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The Worst and Best Sales Call

A sales representative walks up to the reception desk with a couple of company-branded coffee mugs filled with candy and asks to see HR Manager. After it became clear the HR Manager did not have time for an unscheduled meeting, the receptionist said, “But, she has something for you.”

The HR Manager walks into the lobby…

“Hi Lisa, thanks for taking time out of your busy schedule to meet me. I just thought I would drop by to see if you’ve got any needs.”

“No, Amy. We’re good right now.”

“Well, I thought I would drop these goodies off for you, because I know you like caramels.”

“I do. They will be the death of me! Thank you. And thanks for stopping by.”

That was a sales call. Amy got into her car, pulled out her phone and entered the information into CRM. It was obvious that Amy spent no time planning for an effective sales call with a previous customer that at one time her company staffed over 100 temporary workers!

“Got any needs?” Outside of popping a few caramels in a cup, that was the extent of the pre-call planning. Don’t believe me? Unfortunately, I was there, doing a ride-a-along that day.

If you take one thing away from this article and share it with your sales people, it needs to be this:

“You get pushed to the person you sound most like.”

That’s a fact. It is worth reading again. Makes perfect sense, doesn’t it? If your (or your sales team's) pre-call planning is like Amy’s, you will forever stay at low levels with little decision-making authority. And believe me, we see variations of this across a variety of industries: print, promotional, copier supplies, chemicals, etc.

With “sales calls” like Amy’s it is no wonder Forrester Research estimates that 1 million sales jobs will be eliminated by 2020.

By contrast, I marveled at a sales call I had the pleasure of witnessing in same sector of staffing. Why? Because this sales rep, Lisa, moved her customer from filling orders to workforce optimization. Here is a quick summary of what I saw:

1. Lisa did the appropriate pre-call planning, researching the backgrounds of the people she was meeting with on LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook.

2. Lisa had a scheduled meeting and sent the agenda 48 hours in advance and asked if the customer wanted to add or delete anything.

3. Lisa had a call plan worksheet whereby she had the following:

  • A primary and secondary objective

  • She had scripted her opening statement

  • Eight very effective questions planned in advance to help her understand the client better and see where she could help solve their problems

  • Two anticipated objections and how she would respond to those objections

4. After exchanging some pleasantries based on her research, she opened the meeting with a strong opening statement around her “desire to optimize their workforce by reviewing historical data and leveraging predictive analytics to determine the appropriate number of full-time, part-time and flexible employees the distribution center should be staffing for.”

5. She asked if there was anything else anyone wanted to get out of the meeting? (Response Check)

6. Lisa showed two years of historical order data and the patterns that emerged.

7. Lisa then showed, based on the data she was able to accumulate, what the predicted order patterns would be, and thus the optimal mix of full-time, part-time, float, over-time and flexible employees needed for their staffing plan.

8. Lisa educated her clients that most companies “react” to their staffing needs and concentrate on bill-rate and mark-up of their temporary companies versus proactively understanding demand and effectively recruiting the appropriate supply.

9. Lisa shared with the customer her company’s recruiting and onboarding plan for 2017.

10. Lisa spoke of planning, proactive recruiting, cost of turnover, productivity, effective bill rate, labor optimization and its impact on earnings. She had the Vice President of Distribution Services at “hello.” Remember what we said earlier:

“You get pushed to the person you sound most like.”

Lisa understood a basic Butler Street mantra:

If we solve our customers’ problems, we’ll solve our own.®

Workforce optimization is the path that leading staffing companies are evolving to. Both Lisa and her sales leadership knew the time to change their approach was now.

If your sales team is not approaching your customers like Lisa, click CONTACT and let’s talk. We help companies and their people grow.®

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