just in time for when it is needed – also applies to the sales process, claims the expert. For example, compa- nies have eliminated the need for office space for their salespeople by equipping them with mobile tools that allow them to get the information they need while on the road. Telemarketing firms have adopted call center technology that allows them to triple the number of contacts per day per telemarketer from 25-30 to 75-90. Eliminating all forms of waste in the process means that only the truly useful work remains.

IMPLEMENTATION OF EFFECTIVE CHANGE Once a company has selected a solution, management must implement solid techniques for the solution to be successful. He gives an example: “A well-known elec- tronics manufacturer once rolled out a sales automation system. Its analysis of the initial problem was sound. Its implementation, however, was terrible. The system was released to meet a target date before testing was com- plete. In effect, the entire sales force was used as guinea pigs. We don’t have time to do it right the first time, but

we always seem to have time to fix it later.” The solution, says the expert, is to test any new ap-

proach in a controlled setting. Pilot a new system with a small group. Modify the system until all the specifica- tions are met. Roll it out one group at a time, fine-tuning the system as needed. Hold it up if the specifications are not met. “Throughout, if your original specification called for a business result, don’t accept mechanical achievement as a substitute. Mechanical achievements take the form of hooking up computers or testing software until it is bug free. Being bug free is not the same as accomplishing a business goal.” While no process can ever be perfect, improving your sales

process can lead to better bottom-line results and, really, that’s what an improved process should accomplish. 


SELLING TIP Three Super Sales Tips

Try these field-tested strategies from real sales leaders for keeping customers happy and overcoming custom- er objections.

1) SPEAK YOUR CUSTOMER’S LANGUAGE When I know my customers have been using my com- petitors’ products and are used to their item numbers and product names, I know that this “language barrier” sometimes prevents me from getting the sale. Since my customers don’t have the time or motivation to learn another manufacturer’s nomenclature and item num- bers, I make it easy for them. In the margin of my price list I added a column and use it to place our competi- tor’s item numbers next to my company’s equivalent products. This tactic helps my customers understand just what they’re getting for their money and how my products compare (favorably) to what they already have. My customers have told me that this was the best thing I’ve done to earn more of their business! – Bill Cullen, Executive Marketing Representative

2) ADD CHEER TO YOUR VOICE I am a sales manager for a small manufacturing compa-

ny. For a short time, I also held the position of purchas- ing manager at the same time. In doing both jobs si- multaneously, I discovered a little tip that I have passed down to my sales and customer service employees. When speaking with customers, always have a bright and cheery voice. Always use the customers’ names and make sure they hang up with the feeling that you enjoyed speaking with them. This may be something everyone knows, but does everyone make an effort to give this to every phone call? We have found it to be very effective. – Lynne M. Taylor, Sales Manager

3) GIVE PROSPECTS A MULTIPLE-CHOICE OPTION When I hear, “I want to think it over,” instead of drilling my prospects, I put them at ease by saying, “You know, Ms. Prospect, when someone tells me they want to think about their decision, it usually means: 1) they feel the price is too high or value is too low; 2) they don’t believe in my company, my product, or me; 3) they’re afraid of making a mistake; 4) they sense the product may be more troublesome than the problem; 5) they think the product will soon be obsolete; or 6) there’s some other reason they’re not making a decision. Would you share which category you fall under?” This approach usually convinces my prospects to open up, so I can help them without interrogating them.


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