The Selling Newsletter
The Selling Quote
never understand why they cook on TV. I can't smell it. Can't eat
it. Can't taste it. The end of the show they hold it up to the camera,
"Well, here it is. You can't have any. Thanks for watching.
Jerry has a point about making your selling easier. Can your customers experience your product before they buy? If they can, it will be much easier for them to buy from you. I’m in the speaking business. I notice that when someone has referred me to the conference or sales meeting planner, it’s a much shorter sales cycle. Why? They know someone has experienced the product—me. That’s why I offer a demo video of an actual presentation so clients can see just what they’re buying. When your customers experience your product before they buy, it reduces their risk and helps them buy. What if you can’t get customers to experience your product? Show them your testimonial letters which include quantified results from other customers. That’s just like the cooking on TV. You might not be able to eat it, but when you see what they cook (the results), you just might want to cook it yourself and buy the cookbook.
Your Monthly Selling Idea
When You Are the Customer
You may find that most of your time is focused on your customers—the ones who buy from you. There is another important customer to think about in sales. It’s you. If you haven’t thought about your satisfaction as an employee, you can find research on how salespeople want to be managed. What you do with these results can make your selling and your job more satisfying.
Salespeople are different. Marjorie Mathison Hance is the Chair of the Business Administration Department at the College of St. Catherine in St. Paul, Minnesota. She is a former National Sales Manager for Honeywell. In 2001, she conducted a research study on how sales professionals want to be managed. Sales professionals are unique because they represent the only function in a company not located close to its management. As a result, day-to-day contact varies greatly and feedback and communication can become more challenging. Mathison Hance examined critical aspects of management that were desired by different age groups in sales organizations. These critical aspects included: communication and feedback, support and mentoring, motivation, desirable and undesirable management behaviors, and tenure with their companies.
The findings. Four multinational companies participated in the survey. Survey results of all surveyed were 89% indicated the amount of feedback they receive from their managers was “about right,” even though the amount of feedback varied greatly by age group. Those in the 21 – 30 year age range wanted contact with their managers several times a week, while those 40 and over wanted contact once a week or less. Weekly feedback was important to all age groups (44% overall indicated this was important.) Telephone is clearly the way respondents most preferred to have their Sales Managers communicate with them (68% vs. 14% email, or 16% in person.) Not surprisingly, less than 1% of all respondents preferred communication through written memos. There were 57% of those age 56-60 who preferred email, with telephone the second choice at 43%. No one in this age group preferred having his/her manager come in person. Mathison Hance comments, “These people want to work with knowledgeable people who get back to them fast.”
Most interestingly, one-third indicated that their managers did not communicate with them in the way they most wanted. For almost a third of those whose communication preference didn’t match that of their managers, the manager communicated by phone and the sales representative wanted them to come in person. This was especially true for those under 30. For 20% of those whose communication preference did not match their managers’ preferences, their manager communicated in person and the sales professional wanted them to phone instead. For 18% who had managers who communicated via phone, they preferred email.
Why the results are important. Just as in any career, job satisfaction is important. In this survey, the primary motivator across all ages was job satisfaction. Many managers focus on motivating salespeople with prizes and other strategies. Mathison Hance says, “Bonuses and incentives do focus attention in the short term, but what motivates for the long term is job satisfaction.” Mathison Hance says that sales reps want job satisfaction. How one communicates with one’s manager and the frequency of communication contributes to job satisfaction. She says, “Other aspects of job satisfaction included how supportive sales reps felt their managers were, how satisfactory their interaction was with peers— especially for younger reps and how interesting their work was.”
Job satisfaction is individually determined by the sales rep. Let your manager know what job satisfaction means to you. Managers sometimes assume they know when they may not. While your manager may determine the frequency of face-to-face contact, you could discuss your preference for email or telephone communication. Mathison Hance’s research found that job satisfaction was three times more likely than salary or opportunity for advancement to be the reason sales professionals would leave their companies. The good news for managers is that the research showed that 65% of all respondents indicated they would like to stay with that company for the rest of their career, or as long as the company would have them. It was even higher (73%) for those ages 21-30. Perhaps it is the strong corporate values these companies represent that contributed to this result.
Yes, having satisfied customers is important. Just remember to consider yourself as one of the customers so you can have a long and satisfying sales career.
1. Is your boss giving you your preferred feedback? If not, use positive reinforcement. The next time your boss does give you the preferred method, say how helpful it is to motivate you to sell more. You just might get more of the feedback you want.
2. Are you getting enough feedback? If not, ask for more feedback.
What’s your selling issue?
Having trouble setting your appointment? Closing the deal? See if your issue is answered or ask it and get an answer.
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Written by Maura Schreier-Fleming, [email protected]( BestatSelling.com.) Maura Works with business and sales professionals who want to sell more and be more productive at work. She is the author of Real-World Selling for Out-of-this-World Results.
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About Maura Schreier-Fleming
Invite Maura to speak at your next conference or sales meeting! Contact: email@example.com
Maura Schreier-Fleming works with business and sales professionals to make it easier to sell more and be more productive at work. Her clients include Fujitsu, Fannie Mae and Dr Pepper/7UP.
With over 20 years of sales experience, she teaches the art and science of selling with a unique hands-on perspective and a great deal of real-life insight. She is the author of Real-World Selling for Out-of-this-World Results (a book filled with ideas to make selling easier and more productive.)
Her business column ‘Selling Strategies’ appears in the Insurance Record magazine and her column ‘Street Talk’ appears in Jobbers World. Maura has an M.S. in Textile Engineering from Georgia Tech and was Mobil Oil’s first female lubrication engineer in the U.S.
You can contact her for seminars at company or trade association meetings at 972 380 0200 or info@BestatSelling.com
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