Saturday, January 17, 2009

Are Your Salespeople Selling?

Now, more than ever, it is important to create selling opportunities for your reps.
Some firms, however, are doing just the opposite.
Allen Minster, author, sales coach and president of Integrated Marketing Systems, studied the sales habits of insurance reps and the findings were shocking. His study found that the average sales rep spent only 5 hours a week actually selling and 1 1/2 hours a week prospecting for new business. That comes out to 6 1/2 hours of a 40-hour work week.
As owner of your business, are you contributing to this problem? The trend today, especially with layoffs and corporate downsizing, is to make salespeople a jack-of-all-trades. Some owners expect sales reps to be closers, presenters, collection agents, proposal writers, graphic artists, etc.
According to Minster, 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 three things, they are simply not selling, and you are losing money on them.
All businesses are trying to watch expenses these days, but make sure you're still helping your sales reps increase their selling opportunities.
--Ron Ameln, SBM

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

When It Comes to The Economy, Is Denial A Good Thing?

I had an interesting conversation with a business owner today. The owner, who is in the office furniture business, proudly told me "His company has elected not to participate in the recession?" Because of this attitude, he said, business is "GREAT."
My first thought was, "Wow, can you say denial." I mean, I often elect not to participate looking bald and middle-aged. I elect to look like Brad Pitt--then I look in the mirror. I hope it works better for the office furniture guy than it's turning out for me.
Now, I don't know if his business is great or not, although I find it hard to believe. I mean, most businesses are just hoping to remain flat this year, and with layoffs and with fewer companies starting, I find it hard to believe phones are ringing off the hook with businesses seeking new office furniture. I mean, the last thing they need at Pfizer or AB is office furniture. But, what do I know.
I talk to some business owners and they don't seem to acknowledge any problems with the economy. Is that a good thing? It's one thing to be positive (that's a good thing) but another to be in denial. I mean, if you don't recognize the upcoming storm or the storm you are in, how can you adjust course to stay afloat. How can you prepare your financials, cut costs, discover new revenue streams, if everything is fine and you are not participating in the recession.
Maybe it comes down to your customers. Attention Mr. Business Owner, if your customers are participating in the recession, so are you. You'd better prepare to tackle the challenge.
--Ron Ameln, SBM