Field Sales 101: Follow These 10 Solid Tips for Success

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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.

Learn These Subtle Sales Signals to Increase Your Close Rate

 

sales signals to look for

Everyone has to start somewhere. Building your client list from scratch is tough, so where do you begin? Most salespeople hit the pavement and dial numbers, talking to one prospect after another, grasping at any potential lead. But the best place to start is getting to know your audience.

Think about who needs your product. Then look for the following signs that the prospect is ready to consider an offer. That way, you’ll work smarter (not harder) and generate a client list to be proud of.

Leadership Changes

Take advantage of changes in leadership with an “out with the old, in with the new” mentality. With new leaders comes new potential for relationships. When buyers leave their companies, so do the connections they built. If they had a strong relationship with a vendor, their exit opens the opportunity for a new relationship with a different vendor.  

LinkedIn gives you a snapshot of these changes. That’s why you should always connect with prospects on LinkedIn, especially when they’ve told you no. Why? The person, not the company, told you no. When they leave that organization, you have another chance at the deal. Plus, you may have connections to the new buyer that give you an edge.

Related: Salespeople: Fix Your Elevator Pitch to Get a Meeting With Anyone

Unfortunately, leadership changes are also the reason you’ll lose your best clients. If your key contact leaves and the CEO doesn’t know you, the door is open for other people to come in and sell. Too many salespeople fall into this trap. Realize that changes mean opportunities. If your buyer leaves, it’s time to build a relationship with the new buyer before someone else does.

New Jobs

When buyers transition into new positions, don’t let them go that easily. Reach out to them. They may pave the way for you to work with their new organization or help you do better with their past employer.

Take them to lunch and pick their brain. Ask, “How would you do business with your past employer if you were me?” They may give you special insight or even help you navigate the sale. Now that they’re gone, they have nothing to lose.

Weather- or News-Related Opportunities

There’s also a lot to gain from being in the right place at the right time. Sometimes, sales signals just fall in our laps.

Bad weather creates numerous needs in home repair and preventative services. If you’re serving an area that’s just experienced storm damage, capitalize on the needs that surround you.

Related: The #1 Question You Should Ask During Your First Sales Appointment

Also, stay aware of marketplace news. If there’s a story about your company, your competitors, or your product, seize the opportunity of raised awareness. Prospects are primed for you to reach out and build relationships with them.

Obvious Needs 

Keep your eyes open to the obvious needs that surround you. If you sell signs, look for businesses that have bad signage. If you sell uniforms, look for prospects that have worn-looking uniforms. Sometimes you’ll make a sale simply from noticing the blatant needs right in front of you.

Government or Legal Compliance Changes

Be aware of laws that affect your target markets. In Tennessee, we recently passed some of the strictest laws in the country on data breaches. If someone steals data, even if it’s encrypted, we now legally have to notify all affected people. If I were in the business of data security, I’d present to potential clients about what that means for their companies to capitalize on the ramifications for not having the service we provide.

Recent Funding and Hiring Posts

If a new series of funding hits or you see posts for hiring, those are indications that the company is doing well. Their success suggests they may now be ready to buy your product.

New Locations

When companies relocate or expand, they’ll need services for their new site. Pay attention to location changes and take the chance to meet their upcoming needs.

Looking for the right cues makes all the difference in the success of a salesperson. When you tune in to these signals, you’ll discover one sales opportunity after another.

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What to Look for When Researching Prospects

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We’re always talking about tools to use for research, but how should you go about actual research? Knowing what information to look for is as important as knowing where to find it. With these ways of qualifying prospects, you’ll gain an edge when you make the pitch.

Find Relationships

As you look through LinkedIn or Facebook, find ways that you’re connected. If you’re in your prospect’s social circle, they are less likely to treat you negatively. Without connections, it’s easy for someone to dismiss you as a routine salesperson. But connections are game changers. They make you a person worth hearing.

These connections can take various forms. Personal connections work well. Having a close friend in common boosts your credibility. Yet, if the connections are too far removed, they’ll lose their effect.

Related: Which Sales Follow-Up Strategies Work Best for Your Prospects?

Business relationships help you relate as well. If you see a shared client, use that to your advantage. One of the best examples of this was a financial advisor I met with. He called saying, “Hey, I know PanAmerican Electric does business with you and I want to get on your schedule next Tuesday.” As a business owner, my instinct was to meet with him. Because my customer may have referred him, I took the appointment, if for no other reason than to satisfy my customer.

