Many salespeople struggle with the cold calling concept and process. Most salespeople never do it for very long simply because they really can’t get started. Their mindset holds them back from ever gaining momentum.
Making lots of cold calls is easy once you get started and many top salespeople know that. They understand that the process creates lots of opportunity. If you work on a commission based salary, you cannot overlook the cold calling process as part of your business model.
One Real Tip
One easy tip to develop and use as part of your cold calling process is to stand up as you make the calls. This one simple fact helps you converse, improve your thinking in the conversation, and helps your tonal voice as you talk. You actually convert more people to your requirement for meetings or sales.
So if you are struggling to get the calling process up and running as part of your business model, this single factor can help you greatly. Here are a few more tips to use as you get your calling model up and running.
- Make the calls at the same time each day so you develop a habit
- Get a good database software program that you can use as part of building your call momentum
- Many customers will take 3 or 4 telephone conversations before they will let you have a meeting with them
- Progressively work through your market on a logical basis
- Look for the competitors clients that you can feed into your contact calls.
- Treat the call process as a conversation and not a pitch.
- Build trust and relevance in the conversation by practicing your approach and key questions.
You can make the cold calling process more effective by sending a letter to those hard to reach business leaders that hide behind receptionists and gatekeepers.
Decide to make your business and income ‘fly’ higher than ever before. Take steps to improve your cold calling processes and start today.
So many salespeople struggle with growing market share. The single reason for this is that they have little or no personal system to build their business. Every day is a new day, and nothing consistently happens to build on the success of yesterday.
Perhaps I have upset some salespeople in saying that, however it is a proven fact that the performance of most sales teams is low for this very reason.
In any business and market there are also some other excuses that hold teams back. Some of them are here:
- No support from the management team
- No leadership to correct faults or lacking processes
- No standards that can focus the prospecting and customer service processes.
- Little action to a system that works in their market
- Forgetting the clients and keeping in contact with them over time
So, all of this is a personal process; that’s the reality of it all. Any salesperson can improve their ‘lot’ by taking action. Given that most do not do the right things every day, there is huge potential out there for those that do.
If a salesperson takes on the personal challenges of their industry and takes action every day to a good plan, there is a very good chance that they will rise to the top of their market quickly and effectively.
Here are some tips for getting control of your market and market share.
- Define your territory geographically and physically so you know where you will find the business.
- See how many potential clients could be in your areas that are serviced by your competitors. Can you open the door with these clients?
- Be prepared to talk to many people to find the one opportunity. As long as your market is large enough that will not be a problem. The issue is in getting the right resources and research around you.
- Use a database that is comprehensive and easy to access. Over time you can build your database by 4 or 5 new people a day. Keep in regular contact so you can open up the relationship when the prospect requires help.
Are you the best service provider in your local area? Can you say that your product or service is as good if not better than the competition? If you cannot answer ‘yes’ to these questions yet, you have some work to do. Devise your business system and work to it every day.
When you work in sales of any type you will see prime examples of clients that are not serviced well. It could be that they do not purchase often enough, or not in sufficient volume to rank as a priority. That being said, they are likely to be an opportunity in waiting.
Many of those poorly serviced clients not purchasing much today can be key clients of the future. Everything changes in business and you should not accept the status quo when it comes to clients and their business situations. Keep in touch so you know when their business or personal situation requires your product or service.
It is interesting to note that many salespeople do not maintain regular and consistent contact with their entire database. In most situations they will contact less than 25 clients on a regular basis. All other clients will be relegated to the ‘call me when you need me’ process.
It has been proven that a regular 90 day contact system with all clients in your database will build greater business opportunity than just waiting for the ‘client to call’ when they want something. After the third contact of 90 days, the client or prospect starts to see that you are really interested in them and their needs. It is likely that they will get closer to your business and could potentially over time convert to a key customer.
So often I have seen sales and customer service situations where many clients and prospects move to another supplier simply because they felt overlooked or neglected. That’s something to be avoided.
Here is a contact model to help your business growth:
- Understand who your key clients are by definition and location. Yes they will need special attention; however that attention should be in balance with all other clients.
- Create a contact model for Key clients and then all others. Key clients should be contacted at least every 30 days. Other clients should be contacted inside 90 days regardless of their status.
- Use a multi faceted contact process to give your clients information about your product or service and any changes of product that they may be interested in. The contact tools that you can use should include email newsletter, direct calls, and drop in meetings, product updates, and industry briefings. In balance they create a good source of market and product information.
- Look at the competitors in your industry and identify their client base. It is likely that you can open the contact process with some of their clients.
- Devote the first part of your day to contacting at least 10 new people that you have not made contact with previously. When this is done in balance with your existing database you have a pipeline of growth.
Those clients that are underserviced will be great allies, if and when you convert them to greater levels of business. It may take months or years to move them closer to your business, however the journey is worth it with some clients.
