With four months left in 2018, our sales training clients in Vancouver, Edmonton, Calgary and Toronto are refocusing on what they can do to drive more sales into this year. Keeping things simple is always a great idea. Let’s give you a clear direction going forward.
It doesn’t matter what industry you’re in. When it comes to generating revenue, there are only 2 ways to make more sales. Your ability to focus on each of them will determine your success in exceeding your 2018 sales targets.
Drive More Sales: Grow your Existing Clients
There’s a reason that your existing client base is listed as the first priority. You have an established buying relationship with your current customers. They already see value in purchasing your products and services and a phone call or email to them will most likely be returned. Yet this tends to be the most overlooked category to drive more sales.
Perhaps that’s because many Professional Salespeople consider that one of the highest levels of success occurs when a decision maker turns into a buyer. The prospect now becomes a customer. For that to occur, your client had to buy you first and your product second. Nothing is more rewarding than the feeling of being trusted as your hard work turns into a sale.
So why stop there? Why elect to put your client relationship on cruise control while they continue to buy other products and services that you carry from other suppliers? Ask yourself these questions:
- How many times have you heard your buyers say “I didn’t know you stocked that product.”
- Knowing that your client always lacks time, do they really want to see more Salespeople?
- Wouldn’t your buyer appreciate extra value-add or even a slight discount for increasing their purchasing volume with you?
- If your best Key Accounts spent more with you, wouldn’t that give you more time to focus on new business development?
- If you’re not thinking this way, is your competition?
The Next Step In Your Sales Success
Strategies and tactics are an important part of sales success. That process is called Management by Objectives – a Sales MBO. It all starts with a specific goal.
Goal: Increase sales to my existing client base in the last 4 months of 2018. Feel free to quantify the increase for added impact – 5%, 10% or 15%
Strategies: How will I accomplish this goal?
Tactics: What actionable steps do I need to take with deadlines to support my strategies?
Here are a few examples of strategies that have worked very well with our clients.
- Run a purchase history of your clients over the past 12 months in descending order. Compare it to the same time frame over the previous 12 months. Take note of which clients are spending more. These are your Growth Accounts. Buyers spending less are At-Risk Accounts. Every time we do this, the Salespeople we’re working with dive into the report and are shocked to see what it reveals. Reviewing a purchase history is a great planning exercise in preparation for new sales targets before the end of the current fiscal.
- Run another report that shows the correlation between your client list and the product categories they’re buying from you. This one is one of our favorites as it immediately shows you sales opportunities by the vacancies in product purchasing. Your goal is to fill the void with as many clients as possible.
By doing these actions, you are practising great account management. While we all love lucky breaks, we cannot rely on mistakes made by a competitor or other reactive happenings. Your sales success will come from proper planning, preparation and implementation.
Drive More Sales: Prospecting and New Business Development
While growing your existing client volume is the primary way of driving more sales, prospecting for new clients is a strong second. While it’s much easier to have conversations with existing relationships, prospecting is a regular practise for top-producing Salespeople. Sales attrition and account loss is inevitable and too many Salespeople panic prospect when losing clients. This is one of the 10 Most Common Mistakes Made by Salespeople in our book SHUT UP! Stop Talking and Start Making Money.
Smart Salespeople follow these guidelines:
- Schedule prospecting in your calendar as an appointment on a specific day and time. This is a meeting that you will be having with many new potential clients in a one-hour period. Fight the urge to move the appointment when one of your Key Accounts suggests meeting at that time. Offer a close alternative time to ensure you can do both. Most buyers are agreeable and allowing them to realize that you’re a busy person can be a good thing.
Here’s why this is important. Prospecting is a task that many Salespeople subconsciously look for reasons to postpone. Servicing an existing client seems like a great one. After all, you must take care of current clients, right? Your prospecting appointment has a goal of scheduling many appointments with new customers. Find a way to do both without automatically sidelining your efforts to establish more buying relationships.
- Take 20 minutes to research the digital footprint of the prospects you wish to call. Find a Valid Business Reason (VBR) in the mind of the buyer that entices them to want to devote time to meeting you. Don’t sound like every other Salesperson talking about how great their product is to try gain an appointment. Finding something important in the current world of the buyer that is relevant to their needs, not yours.
Research every page of the company website in detail to find VBR nuggets. Do a Google Search on the company and the buyer (if possible) to gain insight. Read the first 3 pages of organic search to discover announcements, press releases and other valuable information. A LinkedIn Company page with a listing of all employees with Profiles attached is yours for free by simply putting the company page into the LinkedIn search engine.
- Run a report (yes, another one) of all your current clients to determine the business categories that buy products and services from you. List them in descending order and then do a Google Search with the category and geographic location as the keywords. This is an excellent way to get a full listing of every business that could be looking for your product and service.
For example, if you’re selling software solutions to accounting firms in Vancouver, a simple Google search of those keywords will reveal the cities most prominent firms. However, what if your product is designed to give smaller firms an edge over competitors? Check out the bottom of the first page of my Google Search.
Searches related to accounting firms in Vancouver:
Google and LinkedIn are incredible free sales tools that can fast track your prospecting efforts by allowing you to proactively engage with the right clients eager to hear more of what you have to offer.
What this accomplishes
The most successful Salespeople work with a top-down and bottom-up strategy. Here’s our definition of both:
- Having a plan for growing your existing clients
- Devising a prospecting strategy for new customers
- Using strategies, tactics and deadlines for implementation
- Servicing and meeting with clients
- Answering emails and calls
- Internal administration
Sales success occurs when the two meet in the middle. What do you think? Please let us know in the comments section below. If you liked this article, feel free to share it on your favorite social media platform.
The sales techniques we write about are the basis of our training. Check out our book SHUT UP! Stop Talking and Start Making Money available on Kindle and paperback on Amazon. We’re having a September sale on Kindle for $4.99 Canadian!
Our online sales training program The Sales Skills Incubator is on sale this week for $50 off at $149 Canadian including taxes! It’s a comprehensive 8-hour course with a downloadable workbook for practical implementation in your specific sales role. Take the free trial on Chapter 1 – The Stigma of Sales.
Dave Warawa – PROSALESGUY