“The best practice is to follow the advice posted on every railroad crossing: Stop, look and listen.” -Sam Keen
In the last article we looked at how to use a Tel Sell Program to increase sales and selling efficiency in your distribution business. Today, we’ll dig into Tel Sell Best Practices – the specific steps to create a successful Tel Sell program.
Many distributors have a Tel Sell program to solicit orders from smaller, lower volume accounts. This saves time and expense for the route sales team who can then use their time more effectively in larger, higher volume stores.
Shifting the smaller, lower volume accounts to tel sell does not mean that sales to these outlets have to suffer. The goal of a tel sell program is just the opposite: Grow sales and provide as good or better service the route sales person.
Use the best practices below to set up a Tel Sell Program in your distributorship.
Tel Sell Best Practices
- Tel Sell Training: Accounts, Products, and Selling techniques
- Tell Sell Tools + Creative Marketing
- Use Thank You’s to Increase Sales
- Tel Sell Best Practices Checklist
Tel Sell Training
“The purpose of training is to tighten up the slack, toughen the body, and polish the spirit.” – Morihei Ueshiba
The purpose of training to your tel sell team is to create an in-house selling machine.
Training on products, customers and selling techniques is a first step to creating a great tel sell program. If you already have an excellent sales training program for your route sales team, use it. No need to re-invent the wheel, just be sure to give your tel sell person the same time, energy and effort in the training process.
Product training involves learning the portfolio and understanding which brands fit in which retail accounts. Sell sheets on brand attributes, and sampling of products are necessary tools in the product training toolkit.
Customer training includes learning about the retail accounts – on/off premise, market type, and ordering history. Learn the specific needs of the account and whether there are special instructions. Training involves gathering information from the route sales rep who previously sold the account.
Customer training also includes a few road trips. Do the homework. Visit the account, and meet in person. Understand their business so that we can serve them better.
Basic training on sales and selling techniques. Simply put, teach your tel sell person how to sell. Most people don’t know how to sell the right way. Provide a sales script. Conduct role playing and have the tel sell person practice their technique.
Lastly, don’t forget the basics. Provide training on the regular tel sell sales call schedule and customer delivery day. Understand the day and time when the sales call will be made, and the day and time of the customer delivery.
Tel Sell Tools + Creative Marketing
To make the most of the tel sell program, a few tools are needed: Route accounting software, customer relationship management software and online marketing programs.
Route Accounting. Your route accounting software system, VIP or Encompass, has tons of information to help in the sales process. Give your tel sell person access to the route accounting and teach them how to use it. Access to basic sales reports, delivery schedules and inventory on-hand are essential tools for tel sell.
Customer Relationship Management Software, or CRM, gives your tel sell person an organized look at customers and prospects. With this tool you can keep track of sales calls, customer notes, and customer satisfaction.
Marketing and e-commerce programs. Your customers want to know what new products you have and email marketing is a good way to let them know. Programs like MailChimp or Aweber make it easy to schedule regular marketing emails.
Email is also great way to share your full product portfolio. A route sales person rarely has time to present more than a handful of brands during a sales call. Email gives your tel sell person the opportunity to share everything you have to offer.
The goal of a tel sell program is to sell as much or more than with the traditional route sales model. To achieve this goal, give your customer the ability to make “frictionless purchases”. Allow them to place orders via email or on your website. Make it easy for customers to buy from you.
Using Thank You to Increase Sales
A simple “thank you” can translate into more sales. Have your tel sell person go beyond the nuts and bolts of the sales transaction and give regular appreciation to the customer.
A ‘thank you’ can come in many shapes and forms:
- Send your customer a card. Acknowledge a birthday or anniversary, or just send a note of thanks.
- Praise them on social media. Your customer has customers too. Let the world know they provide great service (and great products – yours!)
- Refer business to your customer (and let your customer know)
Lastly, small, thoughtful gifts can go a long way. Give the account something small but meaningful. Everyone loves hats and t-shirts.
Wrap up + Action Items
A Tel Sell program is used to drum up orders from smaller, lower volume accounts. This saves time and expense for the route sales team who can then use their time more effectively in larger, higher volume stores.
The goal of a tel sell program is to grow sales and provide the same or better customer service as the route sales person.To achieve this goal, use the best practices presented here as a guide and download the one-page Tel Sell Best Practices Checklist.
Sales growth and selling efficiency awaits. Put in place a tel sel program in your beer business today.