Category Archives: Sales

Top Lead Generation Sources For Contractors.

Looking at how our contractor clients found new leads in 2014 and early 2015 can help you understand how to generate more sales in the next year.

We work on marketing plans that include primarily long term lead generation programs, because they by their nature generate a better return on your investment.  We also understand that if you don’t have a good size customer base who is referring new business to you, you need to have short term lead generation programs in place.  These will have a lower return on investment, and need to be closely analyzed before you spend any money.  It’s just as easy to lose money on a poorly executed short term lead generation program as it is to make money.

Types of Short Term Lead Generation Programs Ranked by success.

  • Google pay per click advertising.: It’s risky if you aren’t experienced in producing Pay Per CLick programs.  You will need a good landing page, a decent offer on that page, and understand how to set up the ad words program using the right type of keywords ,  lot’s of “ad groups”, the right Geo-Targeting,  the right bidding strategy  and time of day targeting.
  • Door Fliers: For certain industries these can be produce leads. Time of year, service offering, demographics targeted demographics will all be important to the success of a program. Volume is very important as well.  Think 10,000 doors not 500 when budgeting.
  • Yard Signs
  • Print Advertising. Careful here.
  • T.V. and Radio. Don’t do it unless you sell a high margin, high volume product (windows) and only do it at the right time of year
  • Co-op Marketing. Think Home Advisor, or Team Dave Logan.  Once again, you need to be very careful in how you approach these type advertising opportunities. Easy to loser money if you are not prepared to go “all In” on your full sales cycle. You’ll also have to have different expectations on closing percentage.  This is about the lowest form of lead.

Long term Lead Generation Programs:

oddly enough, last years top source has moved to second. That may be based on new demand in the residential construction area.

Number One Lead Source:

  1. Search Engine optimization,  local SEO and web visibility programs. Organic and other internet listings out performed referrals by a pretty good revenue margin last year. Web visibility also includes many other aspects of Internet marketing, including video, YouTube, Social Networks and more.
  2. Referrals from former customers
  3. Referrals from professional’s and networks
  4. Charity and community involvement. As in most things in business, relationships matter.  Although you may not see a large amount of new revenue, it will help your branding, and you are doing the right thing.

More to follow on the long term programs that we see as the most successful, and truly generate 80%  of the revenue for the companies we work with long term. Stay tuned…

See more about our lead generation for contractors here: http://www.salesjumpstart.net/blog/contractor-marketing/

 

How to Sell Business Services Using LinkedIn.

How to Sell Business Services Using LinkedIn.

In the continuing series of how to sell Business and SEO services, and based on our premise that relationships are what really sell, I wanted to give you a great tool and process to sell more services.

LinkedIn is the world’s largest business social network. Chances are the vast majority of your clients have a LinkedIn profile. On that profile is a list of their connections. Doesn’t it make sense to take a look at all of your clients connections, making a note of the industry and position each connected person is in, and then ask your client for an introduction?

Step One

The first step is to request to be added to each of your clients LinkedIn account. All you need to do is search LinkedIn for their names, and then request they add you as a connection.

We encourage our sales coaching clients and any businesses that sell B2B, to actively, and prolifically ask for referrals from clients. The big challenge most of your clients/customers will have giving you a referral (and I find this true time after time) is trying to figure out who to refer you to. The process of knowing who their connections are on LinkedIn, and asking directly for a referral to that very person, will increase your referrals a ton.

Give it a few weeks if needed

You may need to give it a few weeks before many of your clients respond to your request to be connected, as they may not check their account all that often. For those you don’t hear back from, send them an email and ask that they add you to their LinkedIn connections.

Search their connections

Now that you are connected… go search those clients’ connections! Make a note of the people you think will benefit from your service, and then… write a template email that you can give to your client that recommends a business speak to you about your service.

Send a request for an introduction

Send your client a request for a referral to the identified prospect, and add the email template to the bottom of your email. End your email with something like….

Mike, I wanted to make this as easy as possible for you so I have included a brief introduction of my company for

_____________ (Name of prospect) below. Please feel free to just copy and paste it into an email to _______.

You have now eliminated almost all the reasons you don’t get referrals from Clients. You have identified the person(s) they can refer, you have written the copy they need to send. You will be surprised how many of your clients will happily refer you to non competing businesses.


 

How To Increase Your Conversion Percentages.

How to close more sales by increasing your conversion percentages.

