Your company is growing and you’re facing new sales challenges everyday – I know what it’s like! Don’t let your workflow get messed-up and deal with problems as they arise – check out my 11 solutions to common pains of start-up salespeople.
If you’re in sales, I bet you could list tens of things you have to get better at (even based on what you did just today). That’s just the way we are – always pushing to be better.
Striving for perfection can be a huge asset for salespeople – as well as our toughest enemy. Improvement is awesome, but I don’t approve of working yourself into the ground. Work smarter, not harder!
Start optimising your workflow today, with 11 quick solutions for common problems. Applying these ideas takes relatively little time (minutes, hours) and will quickly generate big ROI – you’ll save time, have less to deal with, and clean your mind of distractions to focus on your main priorities.
11 common salespeople issues:
1. I never have free time after working and doing house chores!
Cleaning your own apartment or grocery shopping isn’t going to help you reach your 1 mil quota goal this year – so delegate it. Set up a “time fund” worth 300 $/month and buy your own time back. Use that time to improve in any way you see fit. Once the investment generates ROI (you increase client capacity, improve your skills), increase the size of the fund. It will take half an hour today to set up your first “time fund” and buy a few hours of your life.
Simple rule of thumb: if you’re making 30$/hour, you shouldn’t do stuff that can be delegated for up to 10$/hour.
2. I feel like I’m not using the right arguments
Your best pitch will be targeted at an exact issue that your prospect is facing, so don’t waste time trying to figure out catchy lines and tricks.
It will take virtually no effort today to remind yourself not to talk so much during your next conversation, and actually listen to the other person – without coming up with snappy counterarguments in your mind.
3. I’m constantly putting out fires, does it ever stop?
Whenever you see something that needs minor fixing – immediately do it or write down a plan and a deadline. Otherwise you’ll stall indefinitely, and unresolved issues (no matter how small) will compound to keep you in constant panic mode. Badly formatted email footer? Grammar mistakes in your email campaign? Outdated PDF offer?
2-3 minutes today and at least one of these will be dealt with (dealing with something also includes delegating it to a co-worker when you’re too busy). Or just block 2 hours each Friday to deal with issues one at a time and make 52 improvements in a year.
4. I’m not even sure what to tell customers anymore, what the hell?
Do you know the “why?”, “who?”, “where?” and “what for?” of your product/service? Can you list all the problems you solve? Are you up to date with changes? Dynamic start-up teams change so much everyday that you just have to stay in the information loop.
Talk to marketers, developers, your CEO – learn how they perceive your product/service and company, how their work is going, how they see the future. It will take you 5 minutes to talk to a colleague about how work is progressing in another department, and you’ll already be able to answer more questions.
5. I’m not fully satisfied with the deals I close
Your best clients are your most valuable asset. See what they have in common because that’s the group you want to focus on, and it defines the type of leads you should generate. It might take you 4 hours today to dig through data, pick 25 of your best clients and research what connects them.
You’ll become an expert in a narrow group of clients, and get better at closing deals to mutual satisfaction.
6. My phone died and I couldn’t call my client!
Buy a charger for the office, a charger and a powerbank to carry in your bag, and keep your original charger at home. It will take you an hour today to buy this stuff (or 10 minutes to order), but the decrease in battery-related pains – priceless! And instant. Your phone dying is never an excuse.
7. I can’t connect with my clients
Let people share their experience and everyday struggles, ask questions to learn what you can help with – don’t focus only on the “business” side of things. Every call, meeting and demo can help you better understand your customers if you’re actively fishing for those tiny bits of insight.
It will take you 2 minutes today to start a journal on google docs and write a new thing you learned from your customer. Each thing you add will help you better connect with your clients.
8. I’m doing my best and still losing clients, how does that happen?
At Righthello, we increased sales by 71% when we worked on our sales cycle. You create value by talking, asking and calling, not by re-typing the same data 10 times. Double down on what provides value and minimise the workload on everything else you do.
I wrote about improving sales cycles not too long ago – Increase sales by taking 6 steps. Following advice from that article – it will take you an hour to map-out your cycle on a whiteboard and realise where you’re making mistakes.
9. I rarely get referred to
Use our Linkedin strategy for generating referral leads easily. Go through someones (current client, startup friend) network and find 3 people that could become your clients. Ask the person for introductions to those 3 people (short email with an attached introduction template that they could simply forward to the 3 people) – more details in the article.
10. Too many times I end up talking to clients that aren’t really interested
You need to set-up a reliable, formalized lead qualification process. It will help you quickly decide if someone should be your client. Don’t push it – when you realize that a prospect isn’t the right fit, tell them and explain why. One of my first posts on this blog was about lead qualification – qualify leads from cold emails.
It will take you 5 minutes to ask the next client you talk to a few additional questions (like „Would you consider our service/product as something useful to your business?”) to really make sure they’re interested.
11. People look at me weirdly when they see me on Skype
Look behind you, then look in the mirror. It’s not necesarrily a deal-breaking problem, but a good impression on Skype does affect how clients view you and your company (even if only subconsciously).
It will take you 10 minutes today to adjust your tie, hair-do and find a good-looking background (or clean up the space behind your desk) for your next Skype call .
What’s the secret of sales rockstars?
The top 10% in sales don’t use specially crafted spells and potions – they just do all the regular stuff better and faster.
11 common problems solved! Pick one solution to try today. The more your start-up grows, the more efficient you’ll have to be – and I’m 150% convinced you should start working on it before you’re too busy to even think about workflow improvements.
Start right now and make more time for chasing the opportunities around you!