What matters to you most about how your Employer honors you as an employee?
Archive for October, 2009
Written by Shirleen Von Hoffmann Sales Coach and President of Home Builders AdvantEdge and Creating Vips
For as long as I can remember, in my entire professional Sales Career which spans over a period of twenty five years, I could count the memorable sales meetings on one hand. By memorable I mean meetings that really mattered to me.
Most Sales Meetings start with product and status updates, some chat about what is going on in the market place and possibly end with some sales game or the lower producers getting reprimanded in front of their peer group, due to poor sales. Not a real good way to motivate your teams.
When you have a Sales Meeting hopefully you visualize and execute it as a time to inspire, encourage and support your Sales Teams because I can tell you from years of experience that is what they need. Unfortunately very few Sales Meetings really MATTER to Sales People. Why? Because they don’t get what they need. They don’t get anything to take away. They don’t learn anything new.
Sales People are good, no they are great! They are like no other employee in your organization. They require specials skills and special handling but you are rewarded greatly when you have really great ones working for you. You have to be a great Manager to challenge them and develop their skill sets. Relative, information that they can take back to the field and use in their everyday routines IS what they need. They like it when you teach them how to handle situations that they are challenged with. For instance most new home Sales People are challenged with moving Fence Sitters and would welcome a meeting that shows them techniques for moving fence sitters or overcoming objections or how to ask the right questions and especially closing techniques.
So if you want to make your Sales Meetings Matter and your Sales Teams Matter, Just follow our M-A-T-T-E-R technique and you will see your Sales People turning on in your meetings in no time.
M – Mold
Mold the Sales skills you want to see from your Sales People. Making it known what your expectations are first, then support those expectations with training and coaching and behaviors learned will make your Sales People winners. Make sure you leave at least twenty minutes each meeting dedicated to molding new skills and mindsets.
A – Action Items
Make sure each meeting has action items “Homework” they can take away and work on. Make sure you start each new meeting off with review of the action items you discussed in the previous meeting and how it changed their Sales process over the last week.
T – Time
If you have read my article on Sales and ADHD you know that 80% of sales people have some form of ADHD. Make your meetings timely meaning within an hour if you can, interesting and engaging. Keep their attention with current information, meaningful topics and discussion they can benefit from.
T – Trends
Make sure you information in the meeting is the latest in the industry and addresses current trends. Sales People always need support with what is going on in their sales offices TODAY. » More: Make Your Sales Meetings M-A-T-T-E-R?
(This is an article I wrote for NAHB National Association of Home Builders for their Sales and Marketing Magazine published October 15, 2009.)
Selling in economically turbulent times is problematic especially when you are selling a big ticket item like real estate and most of our current economic challenges are with real estate. How do you close when you have FEAR? It’s not the falling Dow Jones, the S&P, Recessions, nor the price of oil that is the problem.
No, our fundamental problem lies in the resultant consumer confidence crisis. People are afraid to buy. The constant bad news has created a perfect storm of economic deadlock, leaving people frozen in place and uncertain what to do.
How do we and our sales team, address that fear?
The first thing to do is to assess and understand what the changing marketplace actually means to your buyer and consider the following:
What are the biggest challenge my target market is facing?
How can I overcome that challenge?
How can I reassure them?
How can I close them?
Companies that survive and thrive in tough times will be the companies that quickly adapt to changing circumstances.
With that in mind here are;
Four Universal Concepts that should prove useful to every sales person:
1) Overcome the obstacle whatever it is
Our current obstacle mentioned above can be a hard thing to get around but you can do it by examining the facts.
If people are afraid to buy because of timing then you need to prove that the timing is right for buying. Put yourself in their shoes, they are hearing so much in the media about recessions, depressions, job losses and such that they might be missing an opportune time to buy. It’s up to you to give the different, better perspective of the market and make them think about the once in a lifetime opportunity they may be missing by waiting.
For instance right now is a great time to buy because we have low prices and low rates, a very rare combination. It has been over thirty years since rates and prices have been this low. Rarely in history have we had both pricing and rates at all time lows.
Marketing-Prepare marketing materials that show now this the time to buy. Have historical charts that prove your points so you can hand them to potential buyers to review and calm their anxieties.
Here is my newly published article for the National Association of Home Builders NAHB published 10-15-2009
By Shirleen Von Hoffmann President of HomeBuilder’s AdvantEdge Copyright 2009
The market appears to be settling, and a new market lies before us. Things have changed and we can’t just start operating again as we did during the boom nor can we continue to act as we have during the recession, we are in a New World.
New Home Builders and their Sales Teams must have new ideas, strategies and partnerships to be truly successful in our new world. There is always a plateau before you start a market ascent. Our plateau might last for some time as we have some complicated economic challenges to work out.
During the peak of the recession many Builders made great Broker relationships but it wasn’t easy. Brokers were skeptical and didn’t trust the Builders who now need their help. Why? Because in the past Builders shunned them. If a Brokers client’s looked at a new home without the Broker present they had to walk a gauntlet to get a commission or referral fee for that sale. And many times Builders didn’t pay a co-op at all. Realtors just stopped showing Builder properties because they didn’t feel respected or valued by Builders.
