Speciale Jill Konrath interview. Più vendite in meno tempo la versione italiana del best seller internazionale More sales, less time. Quali strategie adottare per vitalizzare le vendite nella consumer age? Dopo aver pubblicato la recensione del libro “Più vendite in meno tempo” edito da ROI Edizioni, abbiamo apprfondito il tema intervistando l’autrice Jill Konrath, esperta di accelerazione delle vendite a livello internazionale. Strategie pratiche ed efficaci per venditori super indaffarati e continuamente sotto pressione.
Jill Konrath interview: More sales, Less time. L’intervista, come potete constatare è stata volutamente trascritta in lingua inglese. Dopo una breve storytelling, Jill Konrath entra nel vivio del tema vendite, digital transfromation e gestione del tempo, con alcuni consigli pratici da seguire per innovare e dare un cambio di marcia alla propria giornata quotidiana.
1) Good morning Jill. Could we start with a short story about you? Who is Jill Konrath?
I am a puzzle solver. Give me a tough puzzle to solve and I’m happy. It doesn’t even matter what kind: jigsaw puzzles, murder mysteries, crosswords and especially sales puzzles.
I started my career selling copiers, then moved into technology sales and finally, selling services. For me, the most fun was figuring out what worked: how to sell a new product, how to beat a specific competitor, how to go after a new market segment. And once I found the answer, I couldn’t wait to share it with others. For the past 15 years, I’ve been on a mission to help salespeople globally learn how to succeed in a rapidly changing business environment. For fun, I love traveling, reading and hiking. I’m the mother of two kids and one cat.
2) “More sales, less time” underlines how the digital revolution has changed our working habits. What do you think about it?
On one hand, I think the digital revolution is a godsend. So much information is available to salespeople today that was impossible to find before. We can learn about the companies we want to work with, their goals, strategies, and challenges. We can gain tremendous insights into the people we’ll be meeting – including their background, what they care about and any commonalities we have with them.
At the same time, the digital revolution has enticed us to waste hours online, clicking on irrelevant but enticing links, disrupting our thinking, wreaking havoc with our productivity and wearing us out. We work all day long, thinking that’s the price we have to pay to sell in today’s world. Right now, what we really need to learn is how to be the master of technology, making it work for us – and not be a slave to it.
3) How can salespeople survive in the digital era? May you give us some tips to follow to improve the productivity of salespeople?
- Protect yourself from distractions. Today, salespeople live and work in a digital world that’s filled with a steady stream of people, apps, new information clamoring for attention. Salespeople can easily save 1-2 hours per day this way. Additionally, when you’re less disrupted, you do better work. You learn faster, are more creative and strategic – which makes you lots better at sales.
- Do what matters most. While it feels good to get lots of little things done, if you don’t make progress to your primary goals, you’re not maximizing your time. Every day ask, “What are the most important thing I can get done today?” Then, narrow it down to just one and put that on your calendar.
- Take breaks. Get away from your devices. Enjoy people. Have fun – during the middle of the day. Your brain needs a rest. When you come back, you’ll be so much more productive, strategic and creative.
- Think systems. If you know it takes 8-10 contacts to reach a prospective customer, plan them out all at once. For similar contacts (e.g. you’re calling on VPs of sales), you know they have the same issues, so you can craft a series of messages (email, phone) that you can roll out in a cadence.
4) How can we overcome old habits and change our approach towards planning and daily activities?
Changing habits is really tough. You’re actually fighting the part of your brain (basal ganglia) that wants you to keep doing what you’ve always done. It can wear you out.
We can’t rely on willpower alone. For example, we’re constantly being enticed to click away from our work. We need to build a barricade around us so this doesn’t happen. That means turning off notifications, using blocking software, shutting down apps after you use them. Plus, you don’t want to try to change everything at once. Make small changes at first. Personally I found that conducting small “experiments” really helped. My brain got curious and wanted to see what would happen if I changed my behavior for several weeks. That gave me a grace period to start a new habit and get it imbedded without the typical fight.
Also, taking 5-10 minutes at the beginning of the day to plan really made a difference. It allowed me to make decisions about the best way to spend my day – and then act on them.
5) In your book you speak about a crucial point of our time: the obsession of salespeople with emails. What is the best approach to follow to improve emailing management?
Email is so seductive for salespeople. We are constantly hoping for that message from a prospect that says, “Yes, we’d like to work for you.” So every time an email comes in, we stop everything we’re doing to check it out. Mostly we’re disappointed, but that even makes us hungrier to read the next message.
Research shows that 72% of emails are attended to within 6 seconds. It’s totally disrupting our day, making everything else take longer.
The best approach… start by setting times to check your email. If you’re really addicted right now, do it every fifteen minutes. Then stretch your time to thirty minutes and finally, to an hour (or longer). When you’re done checking email, shut it down immediately, till it’s your next time to check. Put your checking times on the calendar too. If you don’t have designated times, your brain will constantly be telling you, “Better check it now.”
6) In your book, you speak about the role of triggers as important key factors to influence customers. Can you tell us something more about it?
Triggers are events that happen that alter a company’s/buyer’s satisfaction with their current way of doing things. Triggers are either internal to an organization (e.g., new leadership, merger, different strategy, new product launch, expansion) or external (new government regulations, technology, competitive moves).
When they occur, priorities can change virtually overnight. Research shows that the first viable vendor to reach a decision maker and set a buying vision for the emerging future has a 74% average close ratio. I’ve never seen such an important statistic. Salespeople should leverage technology to identify these triggers. It will get them into a deal before their competitors, they’ll have less competition and will fight fewer price battles.