What Are The Best Selling Tools?


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Rick, a sales manager that I am doing business with for quite some time entered my office the other day in total frustration. He was very concerned that his sales team was not making its sales quota. In addition he discovered that many of the sales team were utilizing old skills and receiving no results. The shareholders of the company were getting frustrated as was Rick. He could not understand why his sales team was using the Einstein theory of doing the same things and expecting a different result.

This frustration reminds me of the time when I was running track and field. After several months of getting aggravated about how to hurdle correctly I received a different coach, read books, listened to audios and did everything possible to work on technique. I discovered through trial and error that the only way to get better was to utilize tools that created effectiveness. Unfortunately many teams are not using effective tools.

Simply put better techniques:

  • Enables you to lessen labor and reduce stress
  • Provides more opportunities to meet decision-makers and meet sales goals
  • Better techniques allow for more confidence and subsequently more wins

Now do not misunderstand, for well over 29 years there is proof to show that without proper sales tools sales professionals cannot be successful. Sales managers therefore must ensure that just like an athlete that needs equipment for practice or a police officer who uses tools to patrol; salespeople must have tools to be proficient in their trade.

Here is a listing of some of the required tools:

  1. Wall Street Journal – As a passion I instruct graduate level students. I love to teach and enjoy the enthusiasm of students. Yet I am often surprised by the sheer lack of many students in a master’s program that do not read the Wall Street Journal daily. With well over 100 years of historical relevance the Wall Street Journal is the renowned periodical for every business professional. Sales professionals must understand the economic and political issues that affect current business. In order to become a buyer peer and trusted advisor this paper must be read to engage decision makers in provocative conversation.
  2. Annual reports – There are many selling professionals today that tend to use the Internet and numerous search technologies to discover information on prospective clients. While I do not disregard the use and opportunity of the Internet which I will discuss in this column, I do believe that many representatives dismiss the research opportunities involved in reading the annual report. In addition to financial results there is a wealth of information provided by the president of every organization to the strategies for the coming year.
  3. Internet research – Many selling professionals pick up the telephone today not knowing what to say before hello. I received one from Julian this morning trying to sell me copy service and I do not use a copy machine. Selling professionals are similar to detectives and must have voracious appetites for information so that they can engage buyers and have healthy discussion. Conduct research to know whom you are speaking to and what value you might offer.
  4. Industry trade journals – I know many sales managers that forward trade journals to their selling professionals. However in the interest of busyness none of the information is discussed. It is incumbent upon selling professionals to understand competitive pressures and future trends so that they can help potential buyers.
  5. Database research – There are a wealth of databases such as Hoover’s or Leadership Directories that provide the names and telephone numbers of possible economic buyers along with divisions and lines of business. Too many professionals today or listening to poor advice and cold calling numerous gatekeepers and getting rejected. Conduct some research on who is the proper person to contact.
  6. Customer relationship management – Many organizations utilize these massive databases housing both potential and existing clients. Yet many selling professionals pay little heed to the valuable information. Sales managers must ensure that professionals use this tool as it is the ultimate tool for engaging proper conversation and value.

As I mentioned there are numerous tools that will help sales managers ensure that their representatives are well armed against competitive forces. Those representatives that practice utilizing these tools are more like athletes in the field of play. Those that are not are merely spectators. Similar to how I helped Rick, ensure that your selling team uses the tools of the trade.

Our readers would love to know what other tools you use. Please provide your best practices in the comment area below. I look forward to hearing from you and reading about your tools.

© Drew J. Stevens Ph.D. All rights reserved.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Drew Stevens
Drew J. Stevens Ph.D. (Dr. Drew) is the author of Split Second Selling and the soon to be released Ultimate Business Bible and six other business books on sales, customer loyalty, self mastery and business development solutions. Drew helps organizations to dramatically accelerate revenue and outstrip the competition. He conducts over 4 international keynotes, seminars and workshops per year.


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