SALESPEOPLE ARE THE folks who open doors
and close sales. ;ey are responsible for generating
the lifeblood of your business: revenue. However,
your salespeople are also your front line and o;en-times the only touch point customers have with
your company. In their role, they act as ambassadors
of your brand.
To ensure that your salespeople remain highly
motivated and represent your company in the best
way possible, try these ;ve tactics.
Turn stars into leaders. Take the “employee of
the month” concept to the next level by giving your
best-performing salespeople the opportunity to provide leadership to others and spread ideas that are
working. ;is turns the recognition and respect you
show for one salesperson into a bene;t for all salespeople at the company.
Make it matter. Add meaning by drawing into
focus your company’s impact on your customers
and/or community. Share true stories about the
change that your company is making in people’s
lives. When you make the work important, you’ll
see a whole new level of passion, gutsiness and
results. As they say, “You can’t sell it if you don’t
believe in it.”
Cultivate competence and confidence. Instead
of barking commands to go out there and perform,
give your salespeople command of the subject mat-
ter. Further their education and training in key
aspects of your industry sector, your product or ser-
vice, and the latest sales techniques to continuously
stimulate and challenge your sales force and grow
Be out front. Give your sales force state-of-the-art toys, tools and gadgets to help them be (and,
signi;cantly, appear to be) ahead of the curve. ;e
more you set your sales team members apart, the
more excited they will be about respecting themselves and, in turn, engendering respect from their
customers. Encourage their use of social media for
professional purposes such as writing opinion
pieces, sharing trends and encouraging discourse
and accessibility among customers.
Blur the lines. Break from the “all work, no
play” paradigm by making your business a fun and
exhilarating place to spend long hours. Liven up
your workplace with dedicated areas for work, creativity and breaks. Create o;-site events and activities that build team rapport and company loyalty
and that allow for the exchange of ideas among
salespeople. Unstructured environments can foster
fresh thinking and big ideas. C
RICH AND JEFF
Rich and Jeff Sloan are
the founders of Startup
Nation.com, a business
advice and networking
website for entrepreneurs.
MORE IN ARCHIVES
search “fresh views.”
BY MINDY CHARSKI
DID YOU KNOW your customers can also
be great marketing partners?
Indeed, when fans post positive comments, images and videos related to your
company, they’re creating promotional gems
“If you can get your customers to speak
for you, your message, competitive advantage
and credibility become more believable,” says
Keran Smith, co-founder of the social media
marketing agency LYFE Marketing. “People
Here are five ways to leverage what’s
known as user-generated content.
• Search social media for flattering con-
tent that you can feature in marketing materi-
als. Be sure to ask the creators for permission,
and spell out your intended use, Smith says.
“Ninety-nine percent of the time, people are
delighted for you to showcase things that they
post and must care about because they posted
it themselves,” he says.
• Encourage customers to add reviews
and ratings of your business and offerings on
your website and on third-party sites like Yelp
and Angie’s List. Don’t let the potential of
unpleasant responses hold you back. “Use
[negative comments] to improve, but also to
show you care about the situation and you’re
willing to rectify it if needed,” Smith says.
• Ask customers for written testimonials.
Including a photo helps make a testimonial
more credible, says Shawn Karol Sandy, a
Costco member and founder of The Selling
Agency, a sales coaching firm. Video testimonials are compelling alternatives.
• Pick up on the verbiage fans use to
describe your business. “You can form your
selling messages directly from what your customers are saying,” Sandy says. “Look for
themes or consistency in the way they talk
about you or your product.” If customers rave
about your customer service, for instance,
you can build a campaign around the lengths
you’ll go to for customers, she suggests.
• Launch a social media contest that ties
into your products or services. It will generate
more than just content. “When you get your
customers involved, you’re also building
brand loyalty and brand equity,” Smith says.
“If they care enough to join a contest or create
images or videos, that shows you have a place
in their heart, and that place is going to grow
more and more as you interact and engage
with them.” C
Dallas-based freelancer and Costco member
Mindy Charski ( mindycharski.com, @mindy
charski) specializes in business journalism.
Motivate your sales force
of user-generated content © I R