THE SECRET RECIPE OF A SUCCESSFUL SALESPERSON

Four Jebsen Industrial 2013 Sales League Award winners discuss their winning formula

 

The Jebsen Industrial sales force is the engine that drives business growth for the division. In an increasingly competitive environment where changing customer needs are at the front and centre of the business, how they do excel? 2013 Sales League Award winners Tom Yan, Jimmy Zhou, Roman Zhang and Young Yang share their secrets.  

 

Insight 1: Business acumen and expertise

 

Investing time to understand the product, the customer and the market is the foundation of effective sales. Like the Chinese saying “Fight no battle unprepared”, Jebsen Industrial’s salespeople set out with full knowledge of how the product and service match the needs of the customer.

 

Roman Zhang, an R&D specialist-turned-salesperson who joined the Nutrition and Health Department of the Food, Beverage & Pharma Division in 2012

 

"Doing research and learning about my customers through all possible means takes about 40-50% of my time in any project,” said Roman Zhang, an R&D specialist-turned-salesperson who joined the Nutrition and Health Department of the Food, Beverage & Pharma Division in 2012. To him, the sales process comprises three stages with pre-selling research and post-selling service being the most important in maintaining a long-term relationship with customers.

 

“Many of our products are high-tech machinery and parts. This mandates that the salesperson has a deep and systematic knowledge of the product and the industry, and that takes time,” said Jimmy Zhou, sales manager in the Textile Section of the Engineering & Technology Division. Having formerly been a technician with a textile machine manufacturer, he was able to acquire a thorough understanding of how a machine operates and what kind of machines a textile plant needs. This knowledge has proven to be very useful in his sales interactions with customers as they place trust in his advice and recommendations.

 

Tom Yan, senior sales manager in the Plastics Department of Engineering & Technology Division and Young Yang, sales engineer in the Automotive Components Department of the Automotive Technik Division echoed similar sentiments. They both believe that only when a salesperson is at home with the product and the customer will they be able to turn effectively customer needs into sales leads.

 

“I spend one-fourth of my working hours on learning and thinking,” added Tom, who also contends that independent thinking skills helps him make better decisions and form his own insights on the industry.  

 

Tom Yan, senior sales manager in the Plastics Department of Engineering & Technology Division

 

Insight 2: Ownership and passion

 

Being perseverant in face of challenges seems to be another common characteristic in all four sales stars. And this perseverance stems from a sense of ownership of, and passion for, their work.

 

This is particularly relevant in Jebsen Industrial, where many project sales can take years to complete and unforeseen complications are common. “Many people give up in the early stages when they encounter difficulties or setbacks,” said Roman. “But I have formed a firm belief that the food industry will certainly keep growing in the long-run and I intend to be there when it does.”

 

Jimmy, on the other hand, shared an anecdote about how “stubborn” he had to be in order to win over a customer who was oscillating between bidding offers. He stayed at the customer’s factory dorm for 18 days and visited the factory manager first thing every morning until the latter was finally moved by his perseverance. 

 

Passion and belief in one’s own judgment based on years of learning and experience are the pillars that keep these salespeople going, especially when hit with continuous defeats. Tom admitted that that was how he tided over a difficult period “from none to one” during his first year with Jebsen Industrial. Even when he was unable to successfully close a single deal, he kept learning, visiting customers, mulling over sales strategies and doing what he calls “primary work”. Eventually, he inked a high-value contract.

 

Jimmy Zhou, sales manager in the Textile Section of the Engineering & Technology Division

 

Insight 3: CCV works

 

Even the most ingenious salesperson needs training and time to grow. The basis of Jebsen Industrial’s talent strategy for its salespeople is to give them the energy and engagement they need to perform to their full potential. CCV (Create Customer Value) is the methodology it advocates. The Sales League winners, having all had the chance to attend the CCV course, share their thoughts on how it translates to on-the-ground tactics.  

 

Young said he was inspired by the three words instantly. “I used to believe that salespeople need to ingratiate themselves with clients – or even bribe them.” But he has changed his perception since he joined Jebsen Industrial, coming to realise that helping customers solve their problems and creating value for them is the key to forming a real bond.

 

For Roman, he benefited most from keeping track of every customer visit report as this establishes a handy and powerful database to learn customers’ buying cycles. Jimmy found it most helpful to analysing the ‘pain point’ of customers. While this is similar to his usual practice, CCV provides a more specific and structured approach.

 

Young Yang, sales engineer in the Automotive Components Department of the Automotive Technik Division

 

Striving for excellence everyday

 

Every salesperson in Jebsen Industrial has a winning story, just like how Tom, Jimmy, Roman and Young have shared theirs. Regardless of industry segment, experience and age, it seems like effective salespeople do resemble one another in certain ways – at the very least, they all embody the expertise, passion and ownership that Jebsen Industrial so firmly advocates.  


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