Do you want to increase your effectiveness in sales? I bought a book, called "The 25 Sales Strategies that will boost your sales today". I am going to give it to you chapter by chapter, all typed out, every week, on Fridays. I may start podcasting it, and put it in my feedplayer, which has some good podcasts right now. The newest installment of Duck Tape Marketing is about worm poop. Check it out. I am also trying to find more podcasts to add, so if you have suggestions, let me know. I like anything that has to do with marketing, the environment, sales, and Public Relations.
Chapter One: TAKING IMMEDIATE ACTION
Not long ago, I was talking with a salesperson about a meeting shed' just conducted witha prospect, a meeting that had gone quite well. I said, "well, that's excellent. Did you write him a letter, thanking him for the time he spent with you?" She said, "no. There's no reason to write him a letter to thank him, because I'm going to follow up with him by telephone on Friday."
It was a TUesday afternoon. What, the salesperson argued, was the point of writing a letter? Her prospect probably wouldn't get it anyway. I told her she was making a mistake: there was a very good chance that she would not get through to her contact on Friday-and that whether she did or not, the thank you letter would reinforce her good work during the first meeting. "I'd get that letter our immediately", I told her.
Maybe she meant to do as I'd suggested, but the truth is she never sent that letter. The two did not connect on Fridday. In fact, another whole week went by before she was able to speak with the prospect again. Her sale had stalled; she'd lost momentum. And why? Because she'd decided to "wait to see what he thought of the presentation".
Salespeople must learn to act on what happens immediately. Successful salespeople are constantly asking themselves: "What can I do now to move the sales cycle forward?" Too many salespeople count on things unfolding just as the timetable the prospect lays out suggests. I say I'll call you Friday; therefore, I'm probably going to call you Friday. But the reality is, things don't always work that way.
The sad truth is that, early on in our relationship with a prospect, we're not the highest thing on his or her priority list. The information we get is better and the commitments we receive are more meaningful as the relationship progresses and deepens. But at the outset of our business relationship, we don't really know what the other person has in mind. We don't know whether that person will get to talk to the other people in the organization who must sign off on our ideas. We don't know whether the prospect will even read our proposal. We need every advantage we can get. Most salespeopleare not quick enough to act o what I consider to be the basic responsibility of good sales work: committing oneself to move the process forward, and not relying on others to do so.
In selling, you need to be fast. You need to take reponsibility for sizing up the best ways to move the sales cycle forward, and you need to act quickly.
I got a telephone call a number of years ago from a woman who wante to buy ten of my "cold calling techniques that really work" book. It happened to be 10:30 at night on a Friday when she called; Iwas in the offic, working late, so I answered thephone. When I heard that she wanted to order the ten books, I asked myself, " What can I do to move this relationship forward right now?"
So I asked, "What is it you're trying to accomplish? How are you planning to use the books?" To which she said, " I work for a major oil company here in Virginia, and what we're trying to do is get our ten distributors to make more phone calls, and if we do that, we're going to be more effective in our sales."I said to her, "I've got an idea. I'll be in Virginia this coming Tuesday. Why don't we get together? She said "you'll come here? I said absolutely!
The fact of the matter is my quick action to move the relationship forward led to a $250,000 sale! All this because I chose to take immediate action to find out more about the person, to deepen the relationsip, to move the process forward then and there.
Most salespeople don't do that. In fact, most sales people are busy trying to figure out how they can avoid having ot go on an appointment. They figure maybe they can cut a few corners. My philosophy- and the philosophy of the superior salespeole I've worked with over the years- is very different. Take action, and do it now. Get an answer-positive or negative-quickly, and then move on. Reinforce a good meeting now, not next week. follow up a promising lead now, not "someday" .
For example, recently one of my sales managers ripped out an ad in Business Week for a credit corporation and passed it on to a salesperson. the rep made no call on that ad for three weeks. My sales manager, slightly peeved, 'repossessed' the ad and called the next day. He got an appointment instantly. We eventually got the business from that ad- but we could have gotten it three weeks earlier than we did. (and that salesperon could have earned a commission!)
Successful salespeople are always thinking about how they can move things forward. They realize that in order to change the status quo, it's usually necessary to actu quickly.
Don' overanalyze a situation. Act immediately. Go when the prospect says to go. But also be realistic about what you're going there for- and don't be shy about follwoing up immediately after your appointment, either on papaer or by phone. when in doubt, do something that moves the relationship forward!