Chapter 6: Sales Management to Reduce Noise
We define sales as person-to-person communication that results in a resolution. When a sale is completed successfully, it should be a win for both parties. Seems simple enough, right?
Actually, it's not. Since humans are executing that person-to-person communication, this is the source of plenty of noise. Verbal communication to build value and explain fine details is hard enough on its own, but when you throw in all the distractions that interfere, your sales conversations can break down fairly easily.
You may call them cosmetic coordinators, marketing managers or something else, but if they are communicating to prospective patients, these team members are selling. To keep us focused, I'm going to call them your sales people. No matter how good or experienced your sales people are and no matter what you are selling, you only have to remember three basics for good sales management. Letting this area run wild and unmanaged will create additional noise in your marketing every time. The high-functioning practices keep these priorities in place. Practices that struggle almost always have sales management listed among their main problems. The fact is, if you keep your sales people on point and sharp, there is always more business to be had.
If you are not checking these three boxes regularly, I suggest making room in your schedule. Your marketing will work better if you do.
Establish Core Principles and Return to Them Frequently
You have to remember that your sales people are helping people. Sometimes this involves some persuasion and focus. So, it is easy to lose perspective. If you offer commissions or incentives, that can cause a sales person to lose focus on the core principles. You want to word the intentions of how your practice operates - it is important to write it down and keep it at the heart of your communications.
Choose a sales training that supports your core principles. No one wants to take training. No one wants to pay for training. More than anything, no one wants to role play for training. However, all three of these actions are necessary. If a sales person resists training, that's a bad sign. If a doctor doesn't think investing in the human resource of sales communication is important, he or she is running a serious risk. And, role play ... it's like practice. You have to practice to play properly.
When your practice and your sales people buy into core principles that are enabled by specific training, it gives your practice a sales structure. In other words, you have a framework for operations and for management.
With that structure in place, a sales manager only needs to make sure that skills do not erode and that bad habits do not take over. People get lazy when things work, and they tend to forget some small details. To stay sharp, it's important to use monitoring tools that are unbiased.
I always tell our clients that our tracking phone numbers are the least expensive products we sell, but they are the most important. A tracking number is a unique phone number that you place in a specific medium such as your website. When that number is called, we know where the call originated. We can also record a lot of data about the call, including Caller ID, time/date and more. The calls are also recorded for review.
All you have to do to keep your sales people on point with your core principles and training is to monitor those calls. We have some practices that listen to all the calls together and critique them. We have many clients who listen to their calls on daily reports so they have a feel if things are going the right way. Just recording the calls is not good enough. To prevent leakage of good prospects, it is vital to listen to the calls and create accountability and positive reinforcement using tracking numbers.
The bottom line about why sales management fails is that the owner, the doctor or the boss does not listen to the calls. That individual, who sets the tone, should be bought in on the core principles and understand how those principles are communicated outwardly through sales communication training. That way, when the leader listens to the call, he or she will immediately know if the sales communications are working. They then can step in and help. That is the real job of a sales manager: to help the sales people become more successful.
If you think you need help sharpening your sales productivity, let me know at email@example.com. I can give you good advice on establishing the first two principles above. If you need a tracking number to get a look at how your sales team is performing, let me know and we will get you set up with a tracking telephone number. It's the least expensive product we sell, but it's the most important.