Shirley Anthony is an author, speaker and owner of Marketing Breakthroughs, a marketing consultancy operating for over twenty years.
Can you identify with the situation where you’re not meeting your monthly sales targets? Your motivation and your confidence are taking a knock? You’re blaming a tight economy… but are you in fact having the right sales conversations? Here’s how to initiate these and with whom:
Talk to Customers Who Haven’t Bought From You for a While
Selling is all about relationship building and sometimes we just need to rekindle a relationship to have it blossom again.
Go through your customer list and contact those who have not bought from you in the past 12 months. Arrange a half hour coffee chat (or an online call). Check in with them and ask them how their business is progressing and what are their challenges and needs.
Make sure that during your session you do only 20% of the talking and 80% of the listening – you really are there to fact gather and make good suggestions.
Very often a conversation like this reveals ways in which you can again be of service to your customer and hey presto, suddenly you’ve made a sale.
The bottom line is that to increase your sales and profits, you need to focus on having more sales conversations with the RIGHT people
Grow Existing Customers
Do any of your customers have other departments within their companies or subsidiaries to whom you could offer your product? Remember that your brand is already used and liked within the organisation – a strong testimonial when you approach other potential buyers within that business.
Early last year I encouraged an advertising agency, for which I provide marketing input, to adopt this strategy. Their clients are Product Managers in the departments of large corporate companies. In many instances there are various Product Managers in one company, managing different brands.
Merely by ensuring that all Product Managers within a particular corporate were aware of their offering, my client has achieved a 1 944% increase in business with that organisation year-on-year.
Sound like an idea that could work for you?
Conversation is Key
Whenever Richard Branson flies on his Virgin Airlines, he always leaves his seat during the flight. He wanders down the aisle, stopping to chat to fellow passengers on the way. His reason: he knows that it’s essential to keep on touching base with his customers; to find out what they think of the airline’s service and how Virgin can better meet their changing needs.
You should to be checking in regularly with your customers too – at least on an annual basis. Getting feedback from your customers will make you aware of opportunities which you can capitalise on and that’s how you get more sales.
Speak to Your Prospects Too
Make a list of your hot prospects and find a way to start talking to them. Book an appointment to show them what you offer and then foster the relationship. Send them a regular e-mail with a link to an interesting article or your list of specials. Just keep yourself top of mind.
When I was a full time corporate employee, there was an owner of a small promotional company who would regularly pop in to our offices to say hello. At the time we had two promotional suppliers with whom we were very happy, but there came a day when we had an urgent requirement and neither of them could assist. You’ve guessed it, we gave our persistent visitor the job and he so impressed us that, within six months, he had been awarded 50% of our promotional business.
The bottom line is that to increase your sales and profits, you need to focus on having more sales conversations with the RIGHT people. So get talking, it’s guaranteed to uncover new opportunities and put cash in the bank!