How has your sales week gone? I hope you’ve been able to close some pre-holidays business? If you did, congratulations! Why did your prospect agree to buy? What did you do to help them take action? It’s just as important to learn from successes as it is from failures. Recognising similar situations in the future will give you the confidence to “go for it” and win again as you did this week.
If you didn’t win any business this week, don’t be hard on yourself - and don’t forget about those prospects, because that’s what they still could be. Make sure you have a plan to get back in contact after an appropriate length of time and keep them updated with you and your products. And remember, asking for referrals from customers is only using half of your database. Why not ask for a referral from a prospect who didn’t buy? Just because they weren’t ready now, doesn’t mean they don’t know contacts from their network who are in the market for what you’re offering. Remember, “don’t ask, don’t get!”.
Par for the Course
Networking is always a good idea, and this week, I spent some of Wednesday on the golf course as part of a business networking event organised by Fore Business. Even in today’s “connected” digital world, meeting people in person is still one of the most powerful sales tools there is. If you’ve met someone in person, you’re far more likely to do business with them than if you’ve only met virtually.
Going to some organised networking events like these can be a great way to get in front of decision-makers in your target industry. You can avoid having to navigate your way around out-of-office emails, tenacious gatekeeper PA’s, or social media connections that don’t… well, connect!
You can use networking events in a variety of ways. If you have a particular skill or service you are selling, use these events to raise your profile as the local expert in your field. Perhaps offer to present at one, or introduce a guest speaker to them? Use networking to actively prospect in a room full of real people, most of whom will be decision-makers. Alternatively, how about inviting an existing prospect to an event that you’ll also be attending. They’ll have a useful and hopefully enjoyable experience if the subject is relevant to them, and your kudos with them will increase - particularly if you’re already known to several other attendees and can be seen as someone who others are doing business with.
So I encourage you to add networking events into your calendar. There are many around the country; some organised locally, some centrally. If there isn’t one near you, why not be the one to try and arrange a local networking event? Let me know your experiences of networking and how you use it in your prospecting and sales cycle.
School’s Out for Summer
Despite all of my positivity and a “can-do” attitude, there’s no getting away from the fact that summer is a difficult time to sell. Well, unless you’re selling ice creams, sunblock or barbeques that is! Many people do go away for a well-earned holiday in August, and tracking down new or existing prospects is tough. The best salespeople plan for this often lean month well in advance in a couple of ways.
The first is to make sure that their sales pipeline is full for June and July and September. This means getting initial or early-stage meetings in the diary for September already, and a good number of closing opportunities to take advantage of now before everyone disappears.
The second great thing you can do is to use this quieter time to do some housekeeping around your CRM and sales tools. You can also look to build (or improve on) a “Sales Engine” to generate a constant stream of new business through the year. Use the time to assess what you’ve got and improve it where required.
This week’s Saturday Sales email looked at a range of things you could be doing this August to set yourself up for a bumper autumn and beyond.
Clean up your CRM
This is one of those “unproductive” jobs that people tend to put off. While I agree that it’s not an active sales task, cleaning up your database will pay dividends later by making you more efficient.
I spoke about the benefits of this exercise and the sort of data cleansing you should be doing now to make your full-on sales prospecting next month more productive.
Oh, and if you don’t use a CRM database, you really should consider trialling a few and getting one in place before September. When used properly, and kept up to date, a CRM system becomes the foundation of all successful sales campaigns.
Build a ‘Sales Engine’
Many companies and salespeople win business sporadically. Have you often felt you go through periods of “famine and feast” with your sales? This is probably because you don’t have clearly set out processes and plans in place to enable you to win business consistently throughout the year.
Email subscribers heard about how I work with clients to build powerful ‘Sales Engines’ that generate a steady flow of new business each month. These can be complicated, systems-based tools for large clients, but they can also be simple visual roadmaps that perfectly suit the needs of smaller companies or individuals.
I spoke about designing powerful emails that contain direct links to your content in order to nurture new leads through your sales journey, and how you can set up reliable calls to action: [show mine]
Review the components of your Sales Engine
This is all about taking a critical look at your sales resources - your brochures, guides, case studies. Is everything still relevant? Do you need to make changes following things you may have learnt from my Saturday Sales emails or my videos? Are there some components missing? Use the quieter time now to “tune” your sales engine so it can hit high revs in September!
Revisit your scripts and objection responses
Again, cast an objective eye over your scripts and frameworks for calls and meetings. Perhaps ask someone else to critique them for you? Often an outside perspective can reveal some tweaks that you can make that can achieve great results. It’s often difficult to “see the wood for the trees” when dealing with very familiar material that you’ve put together yourself.
If you’re happy with your scripts and objection handling responses - great! Now it’s time to practice, practice and practice again! Use this quieter time to become so familiar with them that they become second nature, and you can deliver them instantly and comfortably.
Here Comes the Weekend
I hope you’re now enthused to go and make some productive time out of a traditionally quiet sales month? Let me know how you use your down time to improve your sales tools. Do you use a CRM that’s working hard for you? Which one is it and what’s so good about it? It would be great to hear from everyone’s different experiences.
This Saturday’s Sales email will be 5 key items of “content” you must be using in your sales cycle to maximise your results. One of them might be a bit controversial for traditionalists, but I guarantee it gets results!
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For questions or advice on any sales topic, please do get in touch with me by email via firstname.lastname@example.org or through any of the social networks: Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or YouTube - just search for ‘jameswhitesales’.
I always like to receive requests for specific topics you’d like me to cover in the Saturday Sales mails, my blog, or on YouTube channel, so let me know what you would like support with for future episodes.
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