A PRACTICAL GUIDE TO INCREASING SALES
Every franchisee needs to make sales. Your biggest asset is your time - don't waste it, says Lloyd Hill.
Lloyd Hill is a New Zealand sales professional with over 40 years’ experience. He’s also the author of a new book called Sales Talk, which aims to provide newcomers with a straightforward guide to the sales process and is now being used as recommended reading for a marketing paper at at the University of Otago. In this edited extract, he explains how to use your sales time effectively.
Sales professionals really value their time. They totally understand that it is their greatest asset. They know it is the one thing they can ‘manage’. They understand there is potential reward for every well-spent moment. Equally, they know that every misspent moment represents a loss in earnings.
Every day millions of salespeople make sales calls, just for the sake of making a sales call. There is no purpose, no direction and no objective to the call. In other words, it’s a waste of time.
Every sales call needs a purpose. After each one, you need to do a quick review. Did you achieve the purpose of the sales call? It doesn’t need to be War and Peace. Sometimes a quick rethink is all that is necessary; other times you’ll need to get it all down on the CRM (Customer Relationship Management) system or whatever you’re using. And be honest with yourself!
I liked to use the golfing term ‘par’, to help me think: Plan/Action/Review.
- Was the plan of the call appropriate?
- How well did I action the plan?
- In the review, what could I have done better?
- What should I make sure that I bring to the table at the next call?
- What changes do I need to make so the next call will be more effective?
Last point: even when you can’t achieve the primary purpose of your sales call, just remember that every customer contact provides an opportunity to learn something new about the customer, the competition, developments in the area, etc. Always make every effort to exit a sales call with some benefit from the time you’ve invested.
I realise that in this age of conference calls, smartphones, etc, there are umpteen IT aids which weren’t available when I first started selling. Nevertheless, that doesn’t alter the fact that, every day, salespeople are still charging here, there and everywhere, wasting selling time.
A big part of the training when I was at BP was all about territory planning. In simple terms, it said, ‘driving time is not selling time’. Each territory had a specific number of customers and competitor accounts that needed to be called on – on a regular basis – so you needed to make sure you weren’t darting from one side of the territory to the other. Sounds obvious, but it’s a fact that salespeople lose hundreds of selling/earning hours every year simply because they don’t operate some form of schedule for customer calls.
I got angry whenever I lost precious selling time, especially when it could have been avoided with better planning and better time management. So, how do you make a territory plan?
Start with a central point, eg. your home, your business. Using this central point, draw a circle, square, rectangle – or whatever shape gives the minimum amount of driving time – to ‘design’ your territory.
Even today, some salespeople still feel they have to go to the office as if they need to clock in. And there are still managers and owners who need to ‘see’ their salespeople – to know they are actually working – yes, even in this age of the virtual office. How crazy is that when driving time to and from the office could take an hour or more?
Locate customers within this geographic shape.
Normally there won’t be an even spread of customers in the north, east, south and west quadrants of the territory. Let’s say 50 percent are in the north, 10 percent in the east, 25 percent in the south and 15 percent in the west — so you allocate your time accordingly, with the proviso that you build some ‘weighting’ (as per below) into the equation...
Lloyd Hill's book Sales Talk is available from bookshops for $25.00 or can be ordered direct from the author - email firstname.lastname@example.org. Mention Franchise New Zealand and get a special rate of $20 including GST for delivery anywhere in New Zealand. Bulk orders are also available for franchisees.
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