#10Tips – How to kill it as an Animal Health Sales Rep!
Tip 1 – Automobile University!
The very BEST sales reps I know, don’t even know how to turn their radios on.
They are too busy listening and learning from experts on Audiobooks or podcasts.
I would set a 21 day do it to yourself program, and for the nest 21d ays only listen to sales Audiobooks.
There are many suggestions from Audible:
- Zig Ziglar – maybe one of the very first
- Brian Tracy – There are so many to choose from My personal favourite
- Tom Hopkins – Loads of sales training
Why? It might be one line or one action that could increase your sales by 10, 20 or 50%
Or you could be a something personal you want to achieve/ a goal you want attain. Here is the opportunity to learn from the experts.
Tip 2 – Don’t Wing It!
Preparation is KING!!!!!
Have you ever dealt with a sales person who is trying to wing it and is totally un-prepared?
I am not sure who suffers the most? The rep totally blows that potential opportunity, even after getting the time to pitch the prospect. Or client having their time wasted?
Have you ever heard this “If I win your, business then I will bother to learn about your company/business” Um…no thanks.
Hacks (as simple as they are)
- Look at the website
- Read notes in CRM from previous reps
- Google prospect for anything interesting
- Search Linkedin – see previous companies
- Get referrals into the business
Please do one of the these or all of the above if you are not already to set your self up. Preparation is king and will help you excel to that next level.
Tip 3 – Keep up the water & get a Keep Cup
To maintain a guilt-free coffee habit (especially in Plastic Free July), get yourself a kick-arse keep cup! Another wise investment is a reusable water bottle. Keep it filled and drink from it regularly.
It’s easy to convince yourself that drinking water means frequent bathroom stops, resulting in reduced productivity. Let me debunk that for you right now!
Dietary recommendations from the US Institute of Medicine say people should drink 2L-3L water a day!! I think it’s safe to say most people are likely mildly, to severely, dehydrated without even realising.
Symptoms of dehydration can be minor like headaches, trouble concentrating and tiredness but, become more serious with weight gain, high blood pressure and kidney issues. Any of these can greatly impact your capacity to work, which in turn impacts your team as well.
In fact, this loss in productivity translates to $2.5 billion loss each year as a result of time off work due to chronic illness, most of which was simple dehydration.
So, if you were to compare the time it takes to stop for the bathroom with time off for any of these dehydration symptoms, I would say, take the bathroom break!
Tip 4 – How to cold call
As a salesperson, cold calling is one of those things which is fine for some while for others, it induces a feeling of dread.
In order to lift your cold calling game, I would suggest you don’t overthink it. Which is why, I’d like to break it down into these 4 hot tips for nailing those cold calls.
- Don’t sell – the aim of that first call is should be all about building rapport with your prospect and establishing what their needs are.
- Prepare –don’t follow a script (you can’t build rapport with one!) BUT, do plan some questions in advance so you ensure you get the information you need.
- Focus on THEM – this is the time for you to learn about them and how you can help. They don’t need to know all your knowledge and information…yet!
- Book in the next something – you could schedule a face-to-face or perhaps a follow-up call. Whatever it is, book it in and leave them wanting more from you.
When it comes to cold calling, if you take away the pressure of making a sale and focus more on building a new relationship, you might just rediscover the fun of reaching out to a new prospect.
Tip 5 – Building rapport
If there’s one thing you must have as a kick-arse salesperson, it’s great rapport. You could have THE BEST portfolio but, if your clients don’t like and trust you, it’ll be useless.
To build rock-solid relationships, there are simple things you can do to show your sincerity as a trusted advisor.
Listen – obviously this is relevant from a business perspective but, if you want to take it one step further (and you should) get to know them personally too. Take note of things like, how they like their coffee, what are their children’s names, when’s their birthday?
Predict – once you really understand your clients, you’ll be able to work proactively, not reactively, to ensure their needs are met. Anticipate objections and respond accordingly; know when their business is shifting and, what you can do to help this change.
Be relevant – when you have super relevant and quality clients, you’ll work together more effectively and, your figures will be better too! Choose wisely to find clients who you can genuinely help and, that rapport will come naturally.
Always remember, a little bit of kindness goes a very long way.
Tip 6 – Fill your cup
I know you’ve probably heard it A THOUSAND times but, that’s because it’s that important.
You can’t fill from an empty cup.
In fact, what are you even doing on LinkedIn on a Saturday?? No matter how busy you are, it’s imperative you take a break from your work to reinvigorate.