You may also find local groups you share. Perhaps you’re both involved in the same benevolent program or business association. Use those shared experiences to build your rapport and earn their ear.

Understand the Company

Look up the size and reach of the company. If you see there are only a few connections on LinkedIn, the company may be too small to require your product. If the company has a large volume, you can gauge how your product would best fit in their organization.

Troubleshoot the Problems

Look for problems an organization may be experiencing, either localized or industry-wide. A simple Google search of the company (type in “company name” + review) sheds light on areas for improvement. Also, search for news articles that comment on the company or their competitors. Maybe the industry is going through a lot of change and you can help them navigate it.

Related: How to Build Trust Over the Phone with Cold Prospects

Glassdoor and Quora offer insight into employee complaints and HR issues. If you sell payroll services, you may see businesses where employees complain about the way they’re paid. That’s an immediate indication that you can help them. Through these sites, you’ll also find industry problems, as well as CEO responses. Again, look for struggles you can address. Then align your product pitch to solve that problem. If you can ease their pain, you’ve found a way in.

Research Works

The time you spend qualifying prospects shows. The clients notice when you go the extra mile to understand their companies. A templated email means nothing up against the person that has done some research. I know when I’m being sold, but I like to see how it plays out when someone knows my business.

If you can only do one thing, find your prospects on LinkedIn and go from there. The 80/20 rule applies. If you can just put in 20% more effort researching, you’ll find yourself reaping 80% more results.

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Looking For A Sales Lead Tracking App? Use This Checklist

sales lead tracking app checklist

A sales lead is like a banana: Once it’s peeled, it goes bad quickly.

Unlike the banana, leads can be costly and you don’t want to let any of them slip through the cracks. That’s what lead tracking apps are for. A lead tracking app gives you the ability to see each lead and who’s called them.

When you’re considering which lead-tracking app to download, you want to be sure your selection offers several essential features. After all, new leads are vital to the growth of your organization. Different than a CRM app, a good sales lead tracking app takes customer relations a step further. It identifies and showcases unprocessed leads so no lead goes unfollowed.

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Choosing the Right Sales Lead Tracking App

As you scroll through your choices, make sure your future app works for you. These 5 automatic features make all the difference in the dependability and value of the tool.

1. Mobile App and Web Portal Options

You’re in sales, so of course the app needs to work well when you’re on the road. But make sure your app isn’t just mobile. You need the option to access it from a computer as well to expand your options. An app that transfers from one platform to another is essential.

2. Automatically Record Website Leads

Let’s say you have a contact form on your website. A good lead-tracker automatically downloads that information into the app so you have an instant record. It then generates a pool of unassigned leads.

When a salesperson uses that list to make a prospecting call, they now own that client. As soon as that salesperson makes the call, the app removes the client from the lead list. Having an app regroup clients automatically saves you from the possibility of human oversight in moving clients from one list to another.

3. Log Calls Automatically

You also want an app that logs calls as soon as your salesperson makes contact. You shouldn’t have to wait until someone logs the call manually. Why? Because you have a team of salespeople accessing that list. If there is any delay in call logs, a lead could be contacted twice making your organization look disjointed. Automatic call log updates keep everyone on the same page.

4. Record Every Call

Your app should have the ability to record each call. If a call comes in, you need a recording of the sales person talking to the lead. Someone else, ideally the sales manager, should then listen to every call. Depending on the skill level of the sales rep on the call, a sales manager is going to hear different nuances in the conversation. In doing so, they’ll catch the missed opportunities.

Maybe the thought of listening to each call sounds cumbersome, but think of the investment. Let’s say you spend $5000 on a direct mailing campaign. If this mailing generates 100 calls, you’ve spent $50 per call. Your entry level sales rep may handle some of those calls, but at $50/call it’s worth listening to them!

Maybe the lead asks for a particular product or feature that the sales rep doesn’t know you have. You could call back that customer and say, “Hey, I know ___ talked to you the other day about XYZ. What he didn’t know is that we now offer XYZ.” Afterwards, address the miscommunication with the sales rep and use the conversation as a teaching tool for growing his or her knowledge base.

When you record calls and use them to your advantage, you simultaneously save deals and invest in your sales team.

5. Sync Emails

Email sync is crucial, especially if your organization is large. A good lead-tracking app allows you to see the emails between clients/prospects and anyone in your company. Much like the automatic call logs, this prevents you from contacting prospects without knowing they’re already customers.

