Recently, I had an exciting conversation about sales with a young producer. After one of my workshops, a few of the participants were sharing stories about demanding clients they had worked with over the past year. The story was told by a young man about a prospect he had been following for several months. He traded phone calls, made proposals, and finally reached out to the client. He was proud to say that he won the business but that it had taken him a lot of effort and time.
After congratulating him for his new client and the commission earned, I gently pointed out that there were many lessons to be learned from this sale. Despite our pride in the most complex sales, they are often not the most profitable. They are often the worst.
We are not paid per hour as commissioned salespeople. It doesn’t matter if it takes us 30 minutes to get a new client. What matters is the results. You will make more money if you close accounts quickly or attract more customers.
This shouldn’t be taken to mean that you should rush to sell. A salesperson who does not take the time to understand what their customer wants and needs is one of the most annoying and inefficient things. There’s no reason not to do the right thing and get things done. Each minute lost on a sale is a missed opportunity to work on the next.
Here are some tips to make your selling time more efficient.
Learn when to take the bait.
Although I don’t enjoy fishing, I believe that this is an excellent analogy for a sales situation. Sometimes, a sale will take more effort than it is worth due to circumstances beyond your control. Although it might feel great to close a business that has been stalled for months or even years, it is rarely the best way to make a commission check.
Learn a sales system:
Any sales system, whether mine or another, that guides prospects from the initial meeting to the signed order slip, will be a huge time saver. This is because salespeople often have to “backtrack” when they forget to ask the right question or point out a significant advantage.
Clients don’t like long sales cycles.
Do you prefer a purchase to be quick and simple or long and complicated? There are some clients who enjoy the negotiation process, but most people just want to get the best solution for their problem. Remember that your clients have other priorities. Don’t waste time on meetings and proposals if you can just close the sale.
Instead of focusing on your efforts, learn to think in terms of outcomes.
This is the most challenging part of selling efficiently. It’s apparent that we were all taught to believe that the more we invest in something, the better it is and the more value our customers get. It’s just not true in sales. Our clients expect us to provide the best advice and answers. We must also understand their circumstances. You don’t have to spend a lot of time on each sale. While it is great to want to work hard, it is equally important that you work smart.
Salespeople get paid according to the number of orders they place and not how many hours they work. You’ll do a service to your customers and yourself by learning how to sell more efficiently.
Carl-Henry is a management consulting expert. He is a management consultant who specializes in helping companies select top sales and customer service talent. Carl is also a Certified Speaking Professional, the author of numerous books and articles on sales, customer service, and sales management. He hosts webinars and seminars for clients around the world.