Separating the Good Telecom Agent From the Great One

Natural selling ability is a must for all agents who want to succeed, but there certainly are differentiating traits between the good sales people and the truly great ones. Both are tasked with doing the same thing–selling–but they vary in how they do their job.

  • Good sales people sell products.
  • Great sales people sell themselves.

Good sales people know every feature and benefit of their product. They spend most of their selling time educating buyers about why their product is the best. Great sales people know exactly the same information but spend less time talking about them. Instead, they get to know people, open their hearts, and build relationships to win the respect of their customers. They believe in the mantra that people buy from people they know and trust.

  • Good sales people are well-versed in the science of selling.
  • Great sales people are experts in both the science and art of selling.

Scientific selling is good practice but great sales people work outside the box and know how to use a good mix of science and art. They treat selling as a craft that needs creative skill and imagination to convince buyers to choose their products.

  • Good sales people achieve expectations.
  • Great sales people exceed expectations.

Good sales people are proficient and can settle for a good sale. Great sales people are passionate and are never satisfied with a good sale; they always do more to achieve more. They know that they have to go back to the customer again and again to stay in the game long enough, treating every turn along the way as a new opportunity for a new sale or repeat order.

  • Good sales people know their buyers’ needs.
  • Great sales people create buyers’ needs.

After successfully closing a sale on a product the buyer needed, a good sales person will walk away and look for new prospects. A great sales person will stay on and create a need that can land him or her a new sale. For instance, let’s say that the product just bought satisfies the buyer’s need for effective HR management. A great sales person will offer an application enhancement that will further improve the effectiveness of the product or something that will meet new regulatory requirements.

  • Good sales people talk about their product.
  • Great sales people let their buyers talk about their business and needs.

Certainly, sales persons need to discuss their product, but more time should be given to allow buyers time to talk about their business. Great sales people often succeed in getting to know the needs of their customers by listening and asking questions. They focus on problems and offer solutions. Their creative minds and imagination begin to work as they visualize the exact product that the customer must have.

  • Good sales people tend to make big promises.
  • Great sales people promise only what they can deliver.

Hoping to make a quick sale, many sales people make big promises. There is danger in this technique because big promises are never easy to fulfill. Great sales people promise only what they can deliver so that they can have a better chance to fulfill them. This also gives them the opportunity to exceed customer expectations and strengthen people’s trust in them.

Good and great sales people differ in many more ways; the list could continue indefinitely. There is no one secret to becoming a great one, but, when good is not good enough, the next best destination is greatness.

Crafting Successful Anecdotes for Telecom Pitches

Previously, theorists liked to argue that purchasing choices, especially those at the business level, were based primarily on facts and reason. The idea of the customer who is carefully weighing and evaluating options is appealing, and there’s no doubt that many customers do incorporate facts into their purchasing decision.  

However, mounting scientific evidence is quickly concluding that emotions are at least as important in influencing purchasing choices.  Facts, it seems, only take human beings so far. Emotions close the deal.

When, then, are sales pitches replete with facts but little emotion? The most successful ones will be ones that acknowledge the reality of the humanity in purchasing choices.

Cut Through the Jargon 

Is there much in the telecommunications industry less exciting than reading a hardware press release?  Half the time, it’s little more than charts and tables, and the release usually contains a fair sampling of names or attributes that were invented by a marketing department.  

On top of that, consider this: Try to specifically describe the differences between some cloud services to a layperson. You’ll find that it’s nearly impossible because of the jargon that, let’s face it, clouds the facts of the matter.

While the various facts and figures may make for impressive slideshows for the executives, the reality for the everyday buyer is different.  Mostly, they are looking for a telecom agent who can cut through the gibberish.  They want an effective solution that will work for them–not the one that produces the most impressive PowerPoint.  

Make Strategic Emotional Appeals

Appeals to emotion have a bad reputation, partly due to how easy it is to buffalo people with deceptive emotional manipulation. However, there’s nothing wrong with adding some personal elements to telecom sales pitches.  Sometimes, it’s the only way to break through the jargon and actually engage a lead with something besides towering bar charts.

When stories are true and when they are used ethically, they are effective emotional appeals.

Simply put, stories or other humanistic elements enhance telecom pitches and all communications.  The stories should include plenty of facts, of course, and they should present a context that the buyer can relate to.

How will those facts translate into sales success?  Let’s take a look.

Integrating Anecdotes

1. Narrate Previous Successes   

Selling with stories is often as easy as starting with this: "We had a situation like that a few months ago…" 

New buyers who are unfamiliar with current telecom technologies want reassurance more than anything else.  They want to know they’re buying from a partner who understands their business needs.   Success stories and other testimonials integrate perfectly into pitches.   

2. Use Personal Anecdotes  

Most buyers don’t relish the idea of working with a faceless company that regards them as an account number.  As global telecommunications move people further apart, they need more reassurances they’re still dealing with other real people at the other end of the videophone.  

Incidents from the agency’s history or the insurance agents themselves are good ice-breakers and help add the "personal touch" to a presentation overloaded with statistics.   

3. Don’t Forget Humor  

Humor is the universal teaching tool.  Nothing can cause a person’s brain to embrace a new idea more quickly aside from physical pain, but that’s rarely a good sales technique.    

A client who laughs while hearing a sales pitch is far more likely to remember it later. And when they do remember it, they’ll smile.  

Path to Success 

People remember stories.  They remember stories that interest them, and they especially remember stories that make them laugh.    