Seeing their correspondence also grants you insight into their customer history. You learn what questions they’ve had and give the overall impression that your organization knows them when you contact them again. An app with this feature allows you to quickly see what’s transpired before you make contact.

When you’re making sales, you’re constantly on the go. Get an app that makes the job more convenient with tools like these right in your pocket. Leads may be slippery, but with an app that does the hard work for you, you can secure even more clients.

7 Rules for Getting Past the Gatekeeper

getting past the gatekeeper sales meetings

You’ve driven across town for a sales meeting, only to find the receptionist catching up on the latest issue of US Weekly while Dr. Jones is tied up. Now what? We’ve all been there – suddenly in a battle to get past the gatekeeper.

In many cases, gatekeepers are low-waged employees who don’t really understand the business. They don’t care about how awesome your product or service is. It could be the perfect solution to solve all their company’s woes, but it doesn’t matter.

Your purpose is never to sell the gatekeeper. Your purpose is for the gatekeeper to send you to the decision maker, and these strategies will help get you to the person in charge.

1. Dress the Part

We’ve all seen the caricatures of salesmen: baggy shirts with sweat stains, un-tailored pants, and the general look that they just climbed an uncountable number of stairs. This look doesn’t help your case. If you dress like a salesperson, you are the salesperson. But if you look like a hotshot, you’re going to get past the gatekeeper much faster.

In fact, the more you can blend into the office environment, the better. In pharmaceutical sales, some of the smarter reps wear scrubs. If you’re wearing scrubs and you ask to speak to Dr. So-and-so, no one even asks you why you’re there.

Don’t stand out, but if in doubt, err on the side of being overdressed, not underdressed.

2. Use Body Language

You’re trying to blend in with your clothes. Now, act casually. Don’t look like you’re about to pounce into a 5 minute monologue. You can even act confused: “Oh my! You’ve changed so much in here,” or, “It took me forever to find a parking spot. Are you guys always this busy?”

Body language works hand in hand with clothing choice: get in the door without being pegged as a salesperson.

3. Let Go of the Literature

People often make the mistake of holding literature in their hand when they walk in. This is an immediate turn-off. A gatekeeper’s first mission is to discover friend or foe. They have several roles: answering the phones, receiving packages, and trying to keep out the riff-raff (aka: you.)

If you come in holding a brochure, you’re sending a clear sign that you’re a salesperson. The sooner the receptionist discovers you’re in sales, the harder you’ll have to fight an uphill battle to get any information.

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4. Learn to Talk to Strangers

You’ve been trained not to talk to strangers your entire life. Well, it’s time to start. Nobody likes talking to strangers, but it’s no reason to ruin your chances at sales.

Remember, it’s just another person. Practice talking to people in everyday situations without the pressure. The more comfortable you are, the more comfortable you’ll make the gatekeeper.

5. Capture Information

I love to walk in when a receptionist answers the phone because I have the chance to capture information. Listen to what she’s talking about, take note of names, look for clues about what she’s eating, drinking, or reading, and try to find some kind of commonality.

If she’s drinking a Red Bull I can later say, “I can’t stop drinking those things. How many of those do you drink a day?” Those little pieces of information pay off in the conversation to come.

6. Start a Conversation – But Not About the Sale

Gatekeepers’ jobs may be to keep out people like you, but they’re still human beings, right? Warm them up through casual conversation. Use the information you were able to observe to ask about their drink, talk about the parking situation, or note how busy they are.

For example, you may say, ”Hey, listen. How big is this office? I didn’t think you guys had this much space.” You want to have a conversation without giving the reason you’re there. The better you can connect with the gatekeeper, the better your chances are to move on to the person in charge.

7. Use First Names

First names are critical. Give them yours, use theirs, and speak about the person you want to see on a first name basis. Exchange names early on or casually use the gatekeeper’s name in conversation if you’ve read it from their desk.

If you’ve been able to find out the first name of the decision-maker via a phone call or LinkedIn, use it with the receptionist. If you say, “I’m here to see George,” it sounds like you know him and you’re more likely to get through. (The exception: doctors. They usually don’t want to be on a first name basis.)

There’s no need for the gatekeeper to stand in your way. Be proactive in your approach so one person won’t stop you from making your pitch and gaining a client.

5 Useful Sales Tools You Probably Aren’t Using

Callproof 5 sales tools

Sales tools are constantly and rapidly changing. Take a look at Rapportive: once a highly useful sales tool, salespeople are now turning away from it in droves. With many tried-and-true tools still at work and newbies hitting the market every day, it’s hard to keep up with the times.

