In professional selling I see so many salespeople that are struggling or at best are just in the ‘average’ zone. The problem evolves from one single fact. They are ‘reactive’ and not ‘proactive’. I call it being on the ‘back foot’.
To get anywhere in sales and customer contact you really do need to have a process of being on the ‘front foot’. In other words you are taking the right action and you do so in a controlled way. You are moving ahead under control.
So what issues can this have an impact on? Try some of these:
- Client contact programs
- Key account management
- Sales or order follow up
- Referral business or leads
- Database contact
Any of these things offer the opportunity for you to be proactive and in a position of taking action. That’s how you win new business and grow your market share.
All of this being said the ‘front foot’ process involves a sales person planning what they want to do and action. It is a deliberate process of moving ahead.
Let’s take prospecting as an example. Here are some stages to taking the right action:
- Researching the new people to call and contact
- Establishing the best time to make your prospecting calls
- Getting out into your market to door knock the local businesses that may need your services
- Tracking the responses from your prospecting processes in a database
- Making return calls to people on a regular basis
- Creating meaningful content to provide to your clients and prospects
It is easy to see why some people are more successful than others. It’s a choice. Put your front foot forward and take the first step.
You have three main prospecting strategies when it comes to connecting with more clients and prospects. When you use all three in a balanced prospecting program, things can come together quite well. Prospecting is a personal process in all respects.
So here they are:
- Using the telephone to do cold calls (new people that you have not connected with before) and warm calls (people that you have spoken with before or have sent a letter to).
- Direct mail to introduce your product and or services. If you do this you should as a general rule follow up all letters sent.
- Face to face meetings and ‘drop in’ door knocking systems.
The telephone is the easiest and cheapest way to prospect; that being said the calling process and system will require daily action for you to get any traction. From regular calls you can create meetings and in some circumstances find immediate direct business to work on. The dialogue process requires practice and effort. Many salespeople struggle with that discipline.
If you are new to sales or are entering a new territory it is wise to consider just how you can implement these prospecting processes for yourself.
Here are some specific tips when it comes to making lots of cold calls:
- Prepare your calls and new targets each night for the next day. Don’t waste precious time when it comes to your prospecting time on the telephone. Get your research done before the business day starts.
- Stand up when you make your calls. That single strategy will improve your conversational ability and meeting conversions.
- Prepare a simple entry script of 2 or 3 sentences. After that point the call should revert to a conversation.
- The calls that you make should be about the person you are calling and not about you.
- Get away from fixed ridged call scripts that are unnatural.
- Practice your calls each morning when you first rise. Soon the calls will come to you easily and your conversions to meetings will improve.
- Use the telephone to create meetings; don’t pitch your services across the telephone. Get to meet the people and use your personality as part of that process.
- Build relationships with the people you meet so that you will be the ‘go to person’ when they have a need for your services and or product.
Prospecting is not hard. It is just a discipline that requires practice. Make more calls and improve your skills in doing so. Over time you will build a better market share and client database.