When you work in sales in any industry, there will be one thing that stands out as the most important thing that you should do above everything else. It will be the thing that helps build your business and strengthen your sales.
So what is that thing? Could it be any of the following?
- Prospecting for new clients
- Keeping in contact with your existing clients
- Gaining more market share from your competitors
- Improving service and supply solutions for your key accounts and clients
From time to time throughout the year some of these things will change and take a different priority. You could even say that some of them are equally important to others.
When I work with sales teams I like to draw their thinking to the factors of their business that are really important in their industry. This reality check tends to open up the thinking that maybe every salesperson can get back ‘on track’ and away from the things that are distracting them from the most important issues of the business.
It’s a fact that most of the time these things are happening:
- Customers are examining costs
- Competitors are chasing your clients
- Overseas business is creating a level of product supply that has not previously been a factor in your customer base and client purchase decisions.
- Margins are being lowered to attract more sales in just about every industry
- The global world of supply and demand is opening up to a wider supply chain and differing cost base.
- The internet is letting the customer interact with their sales and orders to a great degree.
When your industry is highly competitive or the levels of orders and sales are changing, it pays to step back and do this simple analysis. If you can clearly see some things that are being overlooked or lacking in intensity in your business activities, take action today so that you preserve market share as things change around you. Decide what that one thing is that will help your business thrive. Is it ‘prospecting’?
Every business should have a solid and defined system when it comes to finding new clients and converting them to customers over time. I like to split the system up into just 3 stages of;
- Follow up
At the end of each week you can do your numbers analysis of each of these pipeline phases. In that way you will know that you are moving forward. As a business or as a salesperson, you have to be moving somewhere positive over time. It takes about 3 months of prospecting to build positive momentum and new market share. It takes the same amount of time for a business to slide backwards in their market.
Great salespeople prospect continually so the 3 months factor never seems to be a problem; the good salespeople just keep driving more market share.
Ultimately the follow-up phase will be the precursor to an order or a sale. This ratio of sales success will change from salesperson so salesperson and will largely be established on experience and relevance of each salesperson to the client.
Most clients will base their decision on the value of the deal and the quality of the product over the experience of the salesperson, but the experience of a salesperson will greatly impact the factors of repeat business. If you want repeat or referral business then the quality of your sales team will have a lot to do with the results that you get.
Here are some tips for new salespeople in any industry:
- Make prospecting your lifeblood so that it features in your diary every day for at least 2 hours.
- The best time to prospect is first thing in the morning before the day gets away from you.
- Focus on making calls to new people for at least 50% of your prospecting time. In this way you will grow your client base.
- Spend more time in face to face meetings each day. The office paperwork can wait to the end of the day.
- Clients like to trust the people that they do business with. Would your prospects regard you as ‘trustworthy’?
In any business at any point in time, there will always be challenges that will arise. If you can be a ‘solutions based salesperson’ you will find that the deals are easier to find and close. Most clients like to work with experts that can relieve the pain of any decision. When you negotiate or close on a deal with a client, provide facts and figures that support their agreement and order to be placed. Top salespeople do that all the time.
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When it comes to your career in selling anything, the skills that you develop in lead generation are really important to the outcomes that you get with customers and ‘Key Accounts’. In itself, lead generation can be an entire system or process that you use in your business every day. If you get the system right, you will have a steady pipeline of leads and new clients. Consistency is the key to lead generation.
Without this ‘lead’ system, your business or customer base will eventually contract and shrink over time. Customers will leave you for all types of reasons. So of those reasons you can control, and others you cannot.
So here are some tips and ideas for building a system of contact that will help with future leads and prospects for you and your business:
- Understand you market by both type and location. Exactly where do your customers come from and why do they come to you? When you know the answers you will know how to improve the rate of enquiry or opportunity.
- Who are your customers? You will need to profile your customers into segments of value and relevance to your business.
- Why do your customers come to you? What are the top 5 reasons most of your customers come to you?
- When do those customers come to you? Seasonal selling can be a real challenge if the space or time between selling seasons is quite long.
Taking all of these facts into account you will find that a profile of you customer can be built. The demographic of the ideal customer can be inserted into your sales team business plan and prospecting strategy.
Here is a very important question for you. What is the difference between a basic customer and a ‘Key Account’? There should be a real difference of response and service when it comes to helping a ‘Key Account’ in your business.
‘Key Account’ customers can impact your business in a major way; the loss of a key customer can be devastating to the cash flow. Far too many businesses operate with a small number of key accounts, and that then exposes them to great risk with competitors continually chasing their key account for new business.
So the message here is clear. Find new leads for your business by developing a system of contact, and then move the basic customers through your contact pipeline to convert them to ‘Key Accounts’. Over time this basic process will strengthen your business base and market share. Service your ‘Key Accounts’ with the due care and relevance that they deserve.
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