Importance of Asking for Help
In the field
of sales, we’ve
all seen sales reps with overblown egos who think they know everything
necessary to do their job. They know all about their client,
all about their products, all about their terms and contracts and
just about anything else. Oftentimes, others know that those
people can be a bit difficult to work with and they’re not always
the best sales
professionals. What other people know is that those people
are self-styled “know it alls” who often miss out on opportunities
because they fail to ask for help.
Asking for help
is important in sales and it can come in different forms. Three
main forms that a sales professional is likely to encounter include:
from subject matter experts
Help from Colleagues - Part
of working on a team of sales professionals is the benefit of utilizing
the knowledge of others in pursuit of closed opportunities.
Each sales rep you work with has information on situations that
can help you with your potential sales. In one office, a sales rep
may send an e-mail to his fellow reps to find out if anyone has
a good testimonial from a managed healthcare provider. The one rep
may not have any contacts but the others might. In another office,
manager may sit down and talk about a customer situation with
another account manager to get an idea of he would handle the customer.
It all boils down to everyone helping each other out. The end result
will be of benefit to you and to your employer. When you’re not
familiar with the situation or don’t have all the information you
need, ask your colleagues.
Help from Management - Some
people are afraid to walk down this path since they think it will
cause their managers to think they are weak. Not so. Managers want
to help their sales reps grow in their jobs. One of the most important
roles they play is to help sales reps close
important deals. Just because they’re managers doesn’t mean
they’ve stopped selling. I’ve seen many an astute sales rep bring
their manager on a third or fourth sales call to help seal
a deal. With some corporations, executives and even CEOs have
been known to fly out to lock up large transactions. The message
you send to your managers is that you trust them to help with important
deals. At the same time, the message you send to your customers
is that you find them to be important enough to have involvement
from company management.
Help from Customers - Many
people overlook the fact that one of the best ways to get help is
via customer involvement. Imagine the following situation – a customer
has asked for a proposal
on a service. After some initial calls to gather the appropriate
information and to identify the customer’s pain points, you arrange
to put together a draft proposal. You then set a time to review
with the customer. As you review the proposal, you make it clear
that you need the customer’s help in making sure that what you have
provided fits their requirements. You are making a moral appeal
for help. As the two of you talk, you confirm that what have sent
them is accurate. You also get the opportunity to work together
to modify and build the right proposal. Do you see what happens
in these situations? The customer has an active hand in coming up
with the right solution. This enables customers to feel involved
and to receive final proposals that are more likely to be accepted.
Help from Subject Matter
Experts - This is a crucial component of the selling
process in the software industry. Most software companies have
sales organizations that consist not only of account managers and
inside sales but also of pre-sales and post-sales consultants.
These consultants are focused on either providing demos, helping
with technical questions and deploying proof-of-concept installations
(pre-sales) or rolling out product implementations at customer sites
(post-sales). These resources offer a wealth of knowledge on technical
topics since most account managers are not expected to know the
minute details of software products. Likewise, you may have subject
matter experts in your company. Ask for their help on conference
calls, demos, company roadshows, etc.
One thing to
keep in mind – when working with members of your own team, try not
to overwhelm them with too many requests. Hitting up the same sales
rep for information with every lead puts an undue burden on them.
Of course, new reps need extra help so there is a time period when
a lot of questions are understandable. Also, be ready to reciprocate.
If you ask for help, you should be prepared to help, too.