Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Are Your Salespeople Really Selling?

What are your salespeople doing right now?
Are they face-to-face with prospects, or are they bogged down with paperwork? Surprisingly, many are sitting behind a desk pushing paper. That’s the conclusion Allen Minster, president of Integrated Marketing Systems, came to when he studied the selling habits of insurance sales professionals. Minster’s study found that the average salesperson spent only five hours a week actually selling and less than one and a half hours each week prospecting for new business. That comes out to six and one-half hours of a 40-hour business week.
The problem is that most salespeople spend too much time on things that don’t matter, said Minster, who has spent a career helping companies develop sales processes. Minster recently discussed sales at the monthly Grace Advisors executive briefing.
According to Minster, co-author of “Sales Utopia—Getting the Right People To Do The Right Things—Enough Times,” salespeople should be focused on only these activities: Presentations to decision makers (qualifying and closing); cross-marketing to existing clients; and resolving client issues that no one else in the company can “fix.”
“If your salespeople are not doing one of these things, they are simply not selling, and you are losing money on them,” Minster said.
What can you do to help your salespeople succeed? For one, allow and encourage them to spend more time selling. Instead of adding more salespeople, hire an administrative support employee to take the nonselling tasks away from your sales force. Or, maybe it’s time to retool your sales process, allowing your sales force to spend more time actually doing their job—selling.
“Sales is a numbers game. If you want increased sales, you have to increase the number of selling opportunities.”

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