A smart telecom agent looking to engage with leads and make them care about the products will hook them in with a good story or personal anecdote.  Stories create the context for a pitch’s facts, and they help ensure that they remain in the client’s mind later on, when it comes time to make the decision to purchase.

How Telecom Agents Boost Brand Engagement

The massively networked business world has transformed the role of telecom agents from one of luxury to one of necessity. As mobility expanded and as the cloud began to dominate, products and services converged. Telecom agents and their competitive cousins, VARs, yielded a higher demand than did direct carrier reps as businesses competed for brand engagement.

The key advantage of telecom agents is that they bring time-tested skills and traits that help them excel over sales reps when it comes to building brand. When marketed by a telecom agent, the brand of the carrier, service provider, product, or service is boosted as value is added.

Business enterprises, small and medium-sized businesses, and start-ups all benefit from leveraging the services of telecom agents because customers look to agents as liaisons between them and the carriers. People buy from telecom agents– not directly from carriers– because these agents have vast market knowledge and simply know what’s best for customers.

Objective, expert assessment

IT departments spend much of their time in the maintenance and fixing of IT problems instead of researching new technologies. As a consequence, the business loses productivity and competitiveness. Working with an agent allows customers to get an objective assessment of technology trends. It also frees IT managers from having to engage in time-consuming and self-serving sales pitches from multiple carriers. Customers can’t afford dedicated IT experts to evaluate different solutions from different providers, but they can get assessment services from telecom agents at no cost.

Streamlined process

A telecom agent can present multiple options side by side in a single contact point. Customers also get a chance to learn of the best deals and discounts instead of guessing the price. Direct carrier sales reps often have limited and unpredictable work tenures, which means that customers have to start the process all over again when new reps are hired. Telecom agents with established agencies can offer their services for as long as they are in business. Installation is done by the carrier; only supervision is needed on the customer side. Even that task can be completely left to telecom agents.

Managed, continuing service

Telecom agents offer expertise in various management systems, including inventory management, review and audit of bills, services and inventory, and helpdesk services. In addition, if companies experience problems, telecom agents will intervene and solve the issues with the carriers. These services are part and parcel when working with a telecom agent. Telecom agents provide one point of contact and one portal for multiple carriers; this is in contrast to several points of contact and portals for differing carriers. In other words, telecom agents are capable of customizing a full-service solution for any business.

How can a business make their brand prominent? In the fiercely competitive telecom world, independent telecom agents with proven track records can help businesses’ brands make a permanent impression for buyers. Working with an agent now could save a business the risk of having an ineffective carrier, product, or service; an agent could take a business’s brand engagement campaign to the next level.

How Science & Data Can Drive Telecom Sales

If you or your colleagues are using old "call and pray" methods to keep in touch with your leads and to create sales, know that these traditional methods are outdated. Data-based methods are revolutionizing sales in all areas–especially in the telecom arena.

Even if all you have to start with is a blank Excel file, you can start quickly building a set of records that can guide you towards more customers at lower acquisition costs.

Adding Data to Your Sales

How exactly can data help drive your sales? Consider the following:

I. It helps you know your customers.

It’s common enough for a skilled sales person to keep notes on various leads, don’t just keep them in your desk. Building a database of client and customer information will quickly help you create new sales campaigns.

This may take a little while but be persistent. As you build information about your contacts, you’ll start to find patterns in the data, such as shared hobbies. These, then, give you more insight into their personality, and more "hooks" on which to hang sales offers.

2. Data helps you see your clients’ total lifetime value (TLV).

The TLV of your clients is one of the most important factors when considering a scientific sales approach. Methods for calculating this can be detailed or can be based on educated guesses–depending on what your data allows. What you want to know is this: How much money do you expect to make per converted lead?

For businesses with a long existing history, this can be calculated with precision based on past data. For newer companies, use your best guess but be realistic. You can’t assume every client will be placing annual orders for the next century.

The TLV number is vital because it gives you an upper boundary on your marketing and other sales acquisition costs. Precise tracking is important, especially expense-account purchases. If you’re paying more to obtain a customer than they bring in for sales, it’s a losing proposition for your business.

3. Data solidifies sales ROI.

Once you have an estimated TLV, start applying it to your marketing and sales efforts. A very simple return-on-investment formula will be one of your best friends.

The basic ROI formula is simply: (Profits – Costs) / Costs.

In this case, the "profits" would be a client’s TLV, and costs would be whatever your sales and marketing take away. Dividing it this way gives you a fractional answer. If the number is above 1.0 (which represents the break-even point), you’ll know that your sales efforts are truly profitable.

The higher the number, the more profitable you are. Since the costs in sales are largely avoidable, it gives you a good guideline for reducing waste and improving profits.

4. Data secures your spot.

There’s been an unfortunate tendency in businesses, especially in the last twenty years or so, to have sales departments that are isolated from the rest of the business. However, as you come to embrace data-driven techniques, the information you compile can be useful for the entire company.

Ensure that access and the flow of communication remains open. Sales doesn’t have to be a "side project" at your business. If you’re sitting on the best database of consumer ideas and preferences at the company, you can be a source of important insights into the sales direction of your company.

Data Makes the Difference

Good data tracking, handling, and computation often makes the difference between the successes and failures in the telecom industry. By embracing a scientific approach to sales, you’ll be able to deliver what your customers want–and at lower costs to your business.

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