Little Bit Harder
Do you want to quickly get a good name for yourself internally or externally? Then simply work harder. The top brands – products or people- did not become the top brand by sitting on the sideline watching their competitors waltz by. Top brands worked hard to achieve the #1 spot. It doesn’t have to be 14 hour days. Translated, working hard means cranking out a few more calls in a day or arriving a little bit early – even fifteen minutes or staying late every now and then, and doing some work from home. It means searching for value-added articles or recipes or thank you cards to send to clients to build personal relationships. It means learning your products inside and out. Break a sweat now and then.
7. Invest in Yourself
Invest a few bucks in yourself. Buy a book. Order some DVDs. Pay for a download. Sign up for a Send Out Cards program. Attend a webinar or conference and do it on your own dime. Invest in yourself and you invest in your brand by making it better, sharper, more professional. The moment YOU take some financial risk is the moment you’ll want a greater ROI. You’ll push yourself. You’ll work harder because of it (see above). You’ll buy those thank you cards and use them. You’ll follow up a little more closely.
Are you ready to take advantage of the changing marketplace? Becoming your own brand and being the top in your department, market or industry is not terribly difficult. But it does take focus and discipline. Follow these seven steps and you’ll be the best ‘brand’ in the business.
By: Jim Domanski, Consultant to Lead Generators International
President, LGI Sales & Marketing Group Inc.