By Rick Mullen,
Maintenance Sales News Magazine Associate Editor
In part one of Maintenance Sales News’ two-part series on Sales Consultant Jim Pancero’s
presentation titled, “Winning Selling Strategies For Today’s Disruptive Sales Realities,” which appeared in the
January 2020 eNews, he shared how
selling has changed dramatically in the past five years.
Pancero said a company's electronic footprint goes beyond just maintaining a website.
“What are you doing on social media? Are you posting videos? What are you doing to gain visibility for your company? How do people know you are around?” Pancero asked an audience of cleaning industry professionals. “When a new sales rep calls, the first thing you do is Google the company he/she represents. What happens if the company doesn’t show up in a search? If the company does have a website, what if it is a cheap little thing with very little information? What would that say about the company?
“What if you want to have me for sales training and you look on YouTube and there is nothing there? What would that say about me? Today, a company’s electronic footprint is an extension of its brand.
“Your company’s presence in your market is being measured, not just physically onsite, but also electronically. So, the more presence you have, the more it strengthens your brand.”
Pancero said it would be a good idea to ask customers what is the social media platform on which they spend the most time.
“For younger customers, it is probably going to be Instagram. For the older, it is going to be Facebook,” Pancero said.
The idea is, Pancero explained, whatever social media platform a customer uses the most is where a distributor should also establish a presence.
“If I ask my customers and everybody I talked to is on LinkedIn, where should I spend my time? Decide where you should have a presence and have visibility online, because when you have those two things, you have strength,” Pancero said.
MORE ON THE GENERATIONAL CHANGEOVER
Because of the generational changeover, a sales leader’s job has changed dramatically, Pancero said.
Breakdown of the generations:
• Over 90 years old: The Greatest Generation (born before 1925);
• From 71 to 90: The Silent Generation (1923 to 1944);
• From 51 to 70: Baby Boomer Generation (1945 to 1964);
• From 38 to 54: Generation X (1961 to 1977);
• From 16 to 37: Generation Y/millennials (1978 to 2000); and,
• Under 15: Generation Z (2000 to 2015).
“We are going through this generational change where the baby boomers are phasing out and the millennials are coming in. Gen X is a very important generation that is flexible,” Pancero said. “If you are an older Gen Xer you tend to follow baby boomer philosophies. If you are a younger Gen Xer, you are more in line with millennials.”
During the baby boomer era, the interaction between salespeople and their managers was much different from what is required in leading a millennial sales force.
“Baby boomer sales reps were ‘independent gunfighters.’ Their attitude toward sales managers was, ‘Just leave me alone, get out of my way and just be there when I need you,’” Pancero said. “In the old days, the only thing sales managers did was special pricing, expediting, problem solving and customer calls. Baby boomers hid from their managers — ‘Just stay away from me so I can improve my sales.’”
Pancero contrasted the backgrounds of the two generations by examining how each group played as children.
“If you are a baby boomer, the games you played took place independently in the neighborhood,” Pancero said. “Somebody had a bat, somebody had a ball and you had a game. You spent a third of the time picking sides, a third playing the game and a third fighting whether the ball was in or out.
“In contrast, millennials didn’t go outside to play. They were driven to practice. At practice there was a coach and at every practice they were taught something. Therefore, when they join your sales team, they expect to be taught. At every meeting with a manager, millennials assume they are going to be taught something.
“During their entire time growing up, whenever millennials played, fun was associated with learning and teaching. Millennials didn’t have creativity to figure out how to hit a ball, they were taught how to hit a ball the right way from the beginning. So, now that they are on your sales team, what is their creativity level? It is right down to the ground. They don’t know how to figure something out on their own, because they have always been taught how to do things.
“Millennials sit in their office and ask, ‘What do you want me to do? Who do you want me to call? I called and there was nobody there, now what do you want me to do?’ As a result, selling today has become ‘paint by numbers.’
“If you are going to launch a new campaign for the month, we can’t just tell millennials to go out there and be creative. They don’t know how. It’s not fair. It’s never been part of their background.”
Pancero explained the difference between “transactional” managers and “selling process” managers. Some of the differences between the two has to do with the point in the selling process the manager gets involved.
Transactional managers don’t get involved in the process until after the sales rep issues a quote. After the quote is given, the transactional manager asks, “What is it going to take to close this business?”
“At this point, we are back to special pricing, expediting, problem solving and customer calls,” Pancero said. “The only thing the transactional manager can do is either cut the price, or promise extra services and training to sweeten the deal, which is cutting margins to win the business.”
In today’s business environment, the selling process manager gets involved in the beginning before a quote is given.
“The selling process manager does not do the job for a sales rep, but rather gives guidance, coaching and direction,” Pancero said. “We just don’t leave our people on their own anymore.
“By the way, this same change has already been made in the NFL (National Football League). Ten years ago, who called the plays on the field? — the quarterback. Today, the offensive coordinator up in the stands calls the plays. Is it because quarterbacks are dumber today? The quarterback is not the problem, it is because the game has gotten more complex. There’s more process. There’s more structure and complexity, so quarterbacks need a coach.
“Transactional managers only ask two questions — ‘what?’ and ‘who?’ What are you going to close this month and who is it going to be. What do you have coming in this month and who is it going to be?
“The two words selling process coaches use are ‘how?’ and ‘why?’ How are you going to go after that account? Why aren’t you also calling on that person?”
Pancero said one of the major problems he has working with older “transactional” managers is their attitude, i.e., “What I’m doing has worked for 20 years, why do I need to change? We just need to hire more motivated people.”
“Selling process coaches guide and lead their people through the process. Transactional managers get out of the way,” Pancero said. “So, while baby boomers are hiding from their managers, millennials are walking in the door saying, ‘Help me.’ It’s the difference in the cultures.”
Pancero said one of the things an effective coach and leader can do is develop ongoing sales training, even if it is only 10 or 15 minutes at each sales meeting.
“Remember, every time millennials went to practice they were taught something,” Pancero said. “You have a window of opportunity to conduct ongoing training to improve the process, no matter the senority levels of your sales reps.”
Pancero touted videos as effective training tools.
“There are thousands of videos that are all under five minutes long on selling that are being cranked out in the marketplace today,” Pancero said. “The first thing to do is show a video. Then after the video, ask your sales team three questions: ‘What did you think of the video? How relevant are those ideas to our industry and company? What are you going to do/try differently based on what we’ve learned from this video?’ With just those three questions, you can lead a discussion.”
In addition, to follow up on a weekly training session involving a video, Pancero suggested that during normal conversations throughout the week, managers ask sales reps if they have had any success with the new ideas discussed.
Pancero also shared some sources where managers can find videos.
“Hubspot published an article titled, ‘The 34 best sales training videos on YouTube,’” Pancero said. “It lists all the best sales trainers who have free videos to help you. I am very excited that my video is No. 10.”
Pancero’s video on the list is titled, “Your Price is Too High – 7 Steps to Defending Price.” His free sales rep training videos can be found at www.youtube.com/c/JimPancero.
“You can also connect with me on LinkedIn, where I am posting four videos a week on sales and sales leadership (all under four minutes),” Pancero said. “You can also subscribe to my free Friday e-newsletter (at www.Pancero.com) that includes links to the four videos posted that week.”
For more in-depth sales video training by Pancero, visit www.AdvancedSalesUniversity.com.
Pancero also highly recommended attending the University of Innovative Distribution (www.univid.org), which takes place every March in Indianapolis, IN. This year, the event is scheduled for March 8-11.
Contact: Jim Pancero,
2006 Robin Hill Lane, Carrollton, TX 75007.