A conversion meter system is simple, and if you apply these tactics to your product, your sales conversion rate will increase fast.

People and companies buy based on a lack of fear of doing so. Some people call it trust, but you can trust a service or product and still have substantial fear about buying it.

Let me give you an example. Assume I have an old car I don’t use much but keep it around as a backup car for the family, kids, and guests. One day it starts leaking all sorts of fluids. I may trust the company that I am asking to fix my old car that they can fix it, but my fear may be, will paying for the repair be worth the money, or should I just buy a new car. I am not going to hand over the keys unless my concern is addressed. The car isn’t worth all that much any way.

So it’s not about trust, it’s about getting rid of the fear.

A really smart auto repair company would not only convince me I could trust them (using testimonials, and certifications and all that) but they also would be prepared to “step into my shoes” and let me know that even after I spend the $1500.00 to fix the car, that I could still sell it (fixed) for $4500. If I don’t fix the car it’s only worth $1000. So it’s a net gain of $2000.00.

Now I am ready to get it fixed.

So step one in increasing your sales conversion is identifying what prospects fear when they buy from you. This can be tougher than it sounds. And if you are smart you will ask people who bought from you in the past to tell you what they feared, instead of just winging it.

When it comes to SEO (search engine optimization) services the fear is pretty easy to figure out. Clients fear that 1, It won’t work. 2, It will work but they won’t get many new sales to cover the expense. And 3, that they don’t have enough money in the budget to do the program.

So lots of SEO companies guarantee that the site will be on the first page of Google… what ever that means. (You always have to ask, “or what” with a guarantee. Is it all your money back? Is it they will do more work until it is? And if so what time period are they talking about? And then again, or what?”)

But that only helps with the smaller fear. If you want to eliminate, or greatly reduce all the fears you may need to do a performance based pay model, they pay you based on what actual sales come through the program), and a payment plan that fits the clients budget.

The interesting thing about doing all of that to address and get rid of fears is, you will usually make more revenue and profit when you go the extra mile. you can charge more on performance based programs, andyou can charge more on payments plans. So over time, you end up with a higher margin.

Addressing a clients fears will bring up your closing percentage as much as 50%. It’s worth the thought process and time to figure it out. Feel free to email us if you need some help with coming up with these fears, or just want to run then by us.

The next big thing in your improving your closing percentage is talking and presenting the stuff your clients WANT! Selling what they need will kill your sales fast.

Want To Sell More? Look To Product Development First

Sales is not about convincing people who do not want your service to buy it. Sales is about finding the people who do want your service and letting them buy it.

Odd that this premise is so overlooked in business. I’ve worked with 100’s of small and medium business owners or senior managers who really didn’t get this. And it can be a fatal flaw to a company.

Sales

There is a complete misunderstanding of what a salesperson/group/ division is capable of. I’ve worked with owners of multimillion dollar companies, who really think the simple act of hiring a professional sales person means that sales person should now be able to convert most (or at least a decent amount) of prospects by using the magic they have learned throughout their career, no matter how good a fit the service or product is, no matter the position of the product in the marketplace, no matter the branding of the product. In the mind of the less informed, a sales rep can sell anything.

Add to that the natural and common tendency for owners to have a higher regard for their offering than the market itself, as well as the common optimistic early sales projections and outlook communicated by the new sales force, and you have a disaster waiting to happen.

I should note that I have worked with sales people who can sell anything, but they are very rare, and they generally produce much lower customer loyalty. Perhaps these are the salespeople owners are thinking of when their expectations are that a “sales person” can sell anything.

The solution is a well thought out sales and marketing assessment before you go and buy the farm. And this is tricky, because the reality is marketing is primarily responsible for identifying the target market (People who will like your service) finding out how to reach them , and then attracting them to your sales group or funnel.

Yet most companies I have worked with don’t have a budget or an understanding of how these two key disciplines must work together to achieve success. So they put all their dollars in one or the other, or severely under budget one.

So if you buy into this premise, the fundamental success of sales for you company starts with product development. A good sales rep can’t sell a product that is hard to use, or poorly designed. A good sales rep can sell a product that is easy to use, and has a clear advantage for their target market.

So working relentlessly on improving what you sell, will do more for driving sales than anything else you can do.

After that, you must have a marketing machine to get the service in view of the right buyers. Once that is accomplished, sales comes into play. Sales is the last piece of the sales process, following product development and improvement and then marketing.

