What has been most energizing for me as I work with sales teams from sports and entertainment is the fact that they are not afraid to say they want to be part of the process. They want to be building a strategy and using their creativity. They want to (gasp!) use their brain. What happened?
For so many years we have been reliving the 1980’s when there were less entertainment options, teams were building mega facilities and sports entertainment was ‘the’ place to be. We didn’t really sell as much as order take. We called from lists we were given. We were told to make 100 calls a day. We were given a script. And we were to close close close.
Today’s market is different. There are so very many options as to how to spend your weeknights/weekends. Tastes have changed. High pressure sales has gone the way of the used car salesmen. But while times changed, our strategy for selling hasn’t. We still ask for the 100 calls a day, call from a script, here’s a list and close close close. Why? Because people are afraid to step out of their comfort zone.
Let’s think about this. If we tell our sale staff to step out of their comfort zone, why are we, as leaders, so afraid to? One of the key things in leadership is to remember: we are only as good as the team around us. Put a strong, creative, collaborative and energizing team around you and they will not fail you. You will look like a hero.
So what should the 2017 sales staff look like?
- Empowered…allowed to be part of the process. Allow to be part of the process. Today’s sales reps are not the reps of the 80’s. They no longer want to be told what…they want to be part of the process…and rightly so. Think about it. Who makes decisions? Normally the people in charge who aren’t in the trenches listening to clients. If any of you have kids, you get this. If you tell them to do this and that, do you always get the results you hoped? Generally, after a while, it goes in one ear and out the other. Now ask your kids for their input. Suddenly they set the time frame to get things done, they start managing their day better and life becomes smoother. No different with your sales team. I’ve had teams that tell their sales staff: here is the pricing we’ve decided, here is the strategy we’ve decided, and here are the packages we’ve decided. And results are average at best. Now empower your team to help create the strategy for pricing ideas, how they would like to sell it, and the packages they feel would work. When it is their idea, do you think they are going to let it fail? Of course not. Suddenly, you have goals hit and a more energized team.
- Sales by prospecting. Interns can call from lists…why do we need sales staff? Prospecting enables you to use your brain…research, find who OUR people are, believing they are a fit. Prospecting and calling for an appointment starts the process of relationship building. Calling from lists becomes robotic and impersonal.
- Supersizing in creative ways. The best opportunity to use the brain comes in supersizing. How can we supersize season sales? Who can we go after to supersize group sales? This gets the creative juices flowing and the brain sparking. And this creates energy. Energy that is needed in the department. Enthusiasm. Passion.
- Utilizing social media. Why are so many teams afraid of this? Most likely they don’t understand it. They view it more as a millennial shortcoming instead of a millennial tool. I’ve had teams whose reps have smartly utilized group leaders on a twitter account and cross sold season. Smartly utilized season holders on twitter and cross sold groups. I have some who are starting groups on facebook for their season and for their group leaders to maximize sales opportunities. Let them be creative and create new ways to sell.
- Getting out of the office and meeting with people enables them to build relationships. How many phone calls does it take to build a relationship? If ever? Have a meeting with a prospect and you are already months ahead of numerous phone calls.
- Texting clients. Think about it. Back in the day we would quickly blast out an email if we had something exciting for our client. Nowadays, most of us text our urgency…so why not the sales rep? If the customer or prospect is comfortable with it, let our staff be comfortable with it.
I love today’s sales reps and find them some of the most energizing I have ever worked with. They challenge me with ideas, and that’s a great thing. I challenge them. And they respond by coming up with even better ideas. It’s time to take our reps to the next level of selling. All we need to do is provide the light bulb…they will be more than happy to turn it on!
Kathy Burrows, CEO Sold Out Seating
To take your reps to the next level: firstname.lastname@example.org
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