What is required to take your business relationships from good to great?
I believe the principles behind Jim Collins book Good to Great can be applied to how copier sales reps build relationships.
Let’s take the “Hedgehog Concept” which means having a simple, extremely clear concept of what your business is. As copier sales reps, your business is something you can…
- Make money at
- Be passionate about
- Be the best in the world at
“Greatness as a sales rep is a conscious choice and a discipline”
With the widespread use of the internet, instant communication and most dramatically, social media; as copier sales reps you have entered a business era defined by two-way relationships between you, your clients and your prospects. The deals you are involved in right now are being defined by emotions and relationships not just dollars and cents.
Your clients and prospects of today are much savvier then in years past. They expect you to pay attention to them. They also have instantaneous and much louder methods for voicing their displeasure as well as the support they are getting.
BUILD REAL RELATIONSHIPS
The oldest, most effective strategy is as powerful and potent today as it ever was, real relationships. Relationships sell, relationships bring in connection and human acknowledgment.
Relationships are not a one-sided communication they create conversations. The countless automated Twitter and LinkedIn blasts repeating the same message over and over ad nauseum without any engagement takes the Social out of Social Media.
A small amount of automation can be highly effective, particularly if it makes your work more efficient, however; efficiency at the expense of building a real relationship is virtually always a losing proposition.
I urge all copier sales reps to get engaged. Create the marital bliss with your clients and prospects. Shift your mindset as engaged relationships translate into increased sales opportunities. Build true relationships, not just one-sided affairs and watch as your sales skyrocket.
3 THINGS COPIER SALES REPS MUST EMBRACE
Today’s successful copier sales reps are building their businesses by building relationships with their clients and prospects. In the relationship economy, the investment you need to make isn’t about money, it’s in the relationships you have with your clients and potential clients. These relationships are the new currency and your future sales success.
SALES REPS MUST FOCUS ON AUTHENTICITY
How hard would it be to build a brand around a facade? Some do, as you would have to act a certain way, appear a certain way and even communicate a certain way.
Relationships are based on trust and trust is based on authenticity. Your clients and prospects B.S. meter is extremely sensitive. They can spot insincerity a mile away. Unless you are authentic in your relationships, your clients and potential clients aren’t going to trust you. In fact, they’ll actively avoid you and tell all their friends and colleagues to do the same.
Your authentic you must be a reflection of who you are. You must believe it. You must own it. You must know what it stands for. You must know your strengths and your weaknesses. Wear those emotions on your business sleeve.
People connect with other people. It is all about the personal connection. If you are “blowing smoke” at people what is the likelihood they will come to trust you?
Authenticity is a Magnet
SALES REPS MUST STOP SELLING
Generating new or expanding business relationships is not about selling – it’s about establishing trust, rapport, and creating value without selling.
Engage with me, communicate with me, add value to my business, solve my problems, create opportunity for me, educate me, inform me, but don’t try and sell me!
Stale sales methodologies and disciplines simply die a slow and very painful death.
Do you know what a loaf of bread left out on the counter over time and the sales processes inside the copier channel have in common?
Left untouched they both become stale.
The problem with many copier dealerships is they still operate with the same principles and techniques they were using in the 80’s and 90’s. Technology supporting the sales process has clearly changed, however; traditional sales strategies run rampant inside copier dealerships everywhere.
Trust me when I tell you your existing and potential clients have heard all the sales rhetoric before. They can see all of your old school closes coming a mile away. They can sniff antiquated selling strategies, and will immediately tune out on presentations not deemed relevant.
Whether you are using spin-selling, soft-selling or any number of outdated, one size fits all selling methodologies, your sales are suffering whether you believe it or not.
“If you want to increase your sales revenue, increase your client satisfaction, drive your brand equity, stop selling and start adding value”
SALES REPS MUST LISTEN TO THE VOICE OF THEIR CLIENTS
Successful copier sales reps listen.
“There is so much you can learn when you just listen”
Sales reps love to talk. Many times we listen with the intent to answer versus listening with the intent to understand. We tend to have the bad habit of listening to answer the question. While our prospect or client is speaking we are already formulating our response in our heads and not hearing their full message. Many times we then interrupt because we are so anxious to share our thoughts.
Listening is the key to becoming a powerful copier sales rep inside this relationship economy. Developing excellent listening skills separates the good from the great. When you listen to your clients and prospects you uncover their pain points, their business goals, their personal data; all this to do one thing – strengthen the relationship.
When you don’t listen you miss all the critical material to build a meaningful relationship.
In a previous blog, 5 Proactive Paths Nex Gen Sales Reps Use To Grow Their Sales Revenue, I refer to nex gen sales reps developing a proactive sales strategy in order to gain net new business or cross sell solutions to existing clients. No proactive developmental sales strategy is a recipe for disaster.
The same can be said for listening. Nex gen copier sales reps must become proactive listeners. Only 13% of customers believe a sales person can understand their needs. If a copier sales rep doesn’t understand what their prospect’s problems are, how can they sell them a solution?
Ask questions and learn about their needs, challenges and their pain points. Ask open-ended questions to get information, peel it back even more and probe for clarification. Then go onto summarize what they said to show you were listening and you have accurately understood their business problem.
COPIER SALES REPS… IT IS NOT ABOUT YOU!
It’s not about you, your dealership, your products nor your services. It’s about meeting your clients and prospects needs and adding value. When you start paying more attention to them by building real authentic relationships, you’ll find you no longer have a sales revenue problem to complain about.
The single most important factor in creating additional sales – become a relationship engineer. If you don’t engineer absolutely everything around your client, your client relationships will vanish before your very eyes.
Don’t be just another vendor, become a trusted advisor and advocate. You can do it!
I understand where you all are coming from. I have walked a day in a life of your shoes.
I am fully committed to helping your sales team integrate social selling into your current sales process to grow net-new business. I want you to get results. This is why I am passionate about doing this the right way.
“Being a part of Larry’s Social Sales Academy changed the way I view the power of social in today’s sales environment. Larry does an incredible job of tying techniques, skills and the science behind social selling to real life success outcomes and industry specific examples. He’s dynamic in his presentation and his content is relevant. I highly recommend any sales person or sales leader looking to increase their opportunities for success speak to Larry about what his training has to offer.”
Mike Maccabe, Toshiba America Business Solutions
In 2016, Larry was recognized by ENX Magazine, “The Difference Maker” as someone who is making a difference inside the copier channel. Larry is passionate about helping sales reps succeed in creating their online brand image
You can find more blog posts inside the Social Sales Academy website.
I appreciate getting the opportunity to share my LinkedIn stories. Integrating the use of LinkedIn was my “game-changer” in the highly competitive copier world. With great pride I transform, coach and inspire B2B Office Technology Sales Professionals to grow net new business by helping them tell their story and communicate on LinkedIn. My commitment is to help office technology dealers thrive in a changing marketplace. You can follow me on LinkedIn, Twitter, as well as at the Social Sales Academy