When it comes to building a customer database and contact system, the best way to do so is through a contact and selling process that is focused entirely on the client. When you match your offering to the client, the pitch and sale process is a natural progression. You will get more orders that way.
Most clients hate to be ‘sold’. They have the experience to know when that is occurring and tend to avoid salespeople that ‘push’. Top salespeople do not push on the deal; they position and communicate. They ask the right questions and provide the right answers. The sales process is actually unique to the client. They will accept the offering or they will find another salesperson to help them.
At the base of every client relationship, the client likes to have the ability to exercise choice. If you give them that ability, then the sale is a lot easier. The reason the client will ‘choose’ you or your company in those circumstances is because they know that you are the ‘right choice’.
To solve this ‘choice’ equation, look at your offering of product or service from the client’s perspective. Here are some categories to apply:
- Product or Service that ideally suits the client
- The easiest way to place the order
- Timing of the availability and how it will be delivered
- Criteria that must be satisfied when the order is placed
- Satisfaction from the order to the delivery and after the sale
- Measurement of satisfaction will help you with referrals
- Ongoing contact and availability
If you want to achieve in your industry and territory, look at these factors and work on them from a client perspective. Align yourself to the client; the new business leads and sales will then come your way much easier.
When it comes to selling and professional customer service, the top salespeople spend more time in going the ‘extra mile’ when it comes to the solution for the customer. Most salespeople will say that they do a good job, but the reality can only be assessed from a client perspective.
Only the client will know that you have done more than what was required and that you have really helped them. When you get this process right, you will get more enquiries and build a better database of leads and clients.
Our clients like to know that they are being helped by top salespeople and not being sold by an average salesperson.
Intelligent business people will choose the product or service providing all the elements of information, performance, services, and supply are available.
Here is a strategy to help you with your key accounts and sales:
- Seek to understand the need and the requirement before you sell the product or service.
- Provide information and knowledge. If you do this correctly, you will not have to sell and pitch much at all to close the deal.
- Be aware of the limitations on product and service availability. Do not overstate the supply of something when you really do not know the complete facts. When in doubt get the right information and check it out before you pass it on to the client.
- When the deal is being negotiated and documented, be aware of the order status and supply times. Remove any doubt from the clients mind.
- When the deal is done, follow through personally and ask if all facts and outcomes were as the client expected.
- Stay in contact for the long haul. Contact all your clients every 90 days or more so they feel connected to your business and services.
It’s not hard to be a top salesperson. It is really common sense coupled with great attention to detail.
In business today, the humble telephone remains the most effective way to grow your business. The telephone allows you to make cold calls and find more clients to connect to; you can do all of this from the comfort of your desk. That being said, many salespeople will avoid the cold calling process at any and every opportunity.
So why do so many people have a problem with calls to new prospective clients? Here are some reasons that are common in most industries today.
- Lack of organisation
- No idea of how to make the process work
- Failure to develop a habit of making calls every day
- Call reluctance
- Not knowing of what to say
So the list will go on and on. The opportunity that exists here is massive; a good salesperson that can establish an effective call contact process in their market can create massive new business opportunity. That can then mean better salary or commission depending on how you get paid for results.
So what is the secret to progress here? The secret to making prospecting and cold calling work for you is to get started today and keep it going. Do not stop prospecting for any reason; every day you should be prospecting for new clients for at least 2 hours. This single fact will keep the business coming in and your pipeline growing.
If your industry is tough or slow, go back to the basics and get out amongst your clients and potential targets. Make prospecting the number one thing that you do every day. Quite soon you will see things change around for the positive and when that happens do not stop what you are doing, but lift your efforts even higher. Top salespeople know that everything comes down to them and what they do every day.
The trends in sales enquiry and sales conversion will always help you with developing and implementing a good business strategy. Those salespeople that really know their way around numbers and ratios will usually rise to the top of their business faster than others.The fact of the matter is that numbers tell us things that are very useful; you can then adjust any prospecting and marketing activities that are not converting the business, and improve on those that are getting good results.
Here are some of the numbers that we track when it comes to business growth and levels of activity:
- Find out where the enquiry is coming from. If you do a lot of marketing in various channels of the media, work out what works and what doesn’t when it comes to marketing. They call the process ‘test and measure’. Do more of the things that attract the best levels of enquiry.
- If you work with or are in charge of a sales team, watch the sales and business conversions of all of your salespeople and then compare them. Some of those salespeople will be better than others when it comes to building momentum and sales. In many respects the results can be driven by the salespersons sales character and personal systems. If something works well for one salesperson, replicate it and spread it across the team.