Don’t go at it alone when you start out in sales. Even seasoned salespeople benefit from sales tools that boost productivity, efficiency and revenue. Here’s a list of some of the most useful sales tools on the market. Try them on for size, and see which ones work for you.

Mail Merge

This handy tool lets you create a spreadsheet in Google Docs that essentially acts as a mail merge. Once you create the file, you can dump a huge number of first names, last names and email addresses into the document, and the spreadsheet merges the data into an email form. As a result, with a few strokes of the keyboard, you can send out personalized emails that don’t have a ton of email addresses in the “cc” or “blind cc” fields—factors that hinder the personal feel of an email. Even better, you don’t need to use any additional tools like Yesware or Tout for it to work.

It does have one downside: The tool doesn’t let you track who clicked on the email’s links or other metrics, but it’s a quick way to shoot customized emails to your database.

Google Alerts

It’s easy to track prospect, sales contacts, or even competitors using Google Alerts. Stay up-to-date on trends or news about your key competitors, someone new to the marketplace that you want to keep your eye on, or negative press about products. Having this information at your fingertips provides a quick way to view the day’s top news and information—without jamming up your email inbox.

Digital Signature

Sales tools that let you sign your handwritten name into documents are a huge time-saver. Instead of having to print out a document, sign it, scan the document, and then send it back, you can simply insert the signature into the document and hit send.

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Photos

With all of the technology we have access to in our lives, taking pictures has never been easier. Use that to your advantage: take a photo of a business’ tired-looking sign, pop into the business in person, send it via a text, or shoot an email, and say, “Hey, I noticed your sign is damaged. May I send you some pricing information for a new sign?” It’s a simple, yet direct approach, and the communication can help you get a foot in the door.

CallProof

Innovative tools like CallProof help to streamline your productivity. One of the most popular features of Callproof is the ability to search for nearby contacts. When you’re out on a sales call or prospecting, simply log into CallProof to find another customer that’s located close by to your current location. Save time and gain an opportunity to get in front of prospects and clients, without having to drive extra miles.

At CallProof, we’re always looking for innovative ways to save salespeople time and money. With unique sales tools like mail merge, Google alerts, photos and signatures, we continue to improve our own CallProof services. You can easily prospect close-by clients with our tools, and we’re building triggers into Zapier to improve sales-activity automation. Every time you find a new sales tool that works for you, you’re one step closer to freeing up more of your time to talk to prospects—and driving sales.

 

How to Use a Power Pose to Close More Sales

The right words, the right delivery, the right approach—these are three critical components to closing a sale. But there’s more to it than that. In fact, Amy Cuddy reveals in a recent TED talk how something as simple as body language can help you close more sales. But you won’t have to take weekly yoga classes to perfect this power pose.

The key to learning the power pose is simple: Examine your body language, and learn what messages various body “poses” send. Send the wrong message, and you won’t close the sale. Send the right message, and your body language will kick your sales up a notch.

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Communicating 101

We all communicate with our bodies, and we can use this form of communication to our advantage in sales. Here are a couple of examples:

  • Actions like hunching and crossing your ankles make your body presentation smaller. These are diminishing poses. Not power poses.

  • Actions that send the opposite message are expanding poses—not diminishing poses. Win a race, and you lift your chin and raise your arms—opening up your body in victory. Don’t want to be intimidated in a crowd? Go right into the middle of a new group of people and “occupy” your space. These are examples of expanding, powerful body presentations, or poses.

The power pose

In essence, if you learn to hold a “power pose” prior to encountering a potential sale, you’ll communicate a winning frame of reference to whomever you’re meeting, and convey power. The person, in turn, responds favorably—making the purchase.

Cuddy’s study proves this response. When people took on the power pose, their body language influenced their minds in such a way that they changed their hormone levels. The power pose helped to increase testosterone and decrease cortisol—two components that highly successful people (and primates) exhibit. Take up space and expand your body, and you’ll enter your situation with confidence and a winning attitude. In effect, you’re going to “fake it until you make it,” training your body to train your mind to release a physical reaction in your body.

Pose to close

Are you wondering, “Does this really work?” It can’t hurt to try, especially since social scientists like Cuddy have proven its results. However, no amount of training with power poses can replace the interpersonal skills you’ve learned, what you know about your company’s products and services, and the persuasive language it takes to close a sale. But with very little effort to practice the power pose before a sale, you may just find that your sales numbers increase.



