Sunday, March 27, 2011

Under Promise and Over Deliver

The first piece of coaching I always give a new sales professional is to under promise and over deliver. This holds true for dealings with their customers as well as with their manager.
When working with a customer if the sales professional knows that their proposal will be ready for presentation by Thursday at noon, set the expectation that the client will receive it on Friday. If a product is on back order and won’t be delivered for two weeks let the client know that the product will be there before the end of the third week.
There will inevitably be times when the two week delay turns in to a four week delay, and how this is communicated carries just as much importance. As soon as the sales professional is aware of the extended delay they need to act. Contact the customer to explain and apologize for the inconvenience this delay may have caused. Be proactive, is there a possible substitute that is in stock that can ship right away?
Keep appointments and time frames. If you booked a 30 minute meeting at 2pm, be there early and make sure the appointment does not last past 2:30, unless your client requests it. Always leave yourself some extra time between appointments so that you are not late for the next one.
How does this impact the customer? It shows that the sales professional is organized, diligent and is respectful of the clients business. It adds to their credibility with the client and builds valuable trust.
When communicating with a sales manager many sales professional’s initial instinct is to impress. Instead of giving a conservative (and accurate) forecast of the business they put on their rose coloured glasses and estimate a higher number. The other side of this coin is that they estimate a lower number in order to over achieve it by a large margin, believing it will make them look like a superstar. Neither of these will scenarios will give the sales manager any confidence that the sales professional has any understanding of the business environment they are in.
A lot of this seems like common sense, and it is. It just seems like common sense isn’t so common these days.
Happy selling!