13 things Dwight Schrute can teach you about B2B sales
When you think about a stereotypical sales environment, The Office might come to mind. With good reason: everyone knows that Dwight Schrute is an incredible paper salesman, especially under the tutelage of Michael Scott. And with this list of great advice from Dwight Schrute, you too can learn how to excel at B2B sales:
1: Sales training is no joke
Okay, you may not be eaten in your sleep if you don’t pay attention during sales training, but there’s a reason why companies invest so much in sales training programs: they work.
Apply the tried and true methods taught to you during sales training, and then reinforce that training on a regular basis to keep it fresh in your mind, and you’ll be on your way to Schrute-level sales skills.
2: Check yourself before you wreck yourself
Sometimes sales reps act without fully thinking things through. No shame; it happens to the best of us. However, if you’re feeling unsure about how to respond to a buyer’s question or request, it’s okay to ask for a second opinion. A few minutes of talking with your sales coach could save a valuable sales deal.
3: Social selling is on the rise, so stay connected!
If you’re a sales rep and you don’t use LinkedIn on a regular basis, there’s a problem. However, with the recent strides made with social selling techniques, even LinkedIn may not be enough. Twitter, Google+ and even Facebook can be useful sales tools that help you connect with prospects and learn about your buyers. Plus you can impress everyone with your clever one-liners, like Dwight.
4: Which opportunities should you focus on? The ones who are loyal.
And by loyal, we mean engaged. Why waste your time chasing after deals that will never close? Be smart like Dwight, and go after the deals who are putting as much effort into the purchasing process as you are. If a lead goes cold, it’s worth considering whether you should move on to better opportunities.
5: Don’t be afraid to try on a lot of wigs hats
Too often, sales departments are siloed, completely separated from other departments such as marketing and product development. This can lead sales reps to make unrealistic promises or completely shift messaging away from what marketers have been pushing.
To be a pro sales rep, try to experience a day in the life of a marketer. You’ll get their perspective on your company’s messaging and buyers, so you can both be on the same page.
6: Sometimes caring is a bad thing
Imagine you just found an opening with a buyer at your dream opportunity. You focus all of your efforts on crafting the perfect messaging, carefully building a relationship, creating custom content…only to find out that the company has just purchased from your competitor! Because you’ve invested all of your time on that one opportunity, your other prospects have been neglected.
In short: It’s okay to care, but don’t care too much. Make sure you take a balanced approach to caring for your pipeline.
7: Know what makes a great salesman
Have you ever met someone and instantly thought “this person was born to be in sales”? If you want to improve your sales abilities, the best thing you can do is analyze the characteristics and actions behind that “born for sales” personality. Is it good looks? Persistence? Asking the right questions? (Let’s be honest, those all help).
8: Sales training is good, but it’s no replacement for hands-on selling
A colleague once told me a story about how his company had focused super hard on ramping up their sales training. They sales-trained out the wazoo, and even earned an award for the sales training program they developed…and then at the end of the quarter, the sales reps who had done the training program had been outperformed by the reps who had spent more time selling and less time training.
Moral of the story: Sales training is great for improving your reps’ sales execution… assuming you actually get around to the sales execution part.
9: Always be careful when pronouncing your buyers’ names
If you’ve ever been responsible for the “first contact” with a prospective buyer, you’ve probably had to deal with the uncertainty of guessing at an unusual name’s pronunciation. Unfortunately, as a sales rep, you can’t afford to play the long game and avoid using their name until you can be certain about how to say it.
So here’s what you do: be upfront and honest during that first sales call… “Correct me if I mess up your name. It’s pronounced Dwight, right?” It’s an easy opener to the call, and you won’t risk mispronouncing the prospect’s name repeatedly because they’re too polite to correct you.
10: No buyer question is too stupid
Dwight may not be tolerant of stupid questions in the workplace, but he knows that when he’s talking to a customer, the best thing to do is patiently explain anything the buyer might be confused about.
Put yourself in the buyer’s shoes: would you go with a company that rudely scoffed at the genuine questions you had? No, not likely. So swallow your pride and be a helpful guide to your buyers instead.
11: It’s important to know your stuff
If you’re going to make a claim about your company’s products or services, you need to be able to back it up. The stereotypical stigma against sales reps is always that they’re just making promises that can’t be delivered on, right?
To avoid that stereotype and really come off as a sales guide for your buyers, make sure you have a strong understanding of your products’ features and functionality. You'll impress your buyers and give them the confidence they need to make their purchasing decision.
12: When meeting clients or prospects in person, dress for the occasion
The modern workspace is becoming more casual and relaxed, but there’s still something to be said for showing respect through your attire.
When you’re going to meet a buyer (especially for the first time), it’s better to be overdressed than underdressed. A nice mustard-colored shirt with a tie should do the trick. Just be sure to avoid blue stripes...I hear they're not flattering to the neck.
13: With enough willpower, anything is possible
Anyone in B2B sales knows that persistence is key to winning deals. In fact, only 2% of sales are closed during the first meeting, yet 44% of reps give up after their first attempt!
If Dwight can manage the willpower to adjust his cholesterol, you can pick up that phone and call your buyer again. It all comes down to concentration.
Follow this B2B sales advice, and you’ll make Dwight Schrute proud.
For other great sales advice, see what Michael Scott has to say, or give us a call to learn about how sales enablement software can boost sales productivity.