 

 

How to Give the Perfect Business Gift

perfect business giftThinking about customer service from just one perspective—what you do after a customer is upset, angry or has had a bad experience—limits your business’ ability to acquire and keep customers. I like to think about customer service as a proactive, business-growing step that keeps revenue coming into my business. Giving the perfect business gift accomplishes this task—and then some.

Why are gifts so important in business?

Simply put, gifts are important because who doesn’t like getting a gift? In the consumers’ eyes, they get something for free.

From a business’ perspective, you’re giving away a $10 or $20 product for free, but what you’re getting in return is invaluable. An impactful gift that secures customer loyalty translates into untold revenue over the customer’s lifetime.

Generally speaking, then, gifts were well received by consumers; however, as more and more businesses use gifts as a way to lure customers, consumers have become immune to their impact.

But that doesn’t have to be true in your business.

Let’s delve into why it’s important for businesses to learn the lifetime value of a customer first, and then assess how much to spend on a gift, er… I mean, customer service.

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Make an impact

It’s almost more important to learn HOW to give a gift, than to decide upon what kind of gift to give.

Why?

Because the impact of how the gift is given leaves a huge impression on a customer. Here’s an example:

Not too long ago, I was prepping my condo for a new weekend renter attending a business conference in town. The couple arrived early, while I was still prepping the home.

While I normally like to be out of the space before clients arrive, I seized the opportunity to make a good impression. After introducing myself and showing the couple around, I gave them a bottle of wine as a thank you gift for renting the space. I said something to the effect of:

“Thanks for your business. I got you a bottle of wine to show how much I appreciate you choosing to stay here. I grow my business by maintaining relationships and being available to customers, so I wanted to let you know I’m super excited for your stay here.”

Notice how I combined the physical gift with impactful words. The couple was able to walk away with something tangible that they can hold in their hands. They’ll remember the gift and who gave it to them.

The experience was hopefully so impactful that they will tell the story to a circle of friends, some of whom may need my services in the future. The gift just made the experience more memorable.

In fact, that same couple ended up renting the space four more times that year.

A guide to gift-giving

The gift that you give customers by its self is not the most important aspect in giving the perfect business gift. You can give gifts of food, flowers or any other experience (think of a hotel where making temperature adjustments or running a bath are part of a stellar experience). Just make it impactful, and follow these tips:

  • Clearly communicate the value of what you’re giving to people. Use impactful words that let customers know that you value them.

  • Choose something special. For example, take a product off the shelf and give it away for free. This kind of gift has more impact in the eyes of customers than getting a “freebie” from the back storage room.

  • Make the experience share-worthy.

Giving the perfect business gift involves choosing an impactful gift, making the experience memorable so that first-time customers become repeat, loyal ones, and creating an experience that people will share, spreading the good word about your business. This kind of gift qualifies as proactive, memorable customer service that helps your business stand out from the crowd, and gain loyal, repeat customers who hold a much higher value over their lifetime than the actual cost of the gift you give them.



 

 

7 Outsider Blogs Salespeople Can Learn From

photodune-3835220-concentrated-xsBecoming a skilled salesperson requires extensive on-the-job training, learning about product features and reading up on techniques to persuade people and land a sale. These activities can include attending sales training companies, and lining your shelves with books by industry leaders like Zig Zigler. However, you’d be remiss as a salesperson if you didn’t also consider learning from the best of the best outside your industry. You may be wondering, What can outsiders teach you about sales?

When a salesperson learns more about marketing, for example, that person’s understanding of how the marketing department works expands, and he or she will have a better grasp of how the various departments within the company work together to meet a common goal. A diversity of perspectives broadens salespeople’s points of view, allowing them to see issues from different angles. Without this expanded perspective, a salesperson is limited to seeing an issue from one perspective only.

Learning from non-sales professionals expands your creativity and brings a dimension to your sales abilities that wouldn’t be possible otherwise.

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Here’s a list of top blogs salespeople can learn from:

  • Copyblogger, a site dedicated to teaching business owners marketing skills, also conducts training on product launches and showcasing a product’s benefits. Their primary focus is content marketing, and people can join their active paid-member community to learn and network.

  • Lifehacker is a site dedicated to “getting things done.” Subscribe to the blog that covers categories like health, productivity, security, personal finances, and technology, and learn how to deal with stress, eat a healthy diet, and manage your money—activities that will surely influence your work life.

