How to Generate New Leads & Grow Your Business in a Down Economy
The marketplace is shifting and products and companies are looking more and more similar. The successful salesperson succeeds through the creation of value, not just the communication of it. What do I mean: there can no longer be an acceptance of talking brochures. But what is value? Value is very personal and it depends on the perception of the buyer.
Value = benefits – cost
Therefore, the company must increase benefits and create value or decrease costs. Value is something that the customer is willing to pay for.
How to succeed:
• Make certain that your products and services are flexible and customizable to the needs of the customer.
• You must have the tools and processes in place that let the salesperson succeed... diagnosis of unrecognized needs; creative problem-solving and solutions.
1. The most important component in the sales process is questioning. Questions allow the prospect to talk and if you ask the right questions, the prospect will tell you what they need to be sold and how you should sell them.
2. If you’re not at bat, you can’t hit a home run. Sales reps must make the optimum number of calls. That number will depend upon the market, the competitive framework and their own close rate. What is critical is that they must prepare and plan appropriately for each and every call.
3. The usual sales credo is to sell to VITO: the very important top officer. However, the key officer is often extremely inaccessible and sales reps waste significant time while they could be working through the organization talking to key influencers who will then help position the sales rep and maneuver them to the key contact.
4. Closing too soon can cost you the sale. Closing is simply a natural part of the sales process. If you take care of all the steps in-between the sale will close extremely naturally and comfortably.
5. The manner in which you open a call is extremely critical to the outcome. In the initial stages of the call you are winning the prospect’s attention and acceptance for you to move forward and begin the all-important questioning part of the call.
6. Objections should never be ignored. Objections are a natural part of the selling process and should be looked at as opportunities to explain more about your product or service. It is important to know that many objections can be eliminated simply by preparing in advance and anticipating the hesitancies and objections that might be raised in a meaningful dialogue.
7. The importance of follow up when you don’t get through the first time.
- 44% of people stop calling after 1st call
- 22% stop after 2nd call
- 14% stop after 3rd call
- 12% stop after 4th call
- A total of 92% of people quit after the 4th call.
- However, 70% of the population needs 5 contacts before they trust you.
8. Your fastest return on sales investment will often come from your existing clients. Often sales reps do penetrate deep enough into their existing account base to develop additional new business opportunities. Existing accounts must be worked on a consistent basis.
9. Cold calling is not a stand-alone medium. In this day and age of voice mail the reach rate is quite low. So, business development must be a totally integrated endeavor and include cold calling, direct mail, print advertising, PR, trade shows, and online marketing. The synergy will boost response rates across all categories.
10. Give a prospect or customer something for nothing. An article that would be of interest and value, information that you received online etc. and transferred to the prospect with a note "just thought you might be interested in this” indicates that you are thinking of them and wish to be a resource.
11. Periodically tape-record a random sampling of your cold calls. Listen to the tape and assess your tone and voice. How did you sound? Would you want to speak with a person who sounds like you? What about your words? Were they clear and benefits oriented? Taping gives you the opportunity to self-correct your presentation.
12. Pace yourself. Prospecting is a very time-consuming and arduous task. Allocate a specific amount of time each day (week?) and keep to the schedule. It is always easy to put something ahead of the prospecting activity but make an appointment with yourself and don’t break it.
13. Make certain that there is a sales pipeline and that the pipeline is always full. Allowing the funnel to dry up means that there will be a lag in prospects and correspondingly new business.
14. If you’re not already doing so start to think about using CRM to boost your company’s bottom-line.
15. Make certain that every salesperson has a clear and unflinching idea of their goals and what it takes to achieve them. Poorly communicated objectives often lead to failure.
16. Hard work on the front-end of a sale often means success on the back-end. Plan and prepare for sales calls. Once you have the customer, understand their business and become their partner. By doing so you will help to create more value and hence, do not have to discount your service.
17. Invest in your customers. Develop programs to help gauge their satisfaction with your company and its products and services.
18. Don’t scrimp on customer service. Often companies win the client and then lose the business because of poor attention to customer service and account maintenance.
19. There are only 2 ways to grow your business; acquire new customers and keep the old ones; have your customers make larger and more frequent purchases.
20. Referrals do not come automatically. You must ask for them and the best time to ask for a referral is when you are already working successfully with the client.
21. All referrals are not created equal. Make certain that you ask your client if they would be able to contact the referrals prior to your call. If not, ask them if you can use their name. Referrals are often sensitive and you want to make certain not to irritate your client.
22. Keep the person who referred you “in the loop”. Let them know if you have had any success and apprise them of the situation.
23. When the times are tough: build value, find your niche, demonstrate your company’s social consciousness by supporting good causes.
24. The 80-20 rile applies... good sales people do 20% of the talking and 80% of the listening.
25. Negotiate carefully:
- Align your interests with the customer’s
- Continue to present value
- Remain objective
- Be prepared
- Don’t let the customer feel like they lost, for you will win the battle but lose the war
26. Consider outsourcing your lead generation efforts.
Famous Last Words:
• Never assume that you don’t have to prospect.
• Be grateful and show appreciation.
• Take responsibility.
• Dig deep and know your customers.
• Dig deeper and know your competition.
You may e-mail the writer at firstname.lastname@example.org or check out her website at www.adrianmiller.com
Source: Business Line Vol. 2 No. 2 2004