If you’re new to field sales, there’s no sense wasting time. You have people to see and sales to make.
But there’s a learning curve. Being a field sales representative is tough work. You’re out of the office more than you’re in it — meeting people, building relationships, and trying to remember who said what so you know how to follow up.
So, as you navigate the obstacles, try these 10 tips and tools to take your field sales to the next level.
#1: Have a Sales Process Before You Meet With Prospects
Every sales representative needs a solid process before they meet a new prospect. When you have a process, you stay in control of the results. A plan keeps you on track and establishes a call to action. Then you know the possible outcomes and can be prepared to guide the prospect through their responses.
In doing so, you’ll show them you’re organized, and they’ll know they’re in good hands.
#2: Stay Organized
Have a plan for dealing with people at every stage of the sales process. Always know your action. And have a system for everything. Then, no matter where a prospect is in the funnel, you know the next touchpoint.
Moreover, don’t over-complicate your touchpoints. They’re molehills, not mountains. It’s easy for a new field sales representative to think of making contact as a giant task when it only takes a few minutes. Make sure you realize the simplicity of the task so you don’t put it off.
#3: Don’t Keep Anything in Your Head
As you work your system, use tools to keep you on track. That way you won’t overlook something (or someone) by accident. It’s a little easier to keep track of things mentally when you’re younger, but the older you get, the more difficult it becomes to mentally track it all.
So trust your calendar. Trust your CRM. Even if your memory is great, you cloud your judgment by mentally trying to keep track of everything. Instead, use a reliable CRM to track your data so you can stay focused on what you’re doing. A clear mind frees you up to be more strategic.
#4: Tell Your Story
Qualify your prospects before you meet with them. Then focus on your story. Work on telling the story of why your company exists and what your business brings to the table. It will allow you to see how that applies to your customers.
When you meet with customers, center your conversation on the story. Tell your story and listen to theirs. Customers need time, trust, and money before they buy. So build that into your story. How does your product bring value to their company?
Related Post: Sell the Value of Your Product, Not the Price
Once you hear their story and tell them yours, you’ll know if their needs align with your product. When you have conversations with the right people (people who want to buy now, not those who may want to buy “one day”), your stories will match up.
#5: Admit If You’re Not a Good Fit
If you’re not the right fit, be the first to admit it. There’s no problem in saying, “Hey, I can’t help you, and here’s why.”
But even if your product won’t solve their problem, point them in the right direction. Give them a recommendation of a person or company who will meet their needs. Then ask for a referral. I usually say, “I know I’m not the right person for you, but if you know someone else…” They almost always refer. And I almost always make a sale by telling them no.
#6: Balance Your Goals With the Customer’s Goals
Before you take on a customer, make sure it’s a win for both sides. You have a responsibility to your customers, employees, and vendors to make good decisions that benefit everyone involved.
To keep that balance, you need a direct line of sight to success. So figure out what “success” is to each person involved. As you sell to new clients or adjust to current customers’ needs, ask them what they need to be successful. Then see how you can help meet those needs. When your clients are successful, you are too.
#7: Keep the Price Fair
Price your product accordingly. You’re working with customers, not against them. So don’t gouge people. But also, don’t cheapen your product. Instead, charge a fair price where you can explain why you charge what you do.
When you’re offering a product that helps clients be successful at a fair price, you’ll see good results. Why? You’re working towards the same goal. With a fair price, the customer gets good value, and you make enough for it to be worthwhile.
#8: Take a Team Approach With Vendors
If you use vendors, don’t forget to consider their success. In the past, I didn’t want to hear about the vendors at all. I just wanted the results. Worst idea ever.
Vendors should be treated as part of the team. You have a responsibility to make sure the customer gets a good product. So everyone involved needs to be on the same page — including vendors.
Vendors are good at what they do. They’re experts — you just don’t need them full-time. Even if they only work for you temporarily, make your efforts collaborative. When you do, you’ll see better results for everyone involved.
#9: Communicate During Onboarding
You want new clients to become lifelong customers. Good onboarding sets the stage for a long-term working relationship. Onboarding is all about communication. Make sure you know what pieces need to be in place to make it successful. You’ve onboarded customers before. You have experience. They don’t. So guide them down the path and make them feel comfortable with the process.
Communicate every step of the way. It’s just like the sales process. In sales, you close a call with, “Here’s what’s going to happen next…” The onboarding process should work the same way. Make sure there’s no question about what comes next.
#10: Quote Quickly
Quotes need to be prompt. Don’t say, “I’ll get it to you soon.” Instead, tell them exactly when you’ll send it. Leads and deals are like fish. The older they get, the more they start to stink. So move fast — the more touches you make in a short time (especially during the quoting phase), the faster you’ll build trust in the relationship.
Your product is not their world. They don’t spend days thinking about your solution. That’s just something they did once and don’t want to deal with again. So get started, pull off the band-aid, show them what they need, tell them what’s going to happen, and deliver.
I typically leave a meeting, send a handwritten thank-you note, email the proposal, call them to make sure they received it, then give them their next steps. The goal is to meet their needs quickly.
These 10 tips are no great secret. The real secret to success is doing them. So don’t be one of those people who know what to do but fail to follow through. Instead, let these time-proven practices change your work.