- Do you keep specific numbers relating to your prospecting activities? The numbers to know and check on a weekly basis should be calls in and out, meetings held, sales made, and time involved in the sales cycle. Some businesses have very long sales cycle; all the more reason to have a ‘sales pipeline’ process.
- When you create a client relationship, the next step in the business cycle is to strengthen the sales relationship so you can sell them more product or services over time. Some of those clients will be of a Key Account nature; on that basis they will require the attention of your best people and client services.
- Lastly something should be said about ‘referral business’ and the obtaining of that business from existing clients. Do not overlook the opportunity here. Your existing clients know other people and on that basis some new relationships can be opened up.
When it comes to building a business or market share, systems work every time. This then says that you should develop a system of approach at a personal level and then make it a habit in your daily activities. When you make it a habit, you can improve it and that’s how results come in. Many salespeople struggle with the fact that ‘systems’ are required to help them achieve better success in their industry. If anything, that then makes it much easier for others that can develop a good approach to business with well-developed systems.
One of the biggest challenges in business and in sales is in breaking old habits. If we cannot change old habits then we are trapped in the past and nothing will change for us as sales professionals. Every year the market, the competition, and the customers we work with will change circumstances and buying patterns. For this very reason, we need to change as salespeople, or improve on our daily efforts. Redundancy is not far away for those that cannot change their business habits.So why is it so hard to change old habits? It is quite simple to understand; we have had years of preparation and routine to set habits in place, so when you find that you are in a new market or challenging business situation, the change that you need to implement to adjust your focus is so hard to pull-off. Most salespeople can’t do it or lose focus quickly and return to their old ways.
This factor of reality can be a good and a bad thing, and here is why:
- It is good because most of your competitors will find it equally hard and time consuming to change their business plans and habits.
- It is bad because the effort and focus required by individuals to change their habits and approach business differently can be a difficult task for most.
A process of constant improvement and mindset to support it will usually take you to the top of your market. It all comes back to our ability to change in the right way and produce the results that the industry and market requires.
Given all of this, here are some tips to help you create change in your business and build some real momentum on a daily basis:
- Define what the market or your business needs now by way of change, and determine the habits that are required to deal with that.
- A small number of habits are easier to implement than a great number at once.
- Pick three new habits from your list of required changes, ensuring that those three habits are the most important in your list.
- Organise your day around the three habits. Without fail these three things have to be done regardless of anything else. At the start of every business day, the three habits should be implemented before anything else is attempted.
- Keep telephone calls and clients away from you at the start of the day so you can get these major and important issues underway.
- Track your progress when it comes to these things. When you track numbers and ratios, you can see when progress is starting and how valuable it is for you.
- It takes about 3 weeks to implement the required changes of habits for most salespeople.
Top salespeople in any industry know the value of action and focus. In reality, habits are precisely that; decide what will take you forward and start taking the required action. In a few weeks you will be seeing the results that you need.
When you work as a salesperson one of the best ways to rise to the top of your industry or to get a hold on your market is to target the bigger clients. Here are a few facts for you:
- The larger clients buy more products and services
- These bigger clients buy more frequently and seasonally
- The large customers give you credibility as a top salesperson in your market
- You can value add your services and spread your offering more easily in a top clients account
- These bigger clients want productive and problem solving solutions.
- These clients want to streamline their activities so they can improve the bottom line.
It is notable that many top prospective clients are already serviced by your competitors, so they are easy to find. That being said, it may take some time to convert these prospects to clients so a systemised contact process is required. Set up a good database in your business to help the sales team coordinate their efforts in contacting the right prospective customers.
In today’s business environment where productivity and the bottom line means just so much, it is a very wise strategy to look at your client base and refine it to higher quality clients in this way. Your smaller clients may stay with you but they should not get the same focus as a Key Account or big client.
These large prospective clients can be defined in a number of ways, depending on your business type and location. Here are some ideas to help with that:
- The locational factors will drive better business for you. To some degree, the convenience of the client to your business location will allow better supply and demand of product and services. For this reason you should define your territory for both primary and secondary business.
- A top client or top prospective client can also be defined by the type of product or service that they buy from you. That may be by volume or by sales total.
- A good client is one that can take you into other locations as part of their business model, or take alternative products, and add on services from you.
Look around the current market and see who your competitors are servicing. Those relationships are ready to be tested. You can open the door through any of the following:
- Alternative supply solutions
- Better customer service
- Discounted prices and bulk discounts
- Value add products and services
Building your business with better quality clients is a wise strategy for an established business that is looking for market dominance.