|May 2003||Volume 28 - Number 10|
About the Author:
Bob is available for consulting services, seminars, and writing assignments. You can reach him at 978-461-2143 or via e-mail (firstname.lastname@example.org).
This is a time when many sales people sit back, relax, and pound their chest and brag about their sales success during the show season. Many of them mentally pack it in for a few months and decide that their early season success is reason enough to stop selling for awhile and turn their attention to everything except selling.
Why do sales people do that?
Yes the show season is long. So are the hours and number of days one must work to maximize the time they get with prospects at the shows. However, you don't live on shows alone.
Just as your customers perform spring cleaning and give their trailers and motorhomes a tune-up before hitting the road, so also should the sales rep.
During show season things get pretty hectic at the show venue and in the showroom following up with potential prospects that may, or may not, have made a purchasing decision the previous weekend. It's a sales roller coaster for several weeks, and sometimes months, as RVers seek out the shows to see what the new model year brings in new creature comforts and performance enhancements.
So why do many sales reps stop selling when show season ends.
Perhaps it's time for a spring cleaning and tune-up on your selling skills also.
During the show season thousands of experienced RVers and new prospects fill the halls and get excited about the upcoming RVing season. Many of them will purchase new units at the shows, but many more will not.
Instead of resting on your laurels, I would like to suggest that the selling season isn't over and there should be no letdown following the show season.
Just think of all the potential prospects out there all the ones that didn't buy anything during the show season, but who were interested enough to go to the shows and might still be convinced to trade-in and trade-up if somebody has the energy to follow up with them.
This should be an exciting time for all sales people. You've got thousands of people getting ready to go camping in their old units, and they still have the memory of all the new units still in their heads.
They still have the new brochures on the kitchen table or desk at the office, and they really would like to buy one of them.
Now if many of the sales people pack it in and don't follow-up with these people, just think how successful you can be if you now switch into high gear and really go after all the people who didn't buy the first time around.
If you have collected a list of prospects that you spoke to at the show, why not get on the phone and speak to them again. Clean up your prospect list and go through it one more time. While you are at it, don't forget to add them into some type of database.
Did your dealership collect the names of visitors to your display or per- haps purchase a list of attendees from the show promoters? If so, jump on them and be the first one on the phones to thank the prospect for coming to the show and finding out if they are still in the market for a new RV. Everybody who goes to a show is a prospect. Every lead you get is a prospect.
I'm amazed when I hear sales people complain about show leads or manufacturer's leads. If they took the time to go to a show, then they are at least interested in the RV lifestyle. Yes some of them did not buy, and some of them will never buy.
You can almost guarantee that every prospect that does not get follow-up activity from a sales rep will not buy. Why should they. I nobody is going to take the time to sell them on the RV lifestyle and the benefits of owning an RV in these tumultuous times, then perhaps they just won't buy.
If they came to the show, they are certainly a better prospect than somebody who just walks in off the street. We can assume that they have somewhat pre-qualified themselves by simply walking through the door of the show.
So what are you going to do to catch them the second time around?
Perhaps you had a great show season. Perhaps you broke your own individual sales record this year. So what? That doesn't mean that you can stop selling. And it doesn't mean that you should stop prospecting either.
Spring cleaning should include a consolidation of your prospect information. Hopefully, you have computerized your business records and customer files for efficiency and productivity improvements.
Catalog your prospects by purchasing time frame or product selection. Enter the records into a system that will allow for effective follow-up at the prescribed times indicated by the prospect and/or customer.
The clean-up should also include a purging of records or prospects or customers who have left the RV lifestyle for any number of reasons. However, if they have left and plan to return, keep them in your active records file so that they may receive newsletters, sales information, or notification of open house events and shows.
Spring cleaning should include a review of all your customers and some type of contact with them. If you did not see them during the show season, you will want to inquire and make sure that they are not in the process of upgrading with one of your competitors. You should also use this contact time to upgrade your records with new additions to the family, a change of employment for the husband, wife, or partner, and agreement on the most appropriate time to communicate again in the future.
And don't forget references. Did they go to the show with a friend or relative? If so, does that family enjoy the RV lifestyle or are they considering their first purchase of a new RV?
If it is just an update con- tact, and you did not see them at the show, then you might ask why they did not attend this year.Perhaps they have already selected their next RV and did not feel the need to walk the show floor because they have their mind made up and the only thing left to decide is when they actually buy it. Hopefully, you have been in contact with them during the year and you know what they want to buy, when they want to buy it, and expect them to buy it from you.
Spring cleaning should also include a review of customer service records. Sit with your service manager and make sure that customers are not experiencing any significant problems with their RV. If they are, you should certainly be one of the first to know and step in to resolve the issue and possibly use the situation to upgrade them to a new RV.
This is also a good time to review your own personal goals and objectives for the year. At least one quarter, and almost two, has passed since you established your goals for the year. Are you on target or do you have to make some mid- course corrections to make sure that you get back on track and hit the numbers that you need to be successful in 2003?
Finally, how about a little Spring cleaning in your personal workspace. Is it neat, clean and professional? Do you meet with prospects and customers in an inviting atmosphere that puts them at ease and assures a positive sales environment? Are the family pictures and sales awards hung neatly on your office walls or just thrown around on top of bookcases? Do you display industry related training manuals and publications so that your prospect or customer can see that you consider yourself a professional sales person and are constantly upgrading your skills and capabilities?
So Spring cleaning isn't just for the house and home.
We should take a close look at our current sales situation and clean-up the areas that need improvement and polish off the areas that are doing quite well.
We can always improve.
So don't stop selling just because the show season is behind you. You should never, ever, stop selling. Use your time and resources wisely and make the best use of your time everyday.
Good luck and good selling.
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