Free Sales Tool for Outside Sales Reps
Typically, sales calls are held in the customer’s office or a conference room. I’ve even met with people in the lunchroom or at the trunk of my car while writing up an order. However, to go where the action is, will help you increase sales while enhancing the relationship between you and your customer. People inherently enjoy talking about themselves and at work they like to show off what they do; even if they hate their jobs. The majority of the time, if they’re allowed, they’ll take the time to impart their knowledge to a willing student (PSSST…that’s you!)
There are just a couple of steps prior to asking for the tour. First, think about what you already know about the company. Do they make pistons, heat treat metal, bottle insulin? Check out the company’s website and your gun is loaded. Develop some questions for the tour based on what you know or find and jot them down on your customers file. Even if they’re just a couple of words; you’re the only one who will see them.
Because it’s a safety crazed world, if there’s any question of whether or not you’ll need safety equipment, toss your safety glasses and ear plugs in your bag. Your customer will appreciate that they didn’t have search for your PPE (Personal Protective Equipment).
Lastly; ask your customer.
Now, this is the fun part; the tour. I supplied MRO supplies (Maintenance, Repair and Operations) to a boxing company. No, they don’t promote hitting the opponent, they make boxes for hundreds of companies and do the printing as well. For months I walked past over 12 machines, I mean monstrous machines, and walked straight to the maintenance shop where I stocked the bins. However, my curiosity got the best of me and I went for it. I knew there was business I was missing and I was going to get it. I planned my attack and Joe (my customer) said yes.
He showed me the printing presses and the process to making trash bag boxes. In my mind, I’m thinking ‘wow, there is a lot of paint over spray, I need to show him paint remover.’ Next, the coolest thing he showed me was a box folding machine. The flat box comes off the press and is stacked with the rest of it’s kind. It looked like a giant pin ball machine about the length of a bowling lane. The printed piece was loaded on the machine, it slid down to have a robotic arms fold the first side up and with another hydraulic push to the other side, the box had two sides done. After many more twists and turns, ta da it was a box and was ready to be shipped to their customer. I was riveted.
The notes I wrote down during and after the tour went something like this.
Ã?Â· “There’s a lot of paint over spray on the fences and floor surrounding the presses. Show Joe the Paint and Gasket Remover.”
Ã?Â· “Joe asked if we had anything to keep the folding machines from collecting balls of paper pulp and “gumming” them up. It can ruin gears or shut down a production line. I suggested Dry Moly. He got a case to try this time and I need to ask him next call what he thought.”
Ã?Â· “He pointed out a whole other department and said he’ll introduce me to Matt next call because Matt’s on vacation.”
Ã?Â· “Bring and show hydraulics products.”
Somewhere it got into my thick head to keep from being the sole decision maker on what products I showed my customer. Instead, I used this tool to gain valuable information and I was automatically more “plugged in” to the needs of my customer.
This was only one of the countless tours I took but I always remember it because of that cool box folding machine. This was one of my best accounts and I attribute it to being able to see what the customer uses or needs.
One, free, simple tool will provide you with answers to questions you didn’t know you had about your customer. No matter, what product you sell, if you make it a goal to go on two tours a month, you’ll be shocked at how it improves your business by simply asking “Mr. Customer, will you show me around the plant?