From time to time, Marketing Relevance is pleased to present distinguished guest bloggers who are outstanding leaders in their industry. We hope you enjoy their expert view points on topics that are near and dear to them.
Today’s Guest Blogger: S. Robert August, BA, MIM, NAHB Senior Life Director, IRM Fellow, MIRM, CMP, CSP, MCSP, CAASH, and Master Train the Trainer is president and founder of North Star Synergies
Sales management is often taken for granted by home building manufacturers, vendors, lenders and even real estate brokerage companies.
When the sales management process is well-developed and clearly articulated to sales people, more sales are consummated and closed. Prospects become sales and sales become closings!
What are the key elements for an exceptional sales management process and program?
Sales Management Training
Even sales managers need training.
Sales managers need to find a mentor or two to discuss sales concerns and new methods of training.
Sales managers also need to stay abreast of management and training opportunities by attending trade association education programs. Economic development councils, chambers of commerce, boards of Realtors, and home builders associations are just a few organizations that have training programs to educate sales management and sales teams.
Regularly monitor online education calendars and upcoming programs and speakers. Review the speaker’s credentials and references before registering for a course or symposium.
Seek additional information via blogs, videos, books, and even the periodical section in your library. In an age of information, track down the finest resources available.
As you gather information, create an archive of the most useful references. Recommend inspiring and helpful material to your sales associates.
Sales managers and sales associates should read as much sales material as they can to sharpen their presentation skills and perfect their knowledge base. There should be ongoing on-the-job time for training.
Every member of the sales team should be required to present a book report at least once a month to share her or his new-found wisdom. This peer-to-peer education helps the presenter reinforce his or her learning while developing his or her communication skills. Presentations to a peer group are difficult. A peer group is a tough audience so the speaker must prepare thoughtfully. Once performed, the next presentation is easier.
At the same time, those in the audience add to their sales skillset.
Sales Team Role Play
Sales managers should take time to have sales personnel deliver a presentation to another sales person at the sales practicum meeting weekly. This exercise adds value to participating presenters and sales team members who can learn points of interest to be used immediately in selling the product and services that day.
Critique of the presentation can be invaluable when the comments are helpful and not destructive.
Capturing the sales presentation on video, even if only by smartphone, can help to make comments more objective as well as helping sales personnel to see how they come across.
Each salesperson can also practice throughout the week with another sales-mate.
Each salesperson should also role play with “D prospects”, those least likely to buy.
Sales Team Training
The entire sales team should have several weekly meetings. The first meeting is a weekly policy and procedure meeting to discuss:
- Sales from the following week(s)
- Closing schedules
- Product shortages, damages and mis-shipments
- Production schedules
- Warranty concerns
- Price changes for the base, options and lot premiums
- Options changes and offerings
- New product development
- New product offering
- Financing products
- New business
The second meeting is a weekly pragmatic and academic education sales staff meeting including:
- Periodical and book sharing
- Book reports
- Topical training / critical path of sales ( greeting, meeting, demonstration, handling objections, sell, close and follow-up )
The third meeting is a weekly product tour:
- Drive to work a different way each day to learn about the community and competitive product
- Attend trade shows
- Conduct vendor product tours
The fourth meeting consists of real estate brokerage visits to:
- Meet the real estate brokerage community
- Introduce for sale product
- Explain real estate commission process
The fifth meeting is at the sales office:
- Work together with the team regarding ways to enhance the sales process
- Work one-on-one with each sales person to overcome their weaknesses and enhance their strengths
Sales managers need to contact their associates morning, afternoon, and evening. The more time you invest smartly with your sales team members, the more they will surprise you and become better sales people.
Never assume your sales personnel is perfect. They need management. They need someone to talk to help them structure transactions and stay abreast of industry changes.
The more you educate your sales team, the more you empower your personnel to excel. The results will be fantastic.
Please remember: no matter how good your sales associates become, they still need to be managed to maintain and improve upon their success!
Go get ‘em!
S. Robert August, BA, MIM, NAHB Senior Life Director, IRM Fellow, MIRM, CMP, CSP, MCSP, CAASH, and Master Train the Trainer is president and founder of North Star Synergies, a national firm based in Centennial, Colo. specializing in business development strategy and provides executives, home builders, developers, REALTORS, manufacturers, and lenders with marketing/management and sales training. Contact Robert by phone at 303-500-3400 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.