  • Grammar Girl’s Quick and Dirty Tips website is a go-to resource for professionals across industries who want to better present themselves to customers and colleagues. Ever made a glaring error on a piece of sales copy, and didn’t notice it until after it went to print? Studying up on grammar skills a few times a week will help you hone your communications skills—and avoid making mistakes like this, in print and in person.

  • Brain Pickings, a site that spans topics like art, science, psychology, and technology, can help salespeople expand their conversational repertoire, developing a treasure trove of topics to talk about with customers, vendors, and colleagues that are sure to impress.

  • Medium is a collaborative site where you’ll find stories and ideas, and you can submit your own ideas to the site, too. Here, you can learn from other like-minded business people and professionals outside your industry from whom you can learn, like entrepreneurs, do-it-yourselfers, and inspirational writers, just to name a few possibilities.

  • Seth Godin, a well-respected marketing expert, writes about managing employees, spreading ideas and marketing in his very popular blog. Salespeople can learn from his innovative perspective on topics like why marketing isn’t like a whale eating plankton, or counterintuitive ideas like why customers switch companies for a better product—not necessarily a cheaper one.

  • Ted is an organization “devoted to spreading ideas,” and its parent site promotes videos of TED talks that take place around the globe. Salespeople can learn from experts covering topics like business, sciences and the arts. Salespeople can stay up-to-date on the best and brightest ideas in business, or how global issues are impacting businesses on a local level.

Don’t make the mistake of limiting your training to sales-specific skills only. Stay in-the-know by spending a few minutes each day browsing non-sales blogs that enhance your knowledge, widen your perspective and broaden your point of view about issues that impact your day-to-day experiences as a salesperson.



 

 

6 Must-Have Sales Apps for Android

Google-apps-ne-besplatenIf you’re a salesperson today, chances are you heavily rely on your phone. We’re not saying Android phones are better for salespeople, but they certainly have their advantages like customization, app features and the ability to choose from a wide range of devices. Here’s our top app picks every salesperson should have on their Android phone.

1. SIGNificant Signature Capture

Many sales people these days take advantage of digital signature technologies. One of the best we’ve found is SIGNifcant. This simple app lets you pull any PDF contract or file from your email inbox and apply a signature before saving it and sending it back.

All that’s needed is a quick install and to import a signature file, a step you can do using a tablet PC or any number of digital writing interfaces. Getting completed paperwork in from your clients has never been quicker or easier.

2. Venmo

You may have heard that PayPal has a dark shadow looming over it these days after it was reported the organization gets paid by the banks to transfer money into your account before it charges you for the privilege of accessing your own money. Whether you think this is kind of a shady, backhanded tactic or not is up to you. Either way, there’s another solution.

Venmo is an incredible way to pay someone inside two hours, with absolutely no fees, straight into a bank account. That’s right, I couldn’t believe it either. It’s the fastest, easiest and cheapest way of transferring money.

FreeEbook

3. Skype

It’s genuinely difficult to overstate the usefulness of Skype. Giving your team Skype allows quick, easy and free communication to share ideas and help close sales. You may not be aware of this, but many of your partners are using Skype, making it easy for salespeople to contact industry relevant people quickly and easily, too. If a salesperson gets a prospect on this service, it’s even better. It’s unobtrusive access direct to their desk or cell phone. The opportunities are endless and it doesn’t cost a penny.

4. LinkedIn

I know I’m always talking about LinkedIn, but it’s tricky not to consider the infinite value of this tool. As I’ve said before, I won’t even have a salesperson in for an interview if he or she doesn’t have an established, fleshed-out LinkedIn account. Whether you’re prospecting, doing lead generation, rapport building, vertical research or keeping up-to-date with your competitors, there’s no end to the uses of this web app if you apply just a little creativity.

5. Genius Scan

We’ve all been in the situation of not getting a sale on the right side of the month because the client didn’t have access to a scanner. Mercifully, those days are now a thing of the past and Genius Scan is the reason why. Taking flush photos of documents with a phone or camera used to be nearly impossible. This app has a smart page detection feature, perspective adjusting and post-image processing to make sure you end up with a crisp document, no scanner necessary.

6. CallProof

Lastly, we had to include CallProof. Never before has such an impossibly comprehensive list of features been available in a smartphone app to boost your sales figures. No more taking salespeople on face value about who they’ve visited, no more paying $10,000 for a call-recording system, no more worrying about paying over the odds for salespeople to manage travel routes and leads efficiently. CallProof’s list of features to make better salespeople and a more freely-flowing sales funnel is as powerful as it is extensive.

What did we miss? Let us know your top Android Sales apps in the comments below!