This is part three of a three-part series on the importance of having the right sales agents in a small business. Check out part one, How to Optimize Sales Agents in Your Retail Business, and part two, The Importance of Business Development In a Small Business.
I wanted to round out the discussion by pinpointing the charismatic and professional sales agents, which will bring us full circle in a discussion that began with part one, which highlighted how to optimize the retail and inbound sales agents employed within your organization.
“Charisma only wins people’s attention. Once you have their attention, you have to have something to tell them,” said American author Daniel Quinn.
As I mentioned during part one, I believe that the charismatic sales agent would include individuals that aren’t typically referred to as sales agents, but who sell a product or service using some sort of unique aesthetic or preeminent characteristic, such as their good looks, great voice, great speaking ability, over-the-top theatrics, or their household name.
Business owners who utilize charismatics are usually involved in some sort of indirect sales approach, that of which is meant to distribute a message to hundreds, thousands, or even millions of prospective customers in a relatively short period of time. Typically, their message will include some sort of communication link (such as a website or a telephone number) where interested prospective customers can place an order online or interact with an inbound sales agent.
“In-direct” in this regard refers to utilizing various ad placements on particular mediums that have a mass exposure to a target audience in general. My definition of a “direct” approach would be a form of communication that targets a singular prospective customer individually, such as a direct telephone call, email, letter in the mail, inbox message on social media platforms, such as LinkedIn, etc. Just about any business that wants to market to their chosen target audience via in-direct marketing mediums such as the television, radio, video, print, etc., could utilize charismatics who would be the actors/models displaying the products through the particular medium. This includes small local businesses targeting a local audience and multi-nationals targeting both domestic and offshore prospective customers.
Distribution channel choices will include national, regional, state or local television, radio or print ads, along with online video or audio placements on websites, search engines, online podcasts or through live feed internet hangouts/shows. Here are some strategies and recommendations for using Charismatics in your sales efforts:
- When Utilizing Online Video, Online Audio and Online Ads: The internet is often the most efficient and cost effective way to reach prospective customers. There are companies that will supply Charismatics to perform in your video, audio and ad placement as well as produce your ad, all for a cost effective price. They will usually help you identify your target audience and reach hundreds, thousands or millions of people much more cost effectively than doing so using print, television and radio mediums.
- When Selecting Charismatics: These will include your actors, models and celebrities that will perform in your ad(s). You can contact many online talent agencies to find great discounts on actors and models who can provide quality work at cost effective pricing. Hiring celebrities would of course come with the highest price tag, so hiring great looking actors and models who provide quality work in a small local market might be the best bet in terms of a quality production at a cost effective price tag.
- On Messaging and Targeting: This type of sales/marketing is one of the most expensive to manage, thus, you want to make sure your message is clear, to the point, and being directed to the right audience of prospective customers who are likely to “buy” the products you offer.
The Professional Sales Agent
“Business, to be successful, must be based on science, for demand and supply are matters of mathematics, not guesswork,” said writer and traveling salesman Elbert Hubbard.
As mentioned in the prior sales optimization article, the professional sales agent is one that would function within a business development framework. To once again define business development, it is an integrated strategic management of operational areas including market analysis, product innovation, finance, legal, human resources, supply chain, and vendor relations, with a focus on creating long-term value for the organization. Operating from a business development framework would begin with a supply-and-demand analysis, by taking a look at what’s currently happening in the market and asking:
- Where can innovation be created?
- Whose issues and challenges are not being addressed?
- Where can we fulfill unmet demand?
The majority of outside B2B, B2C, and B2G sales professionals who sell solutions that are usually more complex, would fall under the category of the professional sales agent. If I had to recommend a professional sales optimization system to “model”, it would be that from Jeff Thull of Prime Resource Group, which focuses in on concepts known as Diagnostic Selling and Value-Based Selling. Thull says that the professional sales agent should be a valued source of business advantage for the prospective client, rather than just a person who goes through a series of sales material regurgitation. The professional sales agent should have exclusive access to top tier services, platforms, products, big data, innovation, capital, knowledge, key players, forecasts and trends, that would provide value to the prospective client (value defined as benefits that the prospective client does not have access to) that would allow the prospective client to view the agent as a “valued external extension” of their organization.
Value-based selling is all about creating innovative solutions to resolve unmet marketplace demand. It begins with examining the marketplace for a sector that’s in “trouble,” one that’s missing efficiency in some capacity that’s causing issues, such as higher-than-needed costs, missed opportunities, and more. A solution is developed to fill in the gap, eliminate the issues, preserve profits and create efficiencies. The solution might be a first-mover strategy, where the agent is first to the market in terms of fulfilling the unmet demand, or it might be a second-mover strategy, where the agent is coming in not as a pioneer, but more as a person that produces a product that’s more “efficient” than the first one, in an attempt to steal away market share from companies that got to the market before they did.
Businesses more than likely to utilize the professional sales agent would include those that employ financial services representatives, such as financial advisers, stock brokers, real estate agents, investment bankers, private equity managers, insurance agents, loan officers, mortgage brokers, and other commercial lending specialists. You also can include companies that sell various commercial technology in the form of hardware, software, machinery, or other advanced engineering products. You can also include companies that sell various commercial consumables including medical devices, pharmaceuticals, various industrial raw materials, and more.
The Final Word
Which of the four types of sales people are applicable to your organization? There are four types of salespeople, according to my research, and this three-part sales optimization discussion was designed to highlight the four types of salespeople, as well as discuss terms applicable to the production of a consistent sales volume such as:
- Business Development
- Supply and Demand
- Market Research
- Diagnostic and Value Based Selling
Every business exists based on its ability to generate new sales, and many fail due to their inability to generate “enough sales” in a profitable manner.
Whether you employ the retail sales agent, the inbound sales agent, the professional sales agent, or the charismatic sales agent, or a combination of all four, an optimized sales process is key to effectively utilizing these four types of agents. Without the proper optimization of these four types of agents, you can have a great product, a great company name, operate in a great location, and hire the best accountants, but your sales process might be inefficient and that could ultimately spell the untimely demise of your entrepreneurial pursuit.
Optimize your sales process so you can live long and prosper! After all, you are the foundation of our nation’s free market capitalistic system.