Seems like time management is on everybody’s mind these days. It is the number one issue stated as the reason things cannot get done – I don’t have any time is the trigger statement for time management.
And, the major issue with time management is mostly due to Time Wasters you need to avoid whenever possible if you want greater b2b sales success.
So here are the eight major time wasters to avoid in b2b sales…
- Selling to the Wrong Buyer
Double major time waster. If you are using major clunks of time selling to unqualified buyers or worst people who have no authority to make buying decisions, then you are not selling. Visiting people with no purpose is socializing rather than selling. Get in the game with the real decision makers.
- Poor to No Planning
Another of the major time wasters of b2b sales people. Here is where the sales superstars separate themselves from the average b2b sales person. They have a plan – in fact they usually have several plans – an annual account plan, a quarterly plan and most importantly, call plans for every sales call. Sales people on average spend more time planning a vacation than planning where their next major sale is coming from. Have a purpose and a flexible plan for every customer visit – it will keep you on track for winning the account.
- Long Off Subject Chats
Talk about a time waster, this is major complaint from buyers – sales people wasting their time chatting about anything except the problem or situation. This is usually a sign of an unprepared sales person or a poorly skilled b2b sales person who does not understand the power of using questioning to control a sales interview.
- Lunch Without a Purpose
Some of the best advice I ever got was from a superstar sales person who advised me to stop eating alone or only with friends unrelated to work. He shared he takes a customer to lunch as often as possible. Why you may ask? Because you can build a trust based relationship during these informal settings of having lunch. Personally, I have found it is easier to get important information during a lunch than when meeting in the buyers office or some other formal setting. Use this time wisely and you gain an advantage over your competition.
- No Appointments
Just dropping in on an account was a wonderful tactic before the 1990’s. It is one of the “good old boy” tactics that has gone the route of the buggy whip! Winging it and good old boy tactics are no longer acceptable sales techniques and you must get appointments with your decision makers and buyer influence types in your accounts. And, confirming the appointment the day before or the morning of the account is also a good thing. A lot of sales people do not call to confirm an appointment stating it gives the customer or prospect a chance to cancel the appointment. My take on the same situation is it gives me an advantage in two ways – one, I don’t waste my valuable time going somewhere for no reason and two, the customer now owes me their time and attention for cancelling a scheduled meeting. By the way, I always get a new meeting date at the time they cancel the original appointment.
- Having No Leave Behind Material
There are really two schools of thought on this topic. One school is – it is better to have something of interest to mail or email to a customer to add to the number of touches for an account or reasons for follow-up. When this is part of a sales strategy it is okay. However,the other school of thought is – it is important to leave behind information that supports your reason for the original appointment. You can include success stories or white papers designed to increase your credibility with the customer. Leaving brochures can be helpful, yet unfortunately, many times these flyers go to file thirteen. I have found before leaving any additional information, check with the customer regarding what additional information they need or want. This improves the probability the buyer will keep and read your information.
- Poor Product Knowledge
I have run into this issue with various sales people who call on our business. In multiple cases we were very interested in buying, yet, the sales person(s) had no personal knowledge about their product or service. This is very frustrating to buyers and especially fast paced and impatience buyers who want to make a decision and move on to their next project – but cannot due to a lack of knowledge on base items during the sales call. Two points – if your product has an internet presence, then learn the product information or your customer will know more than you know about your own product. And two, understand the pricing of your product or service – the “I don’t how much that costs.” statement while it could be an honest statement only frustrates a fast paced decision maker. Know your pricing and your product if you want sales success.
- Being Late for Appointments
This is another I should not have to point out to b2b sales people, yet, it seems to happen everyday and the buyers have opinions about these sales people. It is simple – they lose trust in you and your company. Trust is built on doing what you say you will do – it is earned. Being late shows a disrespect for the customer as an individual. Earn the buyer’s trust by being on time for every appointment. By the way, if something does happen that is unusual – flat tire, plane flight delay or canceled flight – then call immediately to keep your customer informed of your situation. Ask about alternative solutions – dates or available times and gain a commitment. Never ever just miss an appointment with no communication. Sorry about the rant – being on time is important.
This are the major time wasters to avoid. Use this information to gain more time for your personal b2b sales success.
Remember, the only thing you have to trade with customers is Your Time. Lose it and you lose more often. Use your Time more productively and you win more b2b sales opportunities.