So if you’re struggling with sales, perhaps where you should be looking for answers is in your product or service offering, or are you asking your salesperson to be both your marketing department and sales department.

By: Mike Bayes

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Lead Generation Is Easy (Not)

Building a Lead Generation Program Is Easy (NOT).

So… I’m asked all the time how to build sales for a business. Should I do Social Media, SEO, Advertising, Direct sales, all of that.

I think the first point to start with any “sales” program is the understanding of one very important principle. So to get to that lets start with this question which is this: Sales starts with and goes no where without what?

There are many good answers to this, you might say..

– A great product, – A sales person, – An offer, – Marketing dollars, and on and on.

But the pragmatic answer is this: Sales go nowhere without “leads”. A lead is a business or person who has been qualified as a prospect AND expressed interest in what ever it is you sale.

This is Important! >>>>>
This is Important! >>>>>

Lead Generation is hard

Now here is the second principle you must understand….Lead Generation is hard, expensive, and can be very painful. That’s why “inbound Marketing” has become such a big tactic. Inbound marketing whispers the promise of easy leads being sent to your inbox, ready for your sales rep to close.

The mistake in this concept is that Inbound Marketing is HARD, expensive and can be painful. like any other form of lead generation, it just has a prettier face.

So if you want to build sales, you have to understand, it’s going to either cost money, or it’s going to take all your time (if you’re a small company).

How much money depends on your service or product, and market. To get the picture on how you should budget (or spend) on sales (and 30% to 50% of that should be in lead generation) you need to understand there are different type sales strategies and customers. Depending on your growth strategy, and your tactics have a everything to do with the cost.

If you’re in a sustain mode, relying on referrals and luck, then your budget is tiny because it costs very little to acquire referred customers.

If you want new “open market” customers, that’s a completely new game. And these new customers are your growth group. You have to sell to them in a completely different way. They don’t know you, so you have to establish trust in the relationship. That takes time and money.

So here is a simple formula you might consider. A new market customer will cost you at least 15% of your Gross revenue. So if you sell $2500. Web sites, a new market customer will cost $325. Also understand that that’s 15% of a new sale, not 15% of your gross revenue. If your revenue is evenly split between referred customers and open market customers (a nice healthy mix), your budget is 7.5% of all revenue. That’s why the first few years of a business is so tough! Your cost of sale is twice to three times what your established competitions is.

The thing that really stops most companies from investing that 15% is the fact that it’s money up front, and it takes time to get the return. If you want 10 new customers in a quarter (or a day, its all just math) you are going to have to invest $3250.00 , it may take 6 months to see the total first stage results (First stage is the original prospect buys, second stage is when they refer others).

So if you have an ongoing program, you’re into the budget $3250 time 6 months before the first months return is final. Ouch! That’s why most start up sales programs don’t have a positive return until the 9th month.

if you do it wrong (which is easy to do) it’s throwing your money away. So you can start to see the pain… it’s hard, and it’s temporarily expensive. Not only that, but if you do it wrong (which is easy to do) it’s throwing your money away. And the first way to do it wrong is by NOT focusing on lead generation first.

For small companies without a sales department or person, you are going to have to outsource your lead generation. Sorry, no choice if you want to grow. You’re also going to need to put some dollars into it. So if you don’t have 15% of the expected new revenue ready to spend, your not ready. If you want to add $1,000,000.00 in sales in the next 3 to 12 months, you need $150,000.00 in funds. Sorry, that’s the truth. And of that 30% to 50% should be in lead generation.

The bottom line in a successful lead generation campaign is this: If you don’t have the money, it’s not going to work 95% of the time.

So if you do have the money or time where should you spend it for the best return on Investment? Well, that’s a whole new subject, which I will write about soon. But, here’s a big hint, you should start with Lead Generation.

You can generate leads with:

Social media campaigns managed by a professional firm with a great track record.

• Search Engine Optimization
• Email campaigns that drive qualified prospects to euth your site, or your online presentations
• Advertising on any media
• Trade shows
• Direct sales
• Co-op marketing
• Networking
• Referral programs

And a bunch of other tactics. All of which, falls under business development, because any of those tactics have to be implemented well, and will need to be integrated with other parts of your business to be successful.

That’s what I do with companies. What I call business development. And that starts with assessing budgets, strategies and tactics to be uses, and finding decent measurement metrics and tools.

It’s hard, it’s expensive, and it’s painful at times