Receiving a tour of a customer’s offices or production facilities is a major competitive selling opportunity. Are your reps getting maximum advantage from their tours of customer’s facilities? Join me as I share what your reps can do to gain more insight and competitive positioning from their customer facilities tours…so they can sell even more!
How effective are your team members at getting tours of your customers' facilities? Hi, I'm Jim Pancero, helping you become a stronger leader of your sales team. And the reality now, as COVID now has become stable within most of our business environments, I bet your salespeople are going to be receiving a lot more customer plant tours, warehouse facility tours, or production facility tours. How effective are your people at this major selling opportunity?
My concern for many is this is a missed opportunity of their selling because it is reactively take the tour instead of using it for the proactive selling opportunity it really is. One of the first suggestions to your team is if you're going to be touring your customer's facility, do your homework in advance. Do you know all the products that they carry or manufacturer? Do you understand where they are in the marketplace, what their facilities look like in advance, just to make sure you have some kind of preparation and awareness before you go on your tour of their facility?
The second thing is this is not a time to sell. This is a time to position and to learn and to identify. This is not the time to sell, so you don't want to be giving a pitch of a product while you're walking around on the tour. Save that for afterwards as part of the summary to say, "By the way, I think I can help you because of this new product we have or because of this service we can offer." But the idea is that the tour is to look for selling opportunities in the future, not something you have to talk about while you're on the tour.
And the third thing is, this is going to sound funny, but most people are not aware that you're an outsider. So if you tour somebody's facility, it's a big deal. Everybody working there knows you're an outsider, knows you've not been there before, and so they know you're important in some way to the company. So they're watching you. So this is an important time to be making sure you smile and have eye contact and just recognize the different workers that you see while they're working to show their importance and your respect for their job.
The next idea is to make sure that as you ask questions, it's an idea that's always worked for me, is to alternate your questions with the idea that in between every other question you ask what I call a dumb question. It's an uninformed question. "What are you doing here? What is this product? What is happening with it? Why do people buy it?" Or any of those questions an outsider would ask.
But then, every other question, you ask an insider expert question. "Well, I can imagine with these kind of products, you must have problems with spoilage," or something that shows you're aware of their business and aware of the challenges they're dealing with to show you really do know their business. This is when you can ask the questions to really understand as an outsider what's going on, but at the same time, validate and prove to the customer you know what you're talking about and you truly do understand their business and how you could help them.
And the final idea is when you're done with the tour, this is important. They're showing their family to you. It's an important part of their life. So we've got to make sure no matter how bad the tour is, at the end, you thank them for the tour, and you congratulate them on their operations. And you point out something about their tour or facility that impressed you or you thought was unique or different in how they were doing business, affirming what's going on with their business.
The reality is these tours of customer opportunities are really the sales window to help you position and understand and learn about what you're going to sell later. This is a great research time if your people are proactive in how they do the efforts. Would love to know how you're doing with your facility tours, would love to answer any of your questions. Thanks for checking out my podcast. I'm posting two new podcasts each week, all aimed at helping you and your team increase your selling competitive advantage.