Traditionally, weekends have been a time of rest however, particularly in recent times, the workweek can unknowingly bleed into the weekend. While you don’t have to plan anything elaborate, planning SOMETHING that isn’t work related will help you get motivated for another week of work.
Make time for some me time (or, you time!). Maybe you’d like to:
- Sit in the sun;
- Read a book (or at least a couple of pages);
- Play (or watch) some sport;
- Spend time with family or friends.
None of these things cost a lot – if any – money and, are all it takes to get you ready for another week.
So, get off LinkedIn and find your happy place…away from work!
Tip 7 – Hang on, what are you still doing here??
Pretty sure we spoke about this yesterday. You’re supposed to be taking a break from all the work-related things!
Oh well, since you insist on being here, let’s talk about using Sunday to prep for the week.
There’s not much better for an awful case of Mondayitis than organising yourself before the dreaded day arrives. Some things which you might like to consider getting ready include:
- Meals – avoid the hassle of thinking about what to eat each night by doing your planning and shopping before the week starts.
- Clothes – attack the mountain of washing which has accumulated over the previous week to give you a fresh start.
- Car – give the car a good clean and fill ‘er up so you’re ready to hit the road running on Monday morning.
- Keep cups – remember we spoke about having these in your car? Ensure they’re clean and easily accessible to keep you hydrated, happy and well.
- Take a breath – this is your one, last chance to have a moment to yourself so, do whatever it is that fills your cup.
Ok, get out of here, prep yourself for the week and I’ll see you back here tomorrow!
Tip 8 – Territory Planning
As a salesperson, managing a territory without a clear plan is kind of like driving without a map. Yeh, you’ll eventually find your way but, you’ll have wasted a lot of time and effort in the process.
In order to most effectively manage your territory, I would suggest doing the following:
- An overall review – yes, you should be super familiar with all your clients but, no matter how well you know them, a review is always helpful.
- Categorise – now that you’re up to date with your clients, assign them each a category. You might like to do this according to their time demands, their purchase history or their geographical location.
- Set goals – think about how your customers are performing and look for ways to improve it. It might be as simple as scheduling an extra visit or call and, you can consider this as you plan your month.
- Implement and evaluate – now that you have a strategy, it’s time to roll it out! Put it into action and regularly reflect on how it’s progressing.
Consider your territory plan a little like a treasure map. With time and effort, it will guide you to something pretty darn special!
Tip 9 – Keep track of important dates
Ideally as a business you’d be working out of a shared CRM however, if this isn’t the case it’s still a great idea to set reminders for important dates in your diary.
Remember back in Tip 5, we spoke about building rapport? Well, since you’ve been doing such a great job of being aware of the little things, you’ve got lots to keep track of. Rather than letting all that awesome information go to waste, remind yourself (and maybe even them!) of things like:
- Client’s birthday or wedding anniversaries;
- Big games for the sports team they follow;
- An event you know they’d love to go to;
- A holiday they have coming up.
When you have a lot of information floating around in your head which you simply MUST remember, you’re guaranteed that something will slip through. Don’t go to all the trouble of finding out crucial details from your client and then letting them go to waste.
Set yourself reminders, either in your calendar or notes and, you’ll be recognised for the truly thoughtful person that you are!
Tip 10 – Turn off your notifications!
And there you have it, I saved my most controversial tip until last. You’re welcome.
But yes, I really mean it. Turn off your notifications!
Nothing kills productivity more than the incessant ping of that hilarious group chat responding to latest meme as it does the rounds. So, turn it off.
If you want to go one step further, you can file all your social media and other distracting apps into a folder on your phone. This will make them less visible and thus, less tempting when you really need to concentrate.
It’s not like you won’t be able to catch up on everything you’ve missed. All you’re doing is telling the phone not to interrupt you every time someone posts a laughing emoji. When you’ve completed the task you needed to, head into the app or open your emails where everything will be waiting for you.
This simple change will make such a HUGE difference to your productivity. In fact, with all the time you’ll be saving, you might even be able to create the next viral sensation!
Shannon Wood, Managing Director S8 Expert Recruitment Solutions. I have over 14 years recruitment experience specialising in the animal health industry across the ANZ region. Areas of expertise include sales and marketing, technical roles (Quality Assurance, Quality Control & Regulatory Affairs) and operational & financial positions. I work extensively in the veterinary, ruminant, monogastric, aquaculture and the pet specialty industries and I look forward to the next 14 years.