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.
If you are looking to improve your business model, sales, or market share, have a good look at the number of times that you call your customers or prospects on a regular basis. Persistence pays when it comes to opening up opportunities in sales with your clients.
Why Make Contact?
Prospects are always on the lookout for tips and ideas to help them do things at a better price or a lower cost. For this very reason you can be a solid source of knowledge and information relative to your industry. If the competition is not serving their clients well or keeping in regular contact, you have an opportunity in waiting.
Far too many sales people stop the contact process after just a few approaches; if they can’t get the prospect or client to move to the next step in the sales pipeline, they shut down the contact process and simply move on.
Top salespeople keep the contact process going with real and relative ways. Here are some ideas to help with that:
- Use different techniques of contact so you can be real and relevant in each approach.
- Be memorable in a positive way. That will mean some relevance and importance to the client.
- Have different comments to use in each approach. Practice dialogues for seasonal sales and shifts in market trends.
- Do not show desperation in any approach or client contact. Prospects and clients can sense it and will close the door on your approach. Clients like to deal with ‘winners’.
- Ask the client or prospect if you can remain in regular contact into the future.
- Keep your database accurate and up to date in all respects.
- Get to know the Key Clients of the competition so you can disrupt and disturb their market or dominance.
Do you know what your ideal client looks like? Do you know what your client wants by way of product or service? Do you know when they want to buy or sell? Key questions like this will help you tap into the right people at the right time.
When it comes to building your market share and your business, it is very easy to get tied up in the unimportant things that happen every day. If you work in sales, this can be a disaster that will destroy your market and eventually your commission or income.
In an ideal world you want your good reputation to spread around your industry and client base. You need to be seen and known as the expert that people go to when they want help. This ‘guru’ status does not come easily and can only be built by what you do and who you know. You earn the ‘expert’ mantle of a top expert in your industry.
The key to this process is in being different in an acceptable and relevant way. Business is not all that complicated if you follow the rules.
- Build your brand with clients and prospects after every meeting or contact. Send them your business card in the mail. Write something on the business card that is personal and connecting. Thank the person for giving you some of their time.
- Speak at business conferences or community groups on your speciality. In doing this you can give relevant information and tips that help people. Do not sell from the front of the room. It just puts people off.
- Set aside 90 minutes of your day to make calls to new people that you have not spoken to before. In this way your market share will stay positive and potentially grow.
- Leave messages when you cannot reach someone. You are a brand and your name means something. Some of the most successful salespeople have very unusual names that are hard to forget. This then says that leaving your name will in some minor way form part of the bigger marketing picture for you.
- Send short messages by SMS after a meeting to thank the person that you just spent some time with. Adopt a similar process when you are to meet with a person. Send an SMS message first thing in the morning or the night before so they know that you are coming to see them as expected.
- Go beyond email and lift the telephone as often as you can. Voice contact helps you build your credibility. Most emails get lost in the world of the email trash can.
- Follow-up the prospect or client after every sale to ensure that they are happy with what they purchased from you or your business. It also gives you the opportunity to answer any questions that they may have on product use or application.
- Spend 50% of your day out of the office visiting clients. It is harder to win business from your desk, so make it a part of your diary each day to get out and talk to people.
Is business all that hard? Is there something that some salespeople do that is special? No, the answers are quite simple; the top salespeople in any industry know that personal contact and branding will help them more than anything else. You are in charge of your branding, so build your contact system and start moving it forward every day.
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.