In this business world the average client is usually very sophisticated and savvy when it comes to negotiating an agreement of any order for goods and services. The best sales results are obtained when the client is fully satisfied with the details and the price. Pressured selling doesn’t come into it today much at all.
As a salesperson today, the best results will come to you through high quality customer connection and satisfaction. Within those factors the following apply:
- Prospecting on a trust basis
- Building long term relationships
- Providing valuable product and service information
- Understanding the customer requirements
- Solving the customer need
- Backing up on the deal follow through
So the message here is to drop the ‘out of date’ sales clichés and systems from the traditional ‘old school’ of pressured selling and negotiation. Seek to connect with the client and build business out of the new connection.
The start of the sales cycle can take months to establish with some prospects so you have to keep connecting and meeting new people. Freshen up your prospect list with daily prospecting. Some clients will be easy to reach and others will not ‘open the door’ on the connection until they trust you. On average it takes about 3 or 4 attempts to reach clients before they will connect with you. Prove yourself as professional and diligent with a relevant way of approaching your clients.
Our customers like to be treated with respect. Any salesperson that overlooks that process is doomed to failure. The average customer today will not be pressured and is more likely to slow the sales cycle if they feel pushed.
Here are some key business skills that will help the average salesperson move ahead today with prospects, clients, and sales results. Develop your sales system around these things:
- Your thinking will impact your actions, so focus on improving your thinking on business, clients, and prospecting. Expect the best results as you take action, and those results will come to you.
- Improve your prospecting model through regular effort and daily prospecting.
- Establish a clear set of guidelines that can help you stay in touch with clients using relevance as a reason for connection.
- Give great service when an order is placed.
- Seek referral business when the time is right.
- After the sale, keep in contact to ensure client satisfaction and your availability for making another sale.
Business today is not hard; it is just logical. Top salespeople develop a sales system based on trust, and then they stick to the plan of contact. So how many people do you need to know? In most cases you will need a database of several hundred qualified prospects. You should be contacting all of your prospects at least once every 90 days.
When you look around the business environment today, you will see different salespeople and different sales teams. They all function differently and some are more successful than others. When you work on commission based summary, success is not an option. Results simply have to come your way.
The most successful salespeople are those that deliberately choose to improve themselves and their skills. Each week they are taking further steps towards skill development and improvement.
Here are some tips to help you improve your results, client base, and sales.
- Read books on top salespeople to get more ideas about how people approach their industry and their market. When it comes to selling as a profession, we may have new technology and resources to use today, but the profession is the oldest in the world. You can learn a lot from those successful people that have put their ideas and experiences down on paper.
- Determine your greatest weakness when it comes to sales and prospecting activity. The greatest weakness that you can identify is likely to be the one that you avoid at all costs. It is also likely to be the one that holds back your market share and income. Determine the weakness factor that is holding you back, then seek some training and guidance to help you improve and remove the weakness. Practice is the key to developing new skills and improving poor ones.
- Understand your strengths from a business perspective. Those strengths can be solid foundations for ongoing client contact, presentations, client service, and sales. Develop your strengths further through the practice process.
- Systemise your day so that you can get the most important things done that can help you build market share and sales. Top salespeople know the importance of certain key things that they do. Every day they will repeat the most important issues such as prospecting, presentation skills, and client contact.
- Track your progress on a daily and weekly basis. Results and ratios connect you see where your activities are improving, and where the weaknesses still remain.
- Build a database of client contact that is reliable and accurate. Every meeting and conversation should be tracked into the database for future opportunity. As simple as this seems, many salespeople are not very diligent when it comes to database maintenance. This weakness can be your strength.
- Set business and sales goals that are results orientated. Determine the number of sales that you need for the quarter and for the year. Determine the number of clients that you need in particular categories that will help you achieve those sales. Set the prospecting model in action that will allow you to create more clients, and meet more people. Each day you can track your activities with prospecting, meetings, presentations, and sales.
All of these things will help you to progress as a professional salesperson. That being said, you should take a half day a week out of your business diary to focus on planning and performance. Each week, each quarter and each year, there will be seasonal changes to client activity and market forces. The planning process allows you to focus on what’s been happening, how you need to change, and the implementation of your personal business plan.
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.
Successful sales campaigns require continual momentum to a plan or a target. That is why many sales campaigns fail; the people behind the process do not have the plan to keep them on track. They may also lack the discipline to focus on the daily activities required.
Time is your resource of great importance in moving ahead in sales and in business today. Using your time productively to a plan will help you get ahead.
The rules to set up a sales campaign involve some key decisions including these below:
- Identify those ‘rainmakers’ in the sales team that are proven performers. They should be given optimal latitude in driving more business and sales from the client base.
- Determine the priorities that apply to the selection of ‘Key Accounts’ in your market and industry. Populate those segments from existing clients and prospects in your territory.
- Track the clients that are serviced by your competitors. They will require special attention to get leverage and encourage them to move.
- Some clients will be prioritised for repeat business as well as volume sales. Discounts can be applied depending on volume or sales stability.
- Set the rules for Major Accounts as opposed to Ordinary Accounts. Interact with both segments based on the applied rules.
- Create rules that take a new account into the pipeline of conversion and elevated sales over time.
- What are the delay factors that will apply to orders and supply? Always prepare for the known factors before anything else.
Top sales people are highly motivated at a personal level. The only way to achieve that is through focus and directed effort. It takes time to get there, however the rewards are many.
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.
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’?