Selling with iPad

We are always getting questions from prospects wanting to talk to an actual person that is a field sales rep using an iPad to sell.  Enter Mark Herb. Mark has worked as a field sales rep for a large multi-national corporation using FatStax for the past few years.  He’s launched his own marketing consultancy recently, so we offered him the chance to tell his stories and experiences using FatStax in the field to sell products.  Mark gave us so much great information, we decided to give him the soapbox and free reign for this unique blog series. We hope it will be a glimpse into a what sales rep really thinks when you hand him an iPad.
smiling sales guy

Return of Mark Herb, former FatStax User

Let’s review…I got an iPad…and the FatStax catalog locked and loaded with 1,000s of products.

Now what?

How do I use this thing?

Will I look dumb fumbling around with customers?

Will that cost me the sale?

I’ve got to figure this out fast.  Believe me, all this was swirling around in my head at first.

I am a Type A sales professional, and most of us like being in control (nod your head yes).  But with crazy days in the field and office work to follow, control was fleeting at times.  In my initial post [Part 1], I explained how I got thrown into the field with an iPad sales app called FatStax and what that was like in my first weeks through the AHA! moment.  Getting there with an iPad only required two things!

Practice and patience… here’s how I did it.

Practice Using Your iPad Before You Use It

If you don’t read another word in this article, read those again.

Practice using your iPad before you use it.

Rather than learn on the fly in front of my customers at my new job, while beads of sweat rolled, I swallowed my pride and practiced with the app BEFORE ever using it with customers.  To be honest, this is not typical for sales Type A sales people. But my manager and I scheduled short blocks of time to familiarize me with both the iPad and the sales app for my company.

I know, I know…you’re saying that’s a no brainer.  But confess. If you were told, sales apps for iPads can help you to engage customers in a new way and give you time back in your busy day (not to mention make you look pretty cool in the process)…You’d dive right in too.

Don’t lie dude.

Jokes aside, I eventually found comfort in practicing with my iPad app, using the search function, finding products and resources, and just thinking through sales scenarios to learn how best to use this tool.  Hell, I even emailed myself product literature using the app as a test before actually emailing it to my customers. (Please do this twice before talking to a customer, trust me).

Taking that initial time to role play with the app allowed me to focus that power and build functionality the way I would during my day, under specific conditions that I might encounter.  Eventually, I streamlined my sales process and you will too.  If you practice!

Be Patient When You First Start Selling with an iPad

After a few sessions becoming more agile in navigating the interface, I felt…yep…you guessed it…”in control” of the app.  But there was one big piece missing.  Something us sales folk are not usually known for – Patience…uggg.

That’s right, I said it.

Patience.

If you’re not yet a well-oiled machine using FatStax, fear not.  Been there, done that.

My advice…blame the app…just kidding.

Actually, honesty, a sense of humor, and patience can help.  Sales apps for iPads can be easy to use. If you’re still uneasy trying the app with customers, relax and joke a bit while you share the experience.  It’s a great ice breaker and it relieves the tension.  I would sometimes even poke a little fun at myself and my technology prowess (or lack thereof) until I got my bearings.  Remember it’s a new app and you’re learning too.  Patience, and a little self-deprecating humor, got me through it. Plus, it showed customers my human side.

Did this come easy?  Nope. But does it drive sales? Yep!

About J. Rusty Bishop, PhD

I've spent the last 5 years helping great brands create amazing experiences for their sales teams during one on one sales interactions. Helping sales people do their job is my passion. When I'm not working, I am on the ocean fishing in San Diego, Ca.