How to Improve Sales in any B2B Sales Organisation
For most people learning how to improve sales starts with some type of skills improvement, this could be simple things like objection handling, controlling the sales conversation or sales negotiation. In addition to these sales skills, every sales leader wants their people to leave a training session with more confidence, as without confidence the sales people are unlikely to use the sales skills when the need arises. All the different sales skills we teach are, for obvious reasons used when the sales person is in front of the buyer, however there is a very simple sales strategy on how to improve sales that anyone can use when you are not in front of the buyer, and more often than not can have a huge impact on your sales results.
What is the 24 Hour Rule?
The 24 hour rule quite simply is a commitment from everyone inside the company that they will respond to EVERY prospect or customer within 24 hours no matter what. For most companies the 24 Hour Rule affects Sales people the most and they will hate it, but customers love it. Just think to yourself, when you have contacted a company or sales person and they don’t get back to you; you start to think “did they even get my email?” or “I can’t wait on an answer, I need to talk to someone now”. The 24 Hour Rule sends the message to the buyer that you as a sales person are engaged, interested, helpful, service orientated and professional.
Why your Prospects will love the 24 Hour Rule
Unfortunately most people have experienced the opposite of the 24 Hour Rule which is the “Whenever Rule”. When a new prospect makes an enquiry and we don’t respond within 24 hours we are subconsciously telling the prospect we are not that interested. We are telling the prospect that “Whenever” is the level of service they should expect if they become a customer. Most importantly we are allowing the competition an opportunity to show they are more interested in the prospect than we are. When a prospect receives a “Thank You” email within 24 hours of a meeting with the sales person it demonstrates courtesy, professionalism and it tells the prospect in a way that isn’t desperate – we want your business. Indeed at the end of many meetings, sales people leave having agreed certain actions, such as forwarding further information, quotations or proposals. These must be done within 24 hours, and if the sales person cannot get the information the prospect has asked for, they can send a simple “Holding Email” within 24 hours which acknowledges the actions/next steps they agreed to, and gives an timeline on when they can expect the information.
Why Sales People Hate the 24 Hour Rule
When you make a commitment to respond to every prospect within 24 hours this means lots of hard work, at sometimes very unsociable hours for the sales person. Responding to every voice mail, every email and every new lead within 24 hours is difficult because sales people are busy, and often from personal experience the only way to find time to ensure you are complying with the 24 Hour Rule is to respond out of hours. We need to remember however that busy sales people, does not equal effective sales people. Prospects have their own problems and they quite frankly don’t care how busy the sales person is, they want sales people who are effective. How to improve sales for any individual starts from within and if it was easy everyone could do it.
In Business to Business understanding how to improve sales is never easy and we would never underestimate the complexity of sales, however if you are in any doubt as to the effectiveness of this simple strategy just try it for 6 months. The worst thing that could happen is you reduce the average response time you currently have to prospects, which can only be a good thing. There is no magic wand for making sales improvements, more often, it’s a series of small improvements in many places and the 24 Hour Rule is a simple yet effective strategy anyone can implement.
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