by Brandon Gross
In today’s saturated world of copier sales, it’s more important than ever that millennial copier sales reps are able to differentiate themselves. For reps entering this industry, the pressure to obtain extensive product knowledge is fierce. Speeds and feeds and knowing them better than your competition is what previous generations of reps hung their hats on for years. However, this will not serve in your best interest. The ability to stand out as someone your clients can relate to and trust, to be a true consultant when it comes to their imaging solutions, is paramount. The up-and-coming group of “millennial” sales reps in our industry are in a special position to learn from the old and bring in the new to position themselves and their dealerships with a clear, competitive advantage.
Easily make your next appointment more successful with these seven tried and true techniques. These may, in theory, seem very obvious – but all too often the basics get overlooked and reps refer to old habits. Don’t be “that copier rep!”
No really … listen. When you can successfully stop yourself from talking more than you listen, you’ve already made a great impression. When you can show you’ve listened by applying product knowledge that ‘s applicable to what your prospect has expressed as a need, you’re in! The simple science of human behavior tells us that people enjoy talking about themselves – so cut your sales pitch in half and spend more time listening to your customers talk.
2. Ask questions
When you ask the right questions, listening (see #1) becomes much more natural and much more advantageous. Whether it’s simply finding common ground in order to build rapport or digging down deep to get to the real pain points your customers are experiencing, the practice of asking questions cannot be overstated. It’s a process you can direct and own. Oh, and keep them open ended — a “yes” or “no” answer disrupts the flow of your conversation.
3. Dress for Success
Yeah, I know, you may scoff at this one, but the reality of the situation is that perception is reality. And perception is often based off of first impressions. Rolling out of bed and throwing on a wrinkled polo and khakis and/or sloppy dress versus arriving in a modern fitting suit (loose fitting clothes are out) can mean the difference in a sale and a “thanks, but no thanks, bye now.”
4. Observe Your Environment
Put your best private detective skills to the test - picking up on subtle clues around an office during a visit can yield many opportunities to understand your customers and their business better. For example, if you see an office that actively promotes environmental sustainability with recycle bins or eco-friendly building design elements you can surmise that solutions with environmental reporting features would be something that they would want to be introduced to. And of course, common interests that lead to icebreakers and help build rapport don’t hurt either.
5. Flex Your Millennial Muscle
Use your familiarity and experience with technology (I’m talking software, not just snazzy new features on a copier) to your advantage. Not being intimidated by highly technical software or customer problems that will involve their IT department will always work in your favor. Offering your help and your expertise where technology is concerned will be viewed as a value-added benefit of working with you. Old school work ethic plus new school technology equals success, plain and simple.
6. Solutions, Solutions, Solutions
Solutions solve problems. Hardware is a means to an end . . . do you see where I’m going with this? Skip the features, the speeds, and the feeds and opt for solutions in every single scenario. Act as a consultant, where your job is to help determine the customers pain points (expose these by the way, make that pain point excruciating) and come up with a solution to their problem. We are here to sell solutions, not solely machines.
7. Ask Yourself These Questions
What do you want to be to your customers? What reputation do you want among your peers and management? What is your goal? It’s not uncommon for reps to get caught in a fast paced environment in which they’re being pulled in five directions at once. If you don’t yet have the answers to the questions above, or better yet a clearly defined path to accomplish your goals, then you’ll quickly find yourself spinning your wheels. In other words, you’ll be staying busy if for no reason other than to hopefully make a quota and keep management off your back. You’ll feel the pain, and so will your customers.