Monday, March 23, 2009

Sales 101: With your Professor, Adam

It is no secret. I am a sales guy. I have been doing this for a long time. I have sold air, checking accounts, Mortgages, and now cell phones. I have worked in the retail environment, outside sales environment, and even inside sales. I have been successful in all these different roles.

Almost a decade into a sales career I have went from making minimum wage to making a living that is comfortable enough. I am always hungry for more. I don't want to stop. Its not the money that really energizes me. Its the challenge. The challenge to find the people to sell to.

In the cellphone industry, market share is drying up, the Cleveland market is so far penetrated, 6 out of 10 people carry a cellphone from my company. Like most companies, being happy with the status quo is not the norm. They are still pushing to grow the company. They know that 60% of the market is ours, but they still want more.

Many retail sales reps are still stuck in the regular funk of working in retail. Sure our company has policies in place so we don't create overlap. We have outside business reps, and retail sales reps. Business reps can't come into the store to sell, and retail reps can't leave the store and sell to businesses. If the businesses come into a store we still help them, but we can't leave to go get it.

Many retail guys think that because they are stuck in a store, they have to sit around and wait for the sales to walk in. Sure sales do walk in, but if you sat and waited for it, you're going to quickly get fired, because with our market being penetrated so far, the familes converting to my company are few and far between.

Now since I have made the switch from middle manager to front line sales rep, I have noticed an unhealthy complacency. The sales reps in the store have seen the large commission checks shrink. Reps 5 years ago were making so much money that many drove BMW, or Mercedes. They were that loaded. Now if you can make 1/3 of that, you are doing well. Because they aren't used to working too hard, they don't know how to sell, successful reps back then could just help more customers than the guy next to them. Customers told them what they wanted and the sold it. Simple as that.
Now if the customer doesn't tell them what they want then they are lost, because asking a qualifying question is the most forgien thing to them.

The secret to being a sales rep isn't to listen to what they want on the surface, its listening to the cues they give you underneath. Its asking them questions that you know the answers to. Its educating the customer.

Many sales reps, especially in my line of work, don't understand that the work you do today will pay off later. They are so short sighted. Sure they might not buy anything today, but by being nice and spending time with them, many customers will come back and buy later. But because the reps don't want to be bothered with account maintenance, they miss out on sales. Sure you may spend an hour with a customer and get absolutely dick, but then again, if you didn't try, you'd never know.

So stop blaming the economy on the lack of new traffic, and look at what happened really. The market you work in is 60% penetrated. People didn't stop buying, they have bought already.

If the economy was so bad, why is the fastest growing segment in the cell phone industry the smart phone? The average price per smart phone is $150 after rebate, and they all come with an additional price tag of $30-$60 per month. Its bad? Yeah right.

It all comes down to this. Get off your ass and work! Shut the fuck up and get to work. You need to step up your game and get it done. Use your personal network. Stop relying on walk in traffic, and find it yourself. Build your relationships.
I am just tired of the excuse, the economy is hurting us. No its not. I work for one of the companies CNN says is the best company to work for in the economic downturn. I'm not worried.


It's Just Me said...

I have to say too much anesthesia on my brain still to focus on the whole post - sorry man, it's true, but just leaving you a note saying I was here checking in and saying hi :)

mouse (aka kimy) said...

I wonder what will be next after cell phones...

glad you are passionate about what you do! that is important....