For many traditional distributors, the personal touch a sales rep provides remains an advantage over online sellers. Salespeople form relationships with their customers that allow them to assist customers effectively by combining product and industry knowledge with the customers' needs and budgets.
Very often, when a problem exists, the customer needs someone to offer solutions and test products that can solve issues and increase productivity. Commercial customers often need the knowledge a sales representative provides.
As we continue to adapt to the changing regulations and safety precautions, here are four areas sales reps should focus on:
Tip 1: Be Willing to Adapt
As things reopen, we should recognize that some customers, people, and processes, won’t return to normal, if ever, for a long time. So we must embrace the idea that things will be different. If you are struggling with accepting this, I recommend the book, “Who Moved My Cheese?” by Spencer Johnson. Among other lessons, it tells the story of how four mice react differently to someone moving their seemingly never-ending cheese stash. They had grown complacent, assuming it would always be there for them, but that changed. One of the NetPlus core values is to embrace change. To do this today, we need to be willing to adapt.
Tip 2: Alter Your Sales Process
Keep in mind that every competitor you have is in this same position. They may be doing everything the same, or they may be adapting their strategy as well. To move towards the future, it is helpful to look back at what you learned over the past few months when nothing happened as it did just a short time before that.
During that time, what about your sales process worked for your customers and your business? How can you continue or improve on that? What added capabilities do you have? Since you can't visit your customers in person as often, consider a mix of inside, outside, and digital contact to update how you call on your customers.
Some combinations will work for you and can make you more valuable to your customers. Assuming they won’t be able to have as many visitors, they might be happy about your new, more efficient process. Lastly, invest your time with loyal, profitable customers that pay on time because ensuring steady cash-flow is more important than ever. NetPlus membership is proven to drive profitability.
Tip 3: Collaborate With Your Customers
Customers will be doing things differently, too, so they are a good resource. Ask them about their restrictions and how they want to work with you. Then collaborate on how you can make things work together going forward. Be sure to work through the entire sales cycle, including how and when they order and receive products. A benefit to consolidating suppliers in current conditions is fewer deliveries and people coming to their facility. This may provide an opportunity to sell new products and product categories.
Think beyond the new safety equipment and sanitizing supply opportunities to products customers have always purchased, but not from you. Competitive pricing is always necessary and having fewer suppliers is a value in itself. Do all you can to make sure you have the right suppliers with acceptable lead times and a solid back up plan to maintain product flow. NetPlus has wholesalers in several product categories to help you capture new opportunities and keep your customers happy.
Tip 4: Plan to Adapt Your Sales Process Again
Don’t expect that the plan you lay out today will work perfectly without any adjustments. Things will most likely return closer to normal someday and our competitors will be adjusting to what we do. If they don’t, they really aren’t much of a competitor. Take advantage of this opportunity to update your process and become more valuable to your customers during these times when we are all seeking the new normal. As always, we welcome your comments and questions.