What's Your Sales Approach?
Guest Contributor: David ColombI love reading sales blogs on the Internet; you learn a lot about what your competition out there are thinking. I learn things that help me every day in my work, and they also make me think.
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One of the discussions that seem to be the most active out there is the discussion of the best way to develop a pipeline of clients, does the salesperson use cold calling, referrals, or networking to get their leads? Everyone seems to believe there is one answer that will work for them every time. I just don't understand or believe that there can be one way that will work for every situation.
I think that as a hunter looking for new clients, I have to have a toolbox of different weapons that will capture different clients. When I sold uniform services, the primary tool and the most successful seemed to be cold calling, you go out with a list of potential businesses that you found on the Internet, and you go door to door, meeting and presenting. The majority of these clients are small business owners, they don't have the time or the inclination to talk with their competition, nor do they go to Chamber mixers or other networking opportunities. The successful salesperson needs to hunt them down to their lair and meet them face to face.
When I sold Commercial Pest Control I was successful in using all three approaches. Apartment complex management could be found in network opportunities such as Management Associations and Chambers, because they used these organizations to market their businesses and to collect information to help them manage their complex. The ancillary benefit to attending these meetings was that you could also get face to face referrals from a happy manager to other managers. Other segments of the market, restaurants and small businesses again need to be cold called, they don't have time to go out in social situations, and they're minding the store, full time.
These examples show that you can't be the person that chooses what will be the successful approach, you need to find out what approach is going to be the one that gets you in front of a qualified lead. Your clients are the ones that will show you how to get their attention. Those salespeople that think that they can become adept at one approach and that this approach will always work for them are fooling themselves. Sometimes I think that salespeople try to simplify things, we always want to have a roadmap that leads to success, and we always want to use this same map, no matter where we're going. Keep it simple seems to be the mantra of sales, and there is certainly a place for that during your presentation, and in your dealing with management, but in finding clients we need to spend the time and effort to think through and find the way to do this.
Labels: David Colomb
It's About Delivering Happiness
Guest Contributor: Shannon McCaffery
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"Everything is about the customer experience," exclaimed Tony Hsieh, CEO Zappos. I had the ultimate pleasure of hearing him speak at Yanik Silver's Underground 5 Conference, as well as talk to him after his presentation. He's a very inspiring, pragmatic and funny speaker. He had so many gems of wisdom that I almost ran out of room to write them all down. A lot of what he said really hit home for me, especially now with what's happening with businesses and the economy. Hence, I thought it would make a perfect post for this blog. I believe the philosophy Tony shared and the philosophy I keep reading about in Dan Kennedy's (If you don't know Dan you can go to his website http://www.dankennedy.com ) monthly newsletter will be the keys to companies staying in business.
What's that philosophy? Well it's all about the customer and as Tony Hsieh said, "Zappos is about delivering happiness to our customer's door." In his case it's delivering merchandise like shoes and clothing, while building long lasting relationships with their customers and having THE best customer service ever. Their main brand IS customer service. They go above and beyond for their customers. He gave us many awe inspiring stories and some funny ones too. I decided to try out their customer service and they were wonderful. Unfortunately my rescue dog Lily got a hold of my Keens and chewed the closure loop off. I called Zappos to see if I could get it fixed or what to do since I purchased the shoes from them. They checked out Keens site and gave me all the info to get them fixed - wow, that was cool.
Here's what I'd recommend for you in your business - ramp up your customer service by doing something for them. Stay in their forefront of their minds by constantly keeping in touch via direct mail, email, phone, or social media (like Twitter, Facebook, Youtube, etc.). During these challenging economic times don't be strangers with your customers. Also don't overtly "sell" them either. Ask them in depth questions to try to help them. Find out what they need or what their biggest challenge is right now or what they need help with. Go above and beyond for your customers so they will always remember you. Really show you care and mean it. Send them a gift once a year, food always works (I love Cheryl's cookies!), or send them a gift card or something they would appreciate. During these stress-filled economic times, those companies and entrepreneurs that will rise to the top think differently. Don't be afraid to take risks and above all else don't do what everyone else is doing! Your goal is really that simple - take good care of your customers.
Another idea is - give them a quick survey, check in on how they're doing and what they need now during this time. I've done several of these for clients and we've received some gems of info that are helping us create new products, and meeting client's needs because we know what those needs are!
Now is not a time to give up and tighten your belts when it comes to your customers. Go above and beyond, the name of the game is to keep your customers happy so they want to be your customer for a LONG time, maybe even for life.
Labels: Shannon McCaffery