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Marketing & Sales

How to Take the Guesswork Out of Sales

1WeekKC is fast approaching (May 20 through May 27, to be precise). This signature week of entrepreneurship is your invitation to connect with business-building resources in Kansas City, network with other entrepreneurs and learn from some of the best in KC business.

One of those experts is Tom Mulligan, managing director of Sandler Training by Coffman Group. He will be presenting at Start + Scale Business Day, a full day of connections, knowledge and networking that’s perfect for anyone looking to start or grow a business in Kansas City.

Below, Tom shares on how to take the guesswork out of sales.

You have tremendous experience in sales and training sales teams. How do you help people overcome the stigma surrounding sales?

Here at Sandler Training by Coffman Group we work with entrepreneurs, business owners and CEOs to put into place reliable sales processes to ensure predictable revenues. The first step in that process, and in overcoming stigma, is to recognize that nothing is going to happen until somebody sells something. Simple as that.

Then we help people recognize that the stigma of sales has more to do with how traditional sales works than the honesty or dishonesty of the people who work in sales for a living.

Traditional sales models force people to do things they wouldn’t normally do. They respond to the pressure of the situation, rather than relying on a system they can use to bring them from amateur to professional.

A lot goes into creating a reliable sales system, but here are some of the basics. You can repeat the process so you don’t have to reinvent it every time. The system puts you on the same level, with the same posture, as the people who buy from you, by creating an open and transparent relationship. There are no tricks. No moves. No secrets. Nothing left unsaid.

When evaluating a salesperson, amount sold is an obvious metric. What other metrics are important to you as a sales team leader?

A great metric in measuring performance is how willing customers are to refer friends and colleagues to that salesperson. If that’s happening, you know the sales process went well.

And it can take a long time to get there. A lot of people must break old, bad habits and build new techniques and behaviors.

How does a salesperson avoid burnout?

I don’t encounter burnout because I know where it’s coming from. Burnout comes from what a salesperson is not doing.

Too many people believe that if they work hard enough they’ll get what they want. They think the key is working as fast as they can and seeing as many people as they can to persuade them, convince them, or talk them into things. That just doesn’t work.

The only way to avoid that trap is to have a reliable, repeatable process in place from hello to thank you.

Why do you choose to do business in Kansas City?

In my business I can work anywhere in the United States. But there’s no place to work that’s better than Kansas City. The business community here is very savvy, intelligent, progressive, and open to new ideas.

You can find and talk to anyone you want to in this town, if you have a good reason for them to take the time. That’s the nature of business here.

Another thing I appreciate about the entrepreneurial community in Kansas City is how diversified the businesses are. There is such a wide breadth of industries in Kansas City, which I think is indicative of the community.

Entrepreneurs are willing to take the risk and take a stab at it when they could take the safe route out. Starting a business is risky and hard, but even when an entrepreneur fails here they don’t give up, instead they come right back.

Anything you’d like to add for someone looking to start their own business?

There are a lot of great ideas out there. When you’re designing yours, please keep in mind who is going to buy it. That’s a key no matter what stage you’re in.

As you’re thinking about your customer, consider where they are, what they need, and whether you can help them. It’s critical that your company is externally focused, there’s no other way to survive.

For more great advice and insight from Tom, be sure to join us at Start + Scale Business Day, hosted by KCSourceLink, at 1Week KC. Or learn more about growing your business by visiting our learning center.


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