There are literally tons of sources for new business opportunities. We will discuss these in future articles, but first …
Understand the new rules – Is selling harder today than it used to be? Yes! Buyers have changed. They are more informed than ever and will do much of their research, and solicit recommendations, online. Much of the buying decision process may have been completed before reaching out to you. However, they are also looking for people like you!
What happens if they are doing so on LinkedIn and you are either nowhere to be found or what they find looks like hell? Squandered opportunity. How about your website? These are both the new yellow pages.
Set aside time each day to prospect – Not doing so is the most common reason behind the commission roller coaster.
Create the deals! Don’t respond to RFPs – RFPs, unless you wrote them, generally suck. The same holds true to call-in leads. I used to say it depended on where you were listed in the phone book. Now it is your search ranking. Ask them where they got your name.
Separate yourself – You must always be perceived as being remarkable, unique, and memorable.
Dress for success – Business casual is fine but, if you show up in a tie … R.U.M. Seriously, dress according to your area norms and then kick it up a notch. I hate ties as much as you do.
Cold calls – Whether in person, phone, or email, do your research online first! I prefer warm calls (having names, a feeling for them and their company, or a known need) and referrals and we will talk much more about this topic!
What is the purpose of your call? The goal? – Simple. Schedule an appointment! I might simply ask .. “I have some ideas and I’m honestly not sure if, or if not, they would be of value to you. Would it be worth 15 minutes for us to find out?”
Gatekeepers – State your name and company. Know who you are calling for. Ask to be connected. Trying to hide your identity invites questions and they will never stop. Get the gatekeeper’s name. Assume that they are in charge if you don’t know who actually is and they will defer and send you to the right person, generally.
If you can’t get in front of a customer – Is that them, geography, or you? Honestly, it is so easy to email when we should be pushing to get face-to-face. COVID and geography permitting.
City permit listings – These are great sources for both opportunities and opportunity research! When I looked at permit listings, I also looked at the physical copies of the applications submitted. Often, they included names, titles, phone numbers, email addresses, everything!
Business from existing customers – ⅔ of customers leave because they think that you don’t care. Can they buy more? Even if they don’t buy, will they refer? Think of LTCV (Long Term Customer Value). What about service or sign refreshes?
I have always favored quality calls and opportunities over quantity – There always seems to be the same knee-jerk reaction when sales are not where they should be. That reaction is … you need to do more! More calls. More appointments. More deals. However, there is a problem with this philosophy and that problem is time. Time is finite.
You are not internet marketers hoping for a 1% return based on thousands of touches so … don’t act like one. If you are going to make a tap or a touch (customer engagement), maximize it!
I would rather focus on ratios. If it takes me 10 calls to secure an appointment (10%), what would happen if I could get that same appointment after only 7 calls (14%)? If I close 50% of the deals that I compete on, what if I could raise that to 60%? On $100,000 worth of opportunities, that is another $10,000 in sales.
What if I improved both my call to appointment and closing ratios? As you improve your craft, your ratios will do likewise. Then there are those deals that just don’t meet my sweet spot …
- They might be too small or too large, but a referral is never too small!
- They already have a solid relationship with a competitor.
- They need something that we are not well equipped to effectively address.
- I can’t get in front of the decision makers.
- I can’t control certain aspects of the deal or the specifications.
This list goes on. Do I want to devote my efforts, and the efforts of others, toward chasing a deal that we have little chance of securing? Mind you, I have gone into deals where I am definitely on the outside looking in, and I have won those opportunities. But not always.
Would you like to chat with me about sign sales or about Nimble CRM. If yes, please book a free 30-minute Zoom consultation with me!