Eight Tips for Success: Help Your Company Break Into the Monitor 100
by Linda P. Kester Monitor 100 2016
Linda Kester offers eight tips to help leasing professionals increase sales and cultivate client relationships. If your company didn’t make it into this years’ Monitor 100, she promises that next year could be different.
My personal mission is helping leasing sales reps do their jobs better. It doesn’t matter how long you’ve been in the industry, you always need to put more wins on the board. If you’d like to make next years’ Monitor 100 list, try a couple of these tips for leasing sales professionals to gain momentum and raise performance.
Put Your Goal in Writing
Write down your income goal for 2016. Set a tangible monthly goal and keep on track. I used to sit down with my leasing reps and ask about their income goal. Then we’d identify how many applications they needed to get on a daily basis, taking into account average transaction size, approval rate and booking rate. They knew every day if they were on track.
By implementing new ideas, you’re leaving your comfort zone. Knowing that it can be uncomfortable will help you manage. For example, I did a sales project for the NAELB recently, and I forced myself to make 40 calls a day. My ego was screaming, “You shouldn’t have to be making all these dials at this point in your career.” Then I’d stop, take a deep breath and say, “I’m just making phone calls. It’s uncomfortable, and that’s okay.” Don’t back away from the uneasiness.
Become Exceptionally Good at Something
I didn’t get into leasing sales to suffer through endless cold calls and declined deals. I made a conscious decision to become an expert relationship builder. Pick a skill that lines up with your strengths and get specific. Maybe you decide to be the best presenter, best sales hunter or the HP-17B funky payment expert.
A simple way to improve your knowledge is to read your lease agreement. Learn what happens at the end of the term. This seems so basic, but many people have never read the entire document. Know exactly how end-of-lease transactions are handled with each funding source. Or, maybe you could aim to be the most focused person on your team. Being a focused and disciplined employee is an amazing feat.
Pick one skill and get moving. The better you are, the more you’re valued. Let your natural strengths and talents lead the way.
Attention, Effort & Motivation
It takes concentration to generate volume. Social media, sales meetings and family obligations are constant distractions. It happens to me all the time. I take out my phone to read a text message and before I realize it, I’m on Facebook. I ask myself, “what are you doing?” Distractions consume an average of two hours of salespeople’s time each day.
Keep Your Attention on the End Result
Motivation comes from effort. Most people think it’s the other way around. Motivation comes after you make a good prospect call. The call goes well, you are pumped up and now you’re motivated. Taking action and staying on course brings motivation. Attention helps eliminate distraction, which increases motivation.
Leverage Your Phone
Speaking of distraction, think about how often you check your phone. Visual cues on your lock screen can motivate you to stay on track. For example, put a message on your lock screen that says “Prospect,” “Network” or “Gratitude.” Then, when you check your phone and notice this message, take action. If the phone says “Prospect,” make a call to one of your existing lessees. If it says “Network,” reach out to one of your contacts with a piece of information, a relevant article or introduce them to a new connection that could be helpful. If networking seems hard, reconnect a dormant business relationship. If it says “Gratitude,” think about all the wonderful things you have in your life. I have found that the more I view my life and my work in terms of gratitude, the more my phone rings. Too many people focus on what they don’t have. It’s better to be grateful for what you do have, and then even better things will come into your life. When you come from a place of gratitude, the client feels it and wants to do more business.
Tell Your Story
Most sales reps try to get prospects to like them, and this can come across as being insincere. Before a prospect can like you, they have to get to know you. Instead of using manipulative tactics, be yourself, ask questions to uncover their needs and then share your story. Share why you got in the leasing business and why you chose to work for your employer. Include your thoughts about being ethical, honest and helpful. Your story delivered at the right time creates likeability in a natural way.
I’ve met a lot of talented people who could have been terrific sales reps, but they had no grit. Grit is more important than natural talent. People with grit identify things that inspire them. Helping a vendor increase sales is what inspired me. If helping vendors isn’t enough to keep you prospecting, relating your goal to income and thinking of your family might do the trick. Think, “If I prospect, I’ll generate more volume and that will help me provide financially for my family.”
Be Provocative, Then Be Quiet
Sales expert Jill Konrath writes, “Research shows that the average salesperson, after asking a question, waits no more than two to three seconds before rephrasing it, answering it themselves or moving on to another topic.”
Instead, ask the vendor, “What is the one single thing that you or your company could do in the upcoming years that would dramatically impact your sales?” That is a stimulating question. Vendors can’t respond with a simple answer. Instead, they stop and think. The beauty of a provocative question is that, from the answer, you learn a whole lot about what’s going on in their organization, what the big challenges are, the prospect’s perspective on the issues and so much more. Konrath says they can’t think of all that in just two or three seconds. In fact, research shows people need eight to 10 seconds to formulate the start of their answer. Once they get talking, they come up with more ideas and gain additional clarity. So when you cut them off at two or three seconds, you lose in many ways.
If you can keep quiet a little longer, you’ll uncover much more. Even worse, when you quickly jump in, prospects think you’re self-serving and only interested in selling to them. When you fail to establish a positive relationship, prospects won’t meet with you again. All this happens because you can’t wait at least eight seconds before filling the silence.
To ensure more silence, prepare some provocative questions ahead of time so you can focus on listening to your prospect. A couple examples are:
What’s the most significant business issue you currently face?
To what extent is growth a factor in your business?
What is most important to you in a leasing company?
After asking a question, start slowly counting to yourself. Go all the way to eight Mississippi. If you get up to 10 Mississippi and still don’t have a response, then it’s time to reframe the question. Silence is your friend.
If you have the strong desire to succeed, and you start taking steady progressive steps, I believe you can do amazing things.
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