Creating a winning sales system turns the dreaded work of cold calling into a process that teachable and effective. Without a system, we’re left to the task of making more calls, knocking on more doors, and hoping for better results. If this was an effective method for growing your business, why hasn’t your boss offered to pay you for each new call you make or each new door you knock on? May it be that they realize that more cold calling without a wining sales system isn’t really the most effective way to go about sales?
“Over 80% of decision makers absolutely will not buy from a cold call.” -Kenan Flagler Business School, University of North Carolina
How do we create a winning sales system?
Describe the individuals, businesses and industries who most benefit from the products, services, and ideas you are selling? Define and describe your ideal client? Who are the people and businesses you’ve had success working with in the past? Why did these customers do business with you in the past? Did they share a common need that you were able to meet? Did they have certain level of relationship with you prior to doing business with you? What is it about you, your approach or your previous customers that caused them to do business with you?
Once you clearly define your ideal customer, make a list of the ideal people, businesses, and industries you want to connect with and keep that list updated and with you at all times. Be prepared to answer the question, “Who are you looking to meet? Who can I introduce you too?”
Once you have a clear understanding of your ideal customer, show up at the places where those customers frequent.
See yourself as a resource to others and connect with them by showing up at the places and events where your ideal customers will be. Proactively position yourself as a resource to others, and listen for opportunities to meet the needs of those you want to do business with. If I were moving to a new community where I knew no one and where I had no previous connections, I’d find the most active Chamber of Commerce I could and I’d attend every networking event they offer. Rather than waiting for your phone to ring, actively position yourself to become a valuable resource to the people and businesses with whom you want to connect.
Ask yourself how you’d like to be approached, treated and engaged by a sale person you’ve just met. Make it your goal to treat each person you meet with respect and gentleness. You’re there to be a valuable resource, not to be a sales machine that can’t be stopped!
When you meet a person who gives you their business card, this is your opportunity to engage the person in conversation that focuses on the interests, needs, and preferences of the other person. You do this by asking open ended questions that you may want to anticipate in advance. Questions like, “How long have you worked in that industry?” “How did you first get involved in XYZ industry?” “What do you see as your greatest opportunities and your great challenges in this industry?” “As I’m meeting people each day, how will I know when I’ve met the ideal person to refer to you?” Questions like these create conversation that enable you to identify possible areas of need that you can help meet.
After the meeting is over, this is your opportunity to nurture the potential clients you met. Create a follow up process that is both personal and doesn’t smell of a disguised sales pitch. This is not the time to sell, this is your time to nurture the relationship, to build trust and to connect with the person in such a way that they when they’re ready to buy, they’ll want to buy from you!
The follow up process that I’ve found helpful consists of a personal handwritten note card that is two-three sentences in length, it ties back into the conversation we had in person, and in it I re-iterate my willingness to be a resource to the person when I can. In addition, I communicate with the person via articles, like the one you’re reading now. I forward these articles to potential clients letting them know that the article made me think of them and I hope they find the article helpful. I then contact the potential client and I ask for their permission to plan a 20 minute “exploratory” visit with them. During that visit I focus on their needs that I’ve learned about during the meeting and other conversations that may have occurred, then I show them how my products and services may be a solution to their needs.
People today want to be nurtured, cared for, and involved in the process whenever possible. Anything less and you may be marginalizing people and missing great opportunities.
What are you doing to nurture the potential clients you meet? What systems do you have in place that work well for you? What are you doing to grow your database? How have you effectively nurtured the people in your database so that they want to buy from you? I’d love to hear your thoughts and your ideas. By creating a winning sales system, we’ll learn how to more effectively reach potential clients, nurture a relationship with them, and turn them into clients who want to buy from us.
I look forward to hearing your ideas and your experiences. Share them with us so that we can learn together!