The Corona virus crisis has affected sales as we know it.
Most successful salespeople and their managers know that one of the key points for success in sales is face to face contact with buyers. When this is not possible then we can consider the telephone, Skype, Zoom and any other electronic mechanism. The last resort should be e-mail.
Right now, salespeople are facing the reality of working remotely. No face to face contact with buyers nor the office and that means no face to face contact with their manager and or support teams.
Here are a few ideas for sales leaders to consider when managing their team remotely.
- Set clear expectations.
Activities: Number of phone calls / contacts per day. Number of quotes / proposals per day. Number of follow-up calls per day. Conversion rate / sales. Etc.
As long as salespeople know what is expected of them, they will have something to aim at, a target.
- Ensure connectivity.
You may need to invest in things like tablets / laptops for salespeople to complete their reports and process orders remotely.
If your salespeople already have these tools you will need to ensure that they are able to use them effectively. (Companies IT set up. Provide the necessary data. Etc.)
- Keep communication flowing
With salespeople, having to work remotely during the crisis, communication is more important than ever.
For managers communicating with their salespeople who are working remotely / from home, it’s easy for both parties to let time get away from them.
Be aware of how much or how little you are communicating.
For any of you who have attended my Sales Managers Bootcamp you will have heard me say that salespeople are like kids, they need constant supervising, guidance and encouragement. (I say this with respect as I am also a salesperson)
- Encourage a culture of action.
I.E. Stop complaining and start looking for solutions. This is a time and an opportunity for salespeople to become “Heroes” in the workplace.
Create a WhatsApp group specifically for this project. It’s to be used ONLY for “success stories” and queries, NOT complaints. I.E. “I got ABC wholesalers this morning. I have been working on it for two weeks and it’s now finalised”
“Does anyone have a suggestion for what to say when we come up against (insert objection)” This needs to be a “positive” group focused on success and peer learning, not complaining and not discussing personal stuff. “It’s my cousins wedding on Saturday …. “
Working remotely, alone, requires DISCIPLINE. You must ensure that your team stick to their commitments because with more freedom, there’s also the temptation of distraction.
Set up a “Real time” check-in programme. Get your team to understand that this is not micromanaging but rather for the purpose of offering support. That means you must provide information, get information and add value with each communication “check-in”.
Check-in times are 08:00 / 11:00 / 14:00 / 16:30.
During the 08:00 check-in you will expect their plans for the day. I.E. Activities. (Phone calls, meetings [face to face or remotely] quotes / proposals they are working on, follow-up calls, sales [conversions])
The 11:00 and 14:00 check-ins are follow-ups and to offer support and advice.
The 16:30 check-in will be a wrap up of the day.
If you feel that this is too much then a good starting point will be a morning start up contact (expected activities and targets for the day) and an end of the day check-in (what was achieved, what’s to be carried over, what support is required, etc.)
What’s important with “real time” managing is that you don’t come across as micromanaging but rather as recording the numbers and offering support.
Your check-ins can be telephonic, Skype, ZOOM, Google hangout or similar. Only use e-mail communication as a back-up to one of the above, don’t use e-mail as your primary communication with your team.
Encourage your salespeople to stick with their normal routine as far as possible. I.E. Shower and get dressed at the normal time in the morning, don’t stay in pyjamas while working. Get them to act as if they are going to the office. This will help them to separate their work time from their downtime. It will also help them to be in a “I am at work” mind-set.
- Remote meetings.
Make use of ZOOM or Google hangout if possible.
They both have screen share functionality. You can create a PowerPoint slide or two as a visual aid for your talking points. It’ll make communication clearer and you can make the document available later for anyone who missed the meeting.
I am not the most technically talented individual but have found my brief encounter with ZOOM to be simple and successful. It’s easy to use and allows for group participation. I.E. questions and answers. Just play around with it for a while and you will get the idea.
Finally. Don’t panic.
Don’t have a “victim” mentality, stick your head out and be a “leader” during this time.
I look forward to seeing and hearing from you all again on the other side of this.
I want to wish you and your teams lots of success and lots and lots or sales!
My “RAP®” Selling sales training programmes are developed to help salespeople overcome the common problems in sales.
The programmes are all customized and focus on giving salespeople simple “How to” skills and techniques to enhance what they are currently doing.
My programmes range from one and a half hour modules to two full days. I also offer one-on-one coaching and consulting.I focus on changing attitudes and behaviours and encourage salespeople to take responsibility for their own success in sales, starting with improving their knowledge and skills daily.
I help them to get out of their comfort zone and doing things differently.
In today’s world of business, selling is the #1 skill set in any organization. No company can exist without sales and no sales can happen without well-trained and well-motivated salespeople. (Sales Professionals).
The companies who are succeeding in business right now are those companies who have realized the importance of this and have invested in training their salespeople to be Sales Professionals.
I offer a full money back guarantee. If you are not satisfied with the training provided you will receive a full refund.
Contact me now for a FREE Assessment to identify your Sales Team’s Gaps and how to close them.
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© 2020 Ray Patterson. All materials, images and contents contained herein are the intellectual property of Ray Patterson and may not be copied, reproduced, distributed, displayed, adapted or modified without Ray Patterson’s express permission. Any unauthorized copying, reproduction, distribution, display, adaptation or modification will amount to copyright infringement.