In sales and marketing we often talk about treating customers like gold. They are “always right,” we are “customer-centric,” our “responsiveness” to customer inquiries is unparalleled in the market.
Can you say that about how you treat your sales force? What would happen if you treated your sales staff like customers? Would they produce for us like customers do?
The first step in any customer process is understanding their needs. If we are trying to offer solutions and create value for our customers we need to understand their challenges. We must explore their needs.
Now, lets turn the table and reflect internally–what are the needs of our sales? We know what we need them to do, but what do they “need” to be successful?
Here are a few ideas:
- Compelling products and services
- Knowledge of what they are selling (as well as what competitors are selling)
- Source of fresh prospects or leads
- System to manage and follow-up on prospects
- Ability to negotiate and make deal decisions
Adapt these to your mortgage or debt business, but make sure you take the time. Look at trends and performance data. What helps get a deal done? What happened to those that didn’t get done?
Learn The Selling Cycle
Most of us have analyzed the customer buying cycle to a fine science. We know all of the scenarios that drive customers to us. We know what will make them hesitate, wait, or buy. We know how to accelerate that buying cycle with influence and persuasion.
Unfortunately, we don’t apply the same analysis to our selling process. The data is all there. Leads and prospects enter into our system. They are contacted and engaged. Then what happened?
Master this data and you can see delays, choke points, and fall out risks in your sales process. Tracking your selling cycle(s) can help you:
- Build better sales processes
- Improve knowledge-building and training
- Design more compelling marketing collateral
- Learn exactly when and how to follow-up
- Give sales people the tools to reinforce best practices
Mastering the sales cycle can help you equip your sales force for success–even automate much of that success formula.
Remove the Barriers to Sales
The first two steps have given you a pretty good picture of the sales cycle. Within that picture you should also begin to see the barriers that frustrate the effectiveness of this cycle.
Here are a few barriers that I often see in sales organizations:
- Total reliance on “hunting” philosophy for leads. New mortgage or debt leads motivate and increase productivity.
- Lack of attempt and contact accountability. Whether you are using a dialer or CRM, sales needs focused discipline on touching lots of customers.
- No system to manage follow-up. This is where some form of lead management is critical. Consistently touching customers is as important as making first contact.
Tools are critical to helping your sales department to not only be efficient, but also to show them that they are the center of the organization.
Go the Extra Mile
Nothing lands a customer faster and builds a deeper sense of loyalty than “going the extra mile.” This makes them feel special and reinforces that you care. The same applies in managing your sales department. Show them you are willing to support and motivate them.
Some ideas you may consider:
- Running sales competitions are always a hit
- Make sure they have quality equipment (computers, dialers, crm)
- Put sales support (marketing) at their finger tips
- Have them participate in sales and marketing strategy
- Put them at the center of new technology or software decisions
Simple incentives and motivation can produce far bigger results than simple salary and bonuses. Get creative. You will be amazed that an exotic trip for top performers to the Atlantis Resort in the Bahamas can cost less and bring more revenue than a higher deal split.
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