Building the Right Sales Team to Grow Your Agency
In this episode, we’ll cover:
- Understanding and overcoming common sales team problems.
- A NO FAIL cold call strategy for agencies.
- Building a sales team: finding, hiring, managing, and paying them.
- #1 tip for crushing your sales goals.
My guest on today’s show is Wes Schaeffer, The Sales Whisperer. Wes spent a decade in the Air Force and another in commissioned sales before starting his business as a sales coach and trainer. He shares some great tips for cold calling, as well as strategies for hiring and managing great sales people. His advice is totally practical and will help you develop a killer sales outbound strategy.
Common Sales Team Problems
Wes says most salespeople don’t fully understand the value of the resources and expertise they bring to the table. This causes 2 major issues:
- Discounting prices – Salespeople undervalue the service they represent and are therefore willing to discount the sale price. Doing this conveys a bargain mentality and undercuts the agency’s level of authority, which also destroys the client’s confidence.
- Talking too much – Similarly, salespeople who undervalue their agency also end up overcompensating by talking too much, instead of listening. If you’re talking instead of listening you aren’t hearing the needs of your prospect. You can’t fix problems if you aren’t hearing them.
Wes used the example of a heart surgeon: The surgeon is selling heart surgery but he doesn’t have all the answers, he is connected to a team and has confidence that together they can solve the problem. He has confidence in his team of MRI techs, anesthesiologists, etc. He knows he is connected to all the right people to solve his patients’ problems.
The solution for agency sales teams: Sell on the fact that you are connected to all the best people in the industry. Be confident in the value that you represent and the fact that your team can solve the challenges and problems your clients face. Talk the talk and walk the walk.
A No-Fail Cold Call Strategy for Agencies
People say the old-school cold call is dead but Wes says in B2B, it’s still alive and well. For a successful cold call, you need to find a common connection or mutual relationship – someone or something they know or heard of – then use that as your opening.
Define your dream 100 list and go for it. If you can’t find mutual interest to get a foot in the door, you will have to go old school which can be hard in our technology driven society, BUT…
[clickToTweet tweet=”Don’t let your prospect hide behind voicemail, caller ID and email with this strategy.” quote=”Don’t let your prospect hide behind voicemail, caller ID and email with this strategy.”]
You’ll get the best response from a multi-media, multi-touch approach and circle them like a shark.
Develop a nurture series of reaching them via email, voicemail and social media, such as LinkedIn or other industry social communities.
Do your homework first.
Know WHO you’re talking to, WHAT they’re doing and HOW they’re doing it. In your multi-media messages cite case studies and specific examples of what you understand their challenges to be and how you are equipped to solve them.
Create a series of messages (voice, social and email) that are on-point and provide specific information. These can be scripted and follow a template, but you must customize them for this specific prospect. No one wants to hear a generic speech or receive a form letter. Say things like: “I’ll call you at 10AM on Tuesday” then actually follow-up on at that exact day/time.
Using this strategy you will prove that you are unique, thorough, consistent, creative and professional… a refreshing change from the usual cold calls they get.
Do’s and Don’ts for a great initial call:
- Don’t hit them over the head with everything your agency has done and can do. Listen to what they need and determine how you can help meet those needs.
- Do be calm and collected. Speak as though you are talking to your friend or neighbor, not like you’re speaking to someone who’s about to hang up on you 🙂
- Don’t bombard them with a bunch of stats and facts about you. Initial calls aren’t about you – they’re about them.
- Do more listening than talking. This is the best way to understand their issues and figure out how your can help solve them. Remember, whoever talks the most loses.
- Don’t insult. If you looked at their site and think it’s crappy, keep it to yourself. No good can come when your prospect is immediately put on the defensive.
- Do compliment their current digital advertising. Tell them how great their site is and comment on how well it must be performing. Let them tell you what’s not working.
Finding, Hiring & Paying Great Salespeople
Always, always be recruiting. Don’t just look for great sales people when you have the need. Keep your eyes open and notice great skill when you see it. Just like college football recruiters, make room for an all-star even if you aren’t in need of one at the time.
To find exactly the right candidate, write an ad with some specific instructions on how to apply. This weeds out the people who can’t follow direction. To further screen people, put them through a really rigorous process and see how much they push back, even respond to their interview answers with “that was a terrible response” just to see if they’ll take it or defend themselves. Little things like this can give you real insight into their personality type.
When hiring salespeople be clear on duties, expectations and how you’ll measure success. In general, a salesperson should prospect, qualify and build relationships but the agency owner is the best closer.
#1 Tips for Crushing Sales Goals
Wes’s best advice is to manage activity and pay on results.
He says to start by breaking down the numbers. Know your annual sales goal and back out what that means monthly, weekly and daily. Also, track and measure your pipeline in 5-6 stages and know how many prospects you need in each stage to stay on target.
Manage sales activity by knowing how many prospects are in each stage of the pipeline at all times. Pay your sales team based on actual conversions. For an example Account Manager commission structure, check out my #AskSwenk advice here.
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