But what if we thought differently about these partnerships in our “New World”? What if we wrapped a different outlook on these partnerships and for the long term? What if we considered the Brokers to be our “Outside Sales Reps” welcomed them to our teams and paid them accordingly for their efforts? How could that benefit our New Home Sales for the long haul and change our futures?
Let’s go over some ideas being used to create and sustain these partnerships and collaborations.
Aligning Companies that complement each other.
Creating collaborations makes sense in tough markets and in all markets. It makes sense when it makes money, shares costs, saves resources, adds employees, adds traffic and grows market share.
Take a look at the market place now, you see successful collaborations everywhere. A few examples of this sort of idea are strip malls with the same Anchor tenants partnering over and over again throughout the country. Placing a fast food chain, with an ice cream chain, on a gas station property. The idea is to create a one stop shop. Builders can create the same partnerships with Brokers and create a one stop shop for housing solutions.
Set up win-win partnerships
Each Builder should have relationships with key Broker Agencies and set up those relationships from the top down. By doing this you can prearrange the details of the partnership from the corporate level and communicate that message throughout the organizations.
When you make these agreements on a corporate level, you can come up with pre-agreed commission structures and or flat referral fees. Then those Managers can communicate those fees throughout their organizations. Once the Sales Agents knows the Company has an approved collaboration and the terms and fees are set, it makes it easier for the Agent to show your property over your competitor’s.
Encourage from the top down, that your “Inside Sales Representatives” work with your “Outside Sales Representatives” and align these teams for success by being clear on goals and the elements of the partnership. Make it easy for your “Outside Representatives aka Brokers to deliver and get paid on new buyers they bring to you.
Size does make a difference
The Larger the Builder the more communities and floor plans the Brokers have to choose from to meet the needs of their clients.
The larger the Broker the more “Outside Sales Representatives” the Builder has working for them.
So it makes sense for “like minded” companies to develop these collaborations.
Join my linked in Group – “For Sales People Only” for more great Sales advise, tips and support. http://www.linkedin.com/e/vgh/2383283/
There are so many great things about being in Sales; I don’t know where to start. One of the most inspirational things to me about being in “Sales” is that I am in control of my destiny. I am Self Employed. Don’t get me wrong, many of you out there may work for major corporations but if you are “Sales Employed” you are “Self Employed”, even while working for a company.
If all those “Non-Sales” folks out there in the work place knew what great jobs we have, they would be beating down the door to grab up all the Sales Jobs. Glad they don’t know and we won’t tell them all the reasons why we love Sales so much. I am not really worried because the “Office 8-5 person”, doesn’t get the fun part of our job and the reasons why we are so good at it.
Here’s 30 Reasons Why We Love Sales; » More: Confessions of a Happy Sales Person
Check out my latest article on the get inspired project. This is a project where they are interviewing 365 people who inspire others and blogging on it everyday for a year. I talked about my soul work as a cancer coach.
You want to become “IN Shape”? If so, then you have to make sure you understand what it takes to be “IN” or “OUT” of shape.
If you exercise or if you’ve seen someone that really works out a lot, then you know the term “IN” Shape. To get “IN” Shape, you have to constantly improve in at least three areas: food intake, cardio vascular fitness and working your muscles. You work on those three items and you end up with those well-defined muscles. You will also tend to be less stressed, more energetic, healthier with a positive attitude and happier.
Are you “IN” or” OUT” of “Sales Shape” in your sales career?
• If you take a look at critical components of learning, are you:
Reading everything possible to improve your skill as a sales person?
• Meeting new people inside and outside your profession so that you are learning, growing and networking with others?
• Failing? Are you taking enough risk and failing periodically in your career so that you stretch your imagination and hone your skills?
• Growing? Are you growing your sales skills and practicing techniques, scripting and closing?
Or are you “OUT ”
• Tell people how you’ve been in the business for so many years and how many training sessions you’ve been to and that you know it all?
• Stay away from conferences and networking groups and isolating your circle of “experts” to those people that you’ve been hanging around since you started your career? In other words, you are continuing to do what has worked for you in the past.
• Act like you know it all when the truth is you don’t even practice the basic sales skills like getting a name and using it or getting contact information and actually following up and closing.
• Boast about sales you did in the past but actually you are falling behind the pack or being on top in your organization?
• Resent Trainers or Sales Managers who come in and try to teach you new skills or sharpen old skills?
• Notice “newbies” who come in sharp, with great energy and attitude passing you up on the “likable list” with the Sales Manager? Do you give these same “newbies’ a hard time?
Be tough on yourself. Be honest with yourself. Really ask yourself if you’ve allowed yourself to get comfortable with your routine, a little rusty and just a bit lazy with sharpening your saw? Most importantly have you let your attitude slip into a negative place?
If you can identify with items mentioned above, then you may, in fact, be in “OUT” of Sales Shape. And by being “OUT”, you just may find yourself being put “OUT”.