It's almost the New Year! And in honor of that I thought we could start of the year with a top 10 list.
We look at the first 5 on our top 10 list. You might notice that the entire list is focused on the front end of the sales cycle. Specifically targeting, prospecting and calling net-new leads. That's because in order to make sales, you have to have more leads and better quality leads. You might remember that I am particularly fond of the expression “every sales problem can be solved with improved prospecting skills.”
Enjoy the list and be sure to implement all 5 ideas this week. I know that you will have a perfect 10 year if you do!
1. Make just one more call
In my experience studying scores of both mediocre and successful sales people, I have discovered that the most reliable key to enduring success is discipline.
- Discipline to provide just a little bit better service than your competitors offer or your clients expect.
- Discipline to make one more call, attend one more networking event or block an extra hour in your calendar every day to do business development.
- Discipline to document the objections you receive and create responses to deal with them consistently and effectively.
- And discipline to practice your sales presentation one more time, every time you head out the door to meet a prospect or close a deal.
Discipline is the one sure way by which poverty may be converted into riches, failure into success - and short-term success into a winning track record that will last throughout your entire career.
2. Make testimonials part of your strategy for cold calls
Turn a testimonial into an opening statement that you can use when making your cold calls. It's a great way to get the conversation started on the right note because it's one (or more) of your customers who is talking about all the great things you can do for that prospect at the other end of phone. This strategy can be really compelling when the testimonial is one that the person you are calling can relate to specifically in their line of work. Let's say I'm calling a prospect in the tourism industry and I share with them a sample of the great feedback I received recently from a client who works for that industry's national association, I'm making it clear that I understand the challenges they have to deal with in their work. There's also a deeper message being processed by the person I'm calling: “If Colleen has worked with them, then she understands what we need and if she understands what we need, then she understands me.”
3. Create a Profit 100
Ask yourself: who are your best buyers? If you sell B2C, whether you're a dentist, accountant, chiropractor, real estate broker or financial advisor, chances are your best buyers live in the best neighborhoods. They have the most money and the greatest sphere of influence. So take a look at your current customer list, identify where your best customers live and target your marketing efforts to others in those neighborhoods.
If you sell B2B, your best buyers are usually the biggest companies that are spending money and are profitable now. Check your database, who spent last year? Chances are, they will be spending again this year.
Once you have your list create a plan to reach out to this best buyers at least every other week, no matter what, to let these companies know who you are?
4. Spend money on those who are spending with you
This is not the time to be taking a shotgun approach to sales, trying to sell all things to all people. Rather, this is when you should be targeting those who know you best—particularly customers that have a higher propensity to buy from you in good times and bad. Spend money on those who are spending with you. Don't make the mistake that so many companies make during an economic downturn, taking a hatchet to their marketing budget. There's a real opportunity right now for smart companies to step up their advertising and marketing efforts—provided that they are willing to invest the time to target who they are going to reach with their message and then measure the results.
In addition, consider how you can improve up-selling and cross-selling in your current market. Look carefully at who buys your products or services. Let's say you're a sales rep for a food-services company and you notice that your product line is selling briskly among women who are Toronto-based restaurant owners in the 45-65 age bracket. Maybe that's who you should be targeting. Find out what their needs are, and market aggressively to them, showing how your product meets that need.
There are many mysteries in life, but this much is clear: nothing can help you get by like a little help from your friends. This is just as true in sales as it is in life. Truly effective sales people - the ones who always have time to make one more prospect call, finish one more project and grow their client base by another 10%, all while bringing fresh-baked cookies to the office every day - all have one thing in common. They are all more likely to employ a broad network of connections, friends, family and acquaintances to help them seize opportunities, and respond to challenges. In other words, the most successful and effective sales people are also the ones who are most likely to ask for help.
Many people feel that networking is something that only business people do - that it's only used to grow your business, sell more products or find a new job. This simply isn't true. Think about it on a personal level. Would you rather go to a dentist whose name you found in the phone book, or the one who your neighbor with the perfect smile always recommends? Would you prefer to shop for a used car at the first dealer you come to on the highway or one who's a personal friend of your sister-in-law's?
The fact is, in our personal lives as in our careers, we succeed or fail based on our networks, and on people. As has been said many times: "take care of your people (or, in this case, your network), and your business will take care of itself."
About the Author
Colleen Francis, Sales Expert, is Founder and President of Engage Selling Solutions. Armed with skills developed from years of experience, Colleen helps clients realize immediate results, achieve lasting success and permanently raise their bottom line.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are strictly those of the author. CPSA does not endorse any of the companies, products and services mentioned within this article.