On My Mind 155 - The Future of the Sales Rep - Part 3
The New Sales Representative part 2
This article is part of a series of articles published on my blog. I recommend you start with part 1 on www.richardmulvey.com/richards-review.html
There are still two things that the Sales Manager has to focus on during those first few days of the new sales reps career: Customer Relationships and Company Systems.
In the past a new sales rep would have been given the list of existing customers in his or her area and told to “get out there and sell”. This approach has never been adequate and in todays market is doomed to failure. When a company is forced to change their representation in the marketplace due to sales person's replacement, the risk of loosing the customer to a competitor is high. If the relationship with the last representative was good, that relationship is now lost and we have to start all over again. If, on the other hand, the relationship was bad, The customer will use this opportunity to get competitor quotes. Either way there is a risk involved.
First prize in either scenario is for the old sales representative to spend a month or more travelling with the new sales representative handing over the major customers to maintain the relationship.
Who has the time? In any event, if the old sales representative resigned to go to another job or was fired for poor performance, they should have been asked to leave straight away. An unhappy sales representative, or one with a new focus in his life, will certainly not represent your company in a favourable light when visiting customers and is likely to take every afternoon off anyway. What can you do, Fire Them?
The new sales representative must plan to have long meetings with all his major customers in the first few weeks. Taking the Sales Manager for many of these meetings may also be worthwhile as long as the relationship is made with the new sales rep.
With the increase in competition and your customers ability to buy most of what he needs online, relationships are more important than they have ever been. Selling is all about trust and friendly relationships, if that is not in place the customer will simply buy the cheapest.
The next challenge for the new sales representative will be when the previous poor performer lost many of the customers in the area. I remember taking over a difficult area many years ago as a young sales representative. As I travelled around trying to regain business I came face to face with the same problem over and over again. Typically the customer would tell me “I have tried your company before and you let me down so I am buying from your competitors now”. Sound familiar?
One of the older sales reps gave me a good idea as to how to handle this problem and it worked more often that not.
When faced with the “I'm now using your competitor” conversation I would say. “I can fully understand why you may feel that way but let me ask you, if you were in my position, faced with an angry customer who no longer wants to buy from you, what would you do?”
The customer would usually reply “Well, the first thing I would do is to fire the rep. Then I would jack up my service and improve my products. Then, and only then, would I make contact with the old customers.”
I would then reply “Well, That's exactly what we have done, so lets move on from there and see how I can help you in the future.”
The new sales rep will also have a wide range of tools to choose from to help him develop better relationships and we will explore those later in this series.
Tomorrow we will explore the rest of the first day as a new Sales Representative
This is Part 3 in the series "The Future of the Sales Representative". If you want to read the others in the series go to my blog at www.richardmulvey.com.
Over the next 29 days I will be expanding this train of thought, taking each step of the selling process and explaining how the 21st Century Sales Representative maximises his or her performance using all the tools available. While most of the selling process hasn't fundamentally changed, the way we do what we do has changed immensely.
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Richard Mulvey, "The International Sales Guru," has directly influenced over 150,000 business people over the last 20 years helping them improve their profitability. You can follow the author on·twitter·(richardmulvey) or purchase his DVDs, Books, MP3s etc at·www.richardmulvey.com. You may re-publish this article un-edited in any electronic media as long as this paragraph is at the end.
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