Guaranteeing New sales in 20117 Dec, 2010 By: Kate Kingston, Kingston Training Group imageSource
Guaranteeing New sales in 2011
Are you looking for the number one way to guarantee new sales in 2011? See more qualified prospects! It’s that simple - and that hard. Sales people need to adjust (or re-adjust) to the times - and business technologies - of today. Dealerships can no longer rest on their current customer base because just doing a good job for current customers doesn’t guarantee revenue.
Yes, many businesses are failing all across the country and in our own backyards. Dealerships that focus their sales teams on new business in addition to farming current accounts will be the ones that stay afloat.
The problem is, how do you make your sales team better at prospecting so that they can find more qualified prospects? How do you drive their meetings to ensure things will happen with the C-Level decision makers, and keep sales reps selling full or “total” solutions? How can you make them work better – smarter – faster?
The answer is, have your sales team first start talking to the prospect about the prospect, not about them. If you are the sales person, try to get information on your prospect before you even make the call or walk in, or before you email, to ensure that you are clearly communicating to a CFO, Controller, IT Director, Facilities Manager, or President, showing interest to him or her on why they should meet with you to sell them something. Don’t think you are fooling anyone that this is not what you are up to, but if you do it right you will get results. Using better techniques will make your prospects want to meet with you.
Keep it in check
Stop and think about the last time you couldn’t wait to get off of the phone with a salesperson. I bet that caller was talking about him or herself, not caring about you particularly, right? Do you really care if his company received the “fill-in-the-blank-award” last year? No. You only care how the caller can help you achieve your goals, make you money, or help you get more done in less time. And that’s what your prospects care about, too. So here’s how you can address that need and get in the door.
Before you begin prospecting, answer these questions so you and your sales team can create a focused pitch about the prospect:
What does the customer / company do to make money? Example: law firms make money by billing hours and/or handling more cases.
What other clients does your company works with in that industry? Serving other clients in the same type industry builds credibility quickly with your prospect and will breed confidence and lead to a buy-in.
What is the job title & responsibilities of the person you are calling? Why does this matter? Directing a conversation with a CFO will get you further if you include a money focus, whereas a COO would be more interested in processes / operations.
How does your product or service plug in? Can you identify what is being printed, faxed, archived, scanned, and retrieved in the company you are calling? You’d better. If you or your sales team can’t identify this then they don’t deserve the meeting or the sale. Costco sells copiers. Your prospects need to know that you understand them and how technology plugs in to their business.
Do you have any specific success stories that are relevant? Stories will sell your prospects on you. If you present a true story on how your services solved a problem for another company in their industry, you’re golden. People love a success story they can relate to.
Guaranteeing net new revenue in 2011 is possible and do-able, but to achieve it, it is increasingly important for salespeople to become “hunters” as opposed to the common “farmer” role that most salespeople slip into over time. Account management is a much easier role to play for a salesperson, but it is not going to continue to bring new business in the door. A constant flow of new business is the lifeblood of any organization, and that depends on sales to operate profitably.
Implementing effective prospecting can take several forms for your sales force, and is not limited to merely making more cold calls. Sales people must prospect effectively for a specific period of time every day. They must use voicemail if they don’t reach their prospect “live,” and learn to “use the assistant” to get to the decision maker more effectively, while making the meetings they need.
Finding time to prospect, which should incorporate phone calls, emails, online processing, tradeshow networking, and more, does not happen unless you plan for it. As a sales rep, the first thing you must do each week is schedule time to work on each of these activities. You simply must treat this time as an important appointment. Schedule it into your calendar and stick to your plan as if each portion of your prospecting is as important as any other aspect of your job. Every rep needs to schedule four 90-minute slots into each week dedicated strictly to phone and email canvassing. If something comes up that interferes with that schedule, it is important to reschedule your calling session in your calendar. These 90-minute sessions will allow you to reach your goal of 125-150 calls to new prospects each week.
Various management training companies can assist you. The Kingston Training Group tells our trainees that “50 calls a week is a hobby, not a sales job.” It is easy to add 70-100 more dials each week by making three dials to new prospects every time you sit down; in the office or in the car. Forming this new habit allows more calls to be completed each week which, in turn, will lead to more meetings. It’s not only a numbers game - but a quality numbers game.
Making time to prospect is the only way to get it done. A lot of sales people like to fool themselves into thinking that playing around on the Internet for hours searching for prospects “counts.” We all know it doesn’t as much as they’d like us to believe. Other sales people can be driven merely by being assigned a number of dials to make. Some respond better to just counting the meetings they’ve made. Figure out what motivates you and/or your sales team and set goals that stretch you, and then strive to reach them.
The average salesperson is connecting with one or two new C-Level decision makers per week, and that’s not enough. Five or more is what you should be accomplishing. Across the country, sales reps want to count a prospect “connection” or customer meeting if they merely dropped off a business card, introduced themselves as “the new rep in the territory” or “left a voicemail” for a call back. I don’t know about you, but I have never made a commission by dropping off a business card or merely leaving a VM.
Prospecting is good but selling is better. It all starts with meeting and connecting with qualified C-Level Decision Makers!
Kate Kingston is the founder of Kingston Training Group. KTG provides motivational sales training for multiple industries, including the office channel. KTG trains Business Technology sales forces to help increase their revenues. At firstname.lastname@example.org / www.kingstontraining.com.