In Sales? Are you IPAing Today?
What do you think of, when you think of the titular ‘salesperson’ achieving success and sweet-talking his or her clients? We might see a person with a certain kind of stride, an overconfident kind of swagger, a smooth vocabulary with many imperative phrases that incentivize a sale. This might look very impressive to those hoping to walk in those career-oriented shoes. But for others, especially those who are tired of being upsold and treated like a point of sale rather than a person, a salesperson may have that smarmy aura about them that we come to thoroughly dislike.
Of course, salespeople aren’t all bad. In fact, as one yourself, you likely know that they’re fair people just wanting to provide the best value to clients. If you’re in sales, however, it’s very easy to allow that assumption of thinking you know best to get ahead of you. Will that actually translate into sales? Additionally, can we look at this on more of a granular level? What if we’re not so confident in our daily schedule? What if we’re less profitable than we think we are, only relying on the infrequent ‘white whale’ of rare, affluent clients to make up for our past losses? It’s worth thinking about.
Enter The IPA
Income Producing Activities (IPA’s) are robust, productive activities that give us the means to better our profitable output. Their mere presence asks and then verifies just how we might be spending our time on a daily basis. How are you nurturing and retaining clients? Do you ensure that you meet with customers in person? Are you trained enough to give product demonstrations? Are you keeping up with trends in the industry and can you disseminate this accessible information to your customers? Studies show that sales people spend up to 80% of their time focusing on anything other than income producing activities. This means that first taking stock of your time and selling your own career purpose to yourself maybe your first and hardest pitch, as effective selling requires a constant and continual appraisal of your own activities.
Are You Trustworthy?
How do you network? Do you expect that because you know so-and-so you are guaranteed a trusting audience with a client? How might you go about securing that trust? Sometimes it can be as simple as spending a little more time with a potential customer, while other times it may mean remembering their preferences from two years back and once again curating your offering in line with this. Crafting a refined and informative presentation may work for one customer, while another may wish to get ‘behind the wheel’ of a certain offering, so to speak. Understand who you’re catering for, and maximize the methods that will secure a return.
If you come across as someone less informed than the person you’re trying to sell to, you can be sure that person will never return. You should always be focused on speaking to customers, of keeping your schedule full, and of speaking at events. You can relegate all of your personal education and other career refinements in your own time, much like a freelance writer studying and perfecting his or her grammar outside of their briefs. Remember, in sales, time is money, money, money. This will help you sustain the tempo required for charming and timely selling.