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How to ‘Ingage’ Your Sales Team and Customers. With Evan Hackel [Episode 559]

Evan Hackel, CEO of Ingage Consulting, CEO of Tortal Training, and author of the book, Ingaging Leadership: 21 Steps to Elevate Your Business, joins me on this episode.

Key Takeaways 

Evan says the single biggest challenge facing sales reps today is focus. Salespeople have too much to say about product. They spend way too much time talking, and too little, listening for what the customer wants.

So much content is given to reps that is uninteresting. Products are becoming more complicated. You can spend hours explaining a feature-rich product, when only a fraction of the features interest the customer.

Reps end up distracting the buyer by giving them too much to talk about. Listen to what the customer wants to talk about.

Spelling and grammar errors, and bad copy, are very awkward. Have a communication expert review what you plan to send to customers, before you send it.

The ‘I’ in ‘Ingaging’ stands for Involvement, so your staff, customers, and vendors can become involved in your success. Senior staff who want to ‘ingage’ the company in strategic planning, solicit ideas from the ones doing the actual work.

Leaders and managers fear being exposed as frauds. They don’t want their superiors wondering why a staffer came up with better ideas than a manager. But the staff are very pleased to be involved. Evan gives a successful case study.

‘Ingagement’ is coaching, more than direction. When the team builds the plan through coaching, they believe and execute it. Evan has three questions for ‘ingaging’ his team.

Evan also has a process for ‘ingaging’ customers. He sets up advisory councils of B2B customers. For consumers, you would do focus groups for a similar result. The goal is to get the customers’ perspectives on the company.

Get people together. Evan holds one live council a year, plus web meetings that are updates. Evan asks customers to serve three-year terms. Customers do 80% of the talking.

Virtual selling, with no customer contact, leads to increased churn. Relationship-building keeps sales human. Evan likes to have multiple contacts in an organization, so the customer is not lost after a personnel change.

Someone from Ingage Consulting visits clients once a year, and usually sees them twice more at trade shows. Other meetings are by Zoom, if possible. Evan describes what Tortal Training is and how it helps client training and e-learning.

Andy suggests that top leadership needs to stay involved in a customer’s ‘ingagement,’ if they start, or it is seen as a withdrawal. Evan mentions the difficulty of visiting clients around the country or world. Evan likes trade shows.