Regardless of trade, successful sales professionals share common qualities beyond just a strong work ethic. Most thrive working with different personalities and without a fixed schedule and often outside of a traditional workspace, too. Though the industry has certainly changed with an increase in outsourcing and automation, many companies recognize that there is still a need for human interaction to deliver both exceptional customer service and foster client relationships. For some customers, this might translate into more face time or frequent in-person meetings. Others may value real-time answers and updates. In a highly competitive marketplace, how a sales rep conducts business is nearly as important as what they can deliver. There’s no question that personality and commitment go a long way, but there are also practical tips and tools that sales pros can employ to make sure they stay at the top of their game. Read on for ways to make your sales efforts a success.
Make Your Office Mobile
Business meetings are no longer confined to the board room and savvy sales pros know better than to make the client come to them. Instead, consider offering up more convenient meeting sites. When there are geographical barriers or for the frequent traveler, Skype calls can work well in lieu of in-person since they still allow face-to-face engagement. Another idea is to suggest an unconventional space such as the local coffee shop or if appropriate, a quiet wine bar, so the meeting feels more intimate and conversational. Regardless of the meeting place, it’s important to deliver the same quality of work while on the go, including the ability to take notes or even collaborate on documents. A laptop is one solution, but can be cumbersome when there’s limited space and can often feel distracting with the sound of typing detracting from the conversation taking place. It can also feel considerably less personal; how often do you look up when you type? A more traditional notepad also works for sketching out timelines or illustrating processes, but are less helpful later when having to flip through pages of notes to find a keyword or phrase and they can’t be easily shared for input.
Fortunately, there are devices that can provide the efficiency of a laptop with the ease of traditional handwriting on a notepad. Bamboo offers a portfolio of smartpads: Bamboo Folio and Bamboo Slate, both of which provide a digital platform for capturing ideas on regular paper with the ability to turn notes, sketches or diagrams into digital files. With Inkspace, Wacom’s cloud solution, you can easily access all your files in one place as well as edit, save and share with others with just the push of a button. With a paid Inkspace Plus subscription, you can export handwritten notes as text, saving you and your client precious time.
Deliver in Real-Time
The most valuable sales professionals don’t wait for their clients to ask for info or updates, rather they proactively deliver insights on industry trends and offer solutions to improve their customer’s business and bottom line. Whether it’s a brainstorm about a competitor’s weakness or notes on a proposed transaction or plan, with a Bamboo smartpad, it’s easy to start with an idea, then develop that idea into a plan with features within the Inkspace app, the Bamboo Paper app or compatible apps such as Evernote and OneNote. Once you have your plan or proposal, send those time-sensitive files from anywhere, at any time. By pairing with compatible apps and Inkspace, users can convert handwritten notes to text, easily add annotations, markup documents or convert drawings or diagrams to an .SVG format to make editing and sharing files quick and seamless.
Be an Active Listener
Forging good relationships is one of the key tenets of building and retaining a solid client base and active listening—concentrating on the words being discussed, not just hearing them—is an integral part of fostering that trust. Since taking notes is often imperative during client meetings, it’s important to make sure you remain engaged in the conversation while doing so. Though it may seem the most efficient method of note-taking, typing on a laptop can often make the user seem disengaged, focused on the keyboard rather than the dialogue. A good alternative is the smartpad, so you can take notes as you would on a regular pad of paper with the benefit of converting notes into digital files. Plus, research has shown that handwriting notes vs. typing can increase memory retention and comprehension. And note-taking isn’t just limited to capturing business points, it can also be used to quickly jot down your client’s favorite wine or sports team for when you want to send a personalized thank you gift down the line.
Collaborate and Empower
In sales, there are often multiple points of contact involved in decision-making. It’s essential that every sales pro embrace collaboration and use it as a tool to empower their customers and turn them into advocates. Allowing key stakeholders to be part of the planning process provides another level of transparency as well as creates an opportunity to problem solve and gather more ideas. By starting with a smartpad, like the Bamboo Folio, and continuing with the Ink Collaboration feature in Inkspace Plus, you can easily bring clients into the planning stage by sharing notes, charts or other ideas digitally. Within Inkspace, notes can be easily edited and annotated or compiled into a master document to circulate to the entire team.
Use the Best Tools of the Trade
Not all sales pros work the same so fortunately there are three styles of the Bamboo smartpad to choose from. They all offer a natural handwriting experience, so you can write as you would normally with the Bamboo smart pen and any paper (up to 50 pages with the Bamboo Spark and up to 80 with the Bamboo Folio and Bamboo Slate). Write, sketch and draw, then press a button to save digitally. Files can be saved locally and accessed on Android and iOS smartphones and tablets and with compatible apps, you can organize, save and share files with anyone.
The Bamboo Folio comes in two sizes: one for full-size notebook paper (A4) and a half-size (A5) option. The dark gray cover helps you stay organized and keeps the smartpad protected.
The Bamboo Slate comes in two sizes: one for letter and half-letter-sized paper both come in a medium gray color. The slim design without a cover offers a lightweight, on-the-go solution.
See how entrepreneur John Gannon uses Bamboo smartpads in his work.