I'm getting ready to head out to Florida next week for RB's annual Florida auction and I can't wait! For starters it's been a while since I've walked around an equipment yard and, for sure, from what I've read, heard and seen from other auctions I've been to in the past, I'm about to see the biggest equipment yard yet!
Secondly, I'm looking forward to meeting up with pals in the industry and attending what someone recently told me, is the 'bellwether of the industry'. In fact last years numbers are staggering:
Like I said, I can't wait to go.
Perhaps what I'm looking forward to the most though, is meeting the guys and girls I know, and don't know (you know who are!) in sales!
Just the other week I had a conversation with the CEO of one of the industry's largest and leading equipment rental companies and was asked: 'OK 'Krank' looks good, but what will it do for me?'
That's the question I most dread if I'm honest. It's a question that of course I know the answer to but I'm always challenged to answer it in 30 seconds or less before the person's (asking it) eyes start to glaze over with boredom.
The other day though I think I just squeaked it in under the time limit.
'It's simple, Krank and in particular Krank's new APP, "a communication APP designed specifically (more on this later - scheduled for release end of Feb '19) for the heavy equipment marketplace" is just going to give your sales teams their inventory, all of their client info, their client and co-worker connections on the go, in their hand 24/7 and that means they can react almost immediately to any enquiry." I just timed it - 21 seconds! That's really all there is to the platform.
It's a digital communications platform which has been designed to manage your connections, simplify and channel your marketing efforts and help your company 'sell more'. There's a ton of features like the live chat/group chat messaging module, tagging, sharing, re-sharing, the marketplaces etc. that I can go on about, but that's not what I wanted to talk about now.
When I was talking to this CEO, (who gave me about 15 minutes of his time which I considered a huge result as he normally only deals in serious 'short shrift'), I asked him a couple of rhetorical questions in return:
'What do most salesmen/women have in common?
First answer: They 'love to talk' I've never met a salesman who doesn't. Of course though the flip side is that the really successful salesmen/women also know 'how to listen' To listen, and identify the pain points the customer is experiencing, to really listen to what they're looking for and to provide solutions not just features.
Second answer: Sales people (I'm getting stuck on being gender neutral here!) love to do one thing, and that's be out on the road and in front of customers.
This is an interesting one to ponder because it reminds me of another conversation I had with someone last year about CRMs. This anonymous source, a C-suite level executive in a big dealership told me frankly; 'You know Mark, getting our sales teams to engage on a daily basis with our CRM is one of my biggest challenges! Basically everyone ignores them, until month-end comes around and they have to give me numbers. That's when they're back on their CRM screens filling in the blanks!'
If you think about it, of course they hate doing it. I can't stand going through our finances, sitting at a desk and doing Admin, because at heart I'm a salesman! I love nothing more than getting out there on the road, sticking some music on, heading out to my next appointment and getting my next cup of dodgy coffee! but the best part is, there is no other feeling in business, (in my opinion) that can compare to that of closing a deal. It's addictive and I love it! Have me sitting behind my desk, filling in forms just sucks the energy out of me, energy I need to put into my pitches and client meetings.
One of our co-founders David McCarthy recently recommended a great article written by: Cindy Zhou, VP and Principal Analyst at a Silicon valley technology research company called 'constellation research' Her article is titled: 'How Communications Platforms Drive Customer Engagement' (unfortunately I can't embed the link as it's a PDF download). It's a great article with a couple of quotes that are worth mentioning as I think they can be applied almost across any industry in today's world:
The opening lines in her Exec summary:
"Today’s digitally empowered customers create a challenge for organizations to sell, market and service them effectively. Expectations are higher than ever before, and customers openly share both positive and negative experiences with just a few clicks on review websites, app ratings and social media."
"Today’s customer is highly mobile, owns three or more devices (such as smartphones and tablets) and expects organizations to understand their needs and engage appropriately."
The new Krank APP, when we bring it out of beta at the end of the month is going to help you address all of the above and more. The bottom line is that it's going to provide your sales teams with a tool that will powerfully enable them to:
a. Engage more with your customers
b. React faster to enquiries - 'on the hoof!'
c. Act as their ideal 'deal radar' keeping them informed where ever they are
and d..... Sell more!
It's 25 deg C in Orlando right now, that's 77 deg Fahrenheit in American language! (It's 3 deg C in Cambridge, UK) I can smell the diesel, taste the hot dogs, taste the beer and I've packed my swimming trunks!