A few days ago I caught up with a sales rep for a cup of coffee. We were talking about the strategies behind developing great relationships with his clients, when he said something really interesting:
“I woke up at 2 a.m., checked my phone, and responded to an email I had just received from one of my clients. She loved that I responded when I did, and it gave her a chance to plan her schedule the next day accordingly.”
By simply responding to an email when it came in, his client was really excited, and saw an immediate return on her investment of time.
Now, I’m not saying that sales reps need to constantly be tuned into their cell phone or email, but there is something to be said about adjusting to the modern day buyer’s schedule. No longer are folks working from nine to five, and then going home. In fact, employees are now averaging roughly 47 hours of work per week.
Here are a few easy ways for reps to adjust to the modern buyer’s schedule, and build a strong relationship at the buyer’s preferred cadence.
1) Be available.
Again, you don’t need to wake up at 2 a.m., but by scheduling time during the day specifically for checking emails and voicemails, you’re making yourself available to your customers and prospects.
Sales manager Rizan Flenner writes that great salespeople are available above all else. “Just by being there, by answering questions as they come up and participating in decision meetings, these guys create a level of trust and security that most other reps miss out on,” according to Flenner.
Make the extra effort to answer questions from your prospects when they come in, be flexible in scheduling meetings that work for them, and work outside of normal business hours if the situation calls for it. Availability is part of what makes a great modern rep.
2) Respond efficiently.
Customers and prospects don’t like waiting. They want to hear back as soon as possible from their reps, because time is their most valuable resource. With each hour they wait, their need to move forward becomes more and more urgent.
The good news is the bar isn’t too high in regard to response time, so you can easily beat it. One study found that the average first response time for B2B sales was 42 hours. That’s nearly two days to respond to an email or phone call. Besting that time should be a piece of cake if you commit yourself to being responsive.
It’s also important to remember that responding efficiently doesn’t always mean sending the complete answer right away. Sometimes a quick email that says: “Hey, I’m looking into it now. Stay tuned.” will do just fine. Keep in mind that any response beats no response -- even if you don’t have an answer yet.
3) Let the customer make the call.
Instead of you choosing a meeting time, let the customer or prospect decide when is best for them to hop on the phone or grab lunch. There is nothing worse than a rep scheduling a time … and then being late.
As a sales rep, it’s up to you to adjust to your buyers’ schedule, and not the other way around. And with the help of scheduling apps like HubSpot Meetings, it’s easy for prospects to choose a mutually beneficial time.
The modern buyer’s schedule is dramatically different. Some folks like to get up early, others take the afternoon off, and some even prefer to work through the night. The modern sales rep needs to adjust by being available when their prospects are.
There’s no need to wake up every hour on the hour and check your email, but simply being available to a prospect, responding as efficiently as you can, and finding some extra time in your calendar can speak volumes about how much you value the relationship.