The best way to provide excellent customer value is to hire excellent sales people. What should you look for in good sales people? Is there a tried-and-true method of searching them out? Whether you’re building your team from scratch or training your current team, use the following five strategies to increase customer value.
1. Encourage Responsibility
Imagine a team of sales people in which members all take responsibility for their tasks, customers, preparations, schedules, and mistakes. They all look for solutions to their own problems, chip in when they see holes in the team's efforts, and do their homework before meeting with customers. Such a team could provide excellent customer value and propel your company to new heights.
2. Cultivate Focus
In the information age in which we live, it's all too easy to jump from strategy to strategy. So many experts vie for your attention and offer the "latest and greatest" that it can be difficult to stay focused.
You can cultivate focus in your sales people by staying focused yourself. What is your team's goal? State it often and ask your sales people what they're doing to meet that goal. When you have meetings with your sales team, always start by reviewing your stated goal and evaluating each member's progress toward it. Help your sales reps to stay accountable by reviewing their previous assignments and discussing their results. Discussing results gives you an opportunity to teach, and it also helps the rest of your sales reps to learn from each other's experiences.
3. Look for Flexibility
Although focus is important, you also want your sales people to be flexible. A rigid sales person will not be able to deliver customer value as well as a flexible sales person. Keep in mind that flexibility does not mean bending to the whims of others. It simply means being able to make adjustments in order to reach your stated goal. For instance, let's say a sales person has a meeting with a potential customer. The sales person has done his homework and learned about the customer, but the approach simply doesn't work. A flexibly sales rep will quickly readjust the approach and do what it takes to reach the customer.
4. Understand Empathy
Empathy sounds like a pretty soft word for sales managers to be considering, but empathy simply means understanding another person. Understanding customers is critical for delivering customer value. Sales people simply can't be successful if they don't understand the people they're selling to.
Are some people born with empathy? Yes and no. Some people have a natural and sincere rapport with others, and you can see this when you interview candidates for your sales jobs, but empathy can definitely be learned as well. In your sales meetings, train your sales people to see life from their clients' perspectives. What do they need to make their lives easier? What are their frustrations? What tools would help them to succeed?
5. Find Passion
Two sales people arrive at your office to sell you something. One of them keeps texting and looks bored out of his mind. The other is enthusiastic; excited about the products she's selling, and interested in finding good solutions to your problems. Enthusiasm is contagious, and your sales reps will adopt your attitude toward your services and products.
In the quest for providing excellent customer value, your team of sales people is critical. Hire the best you can find, and then continually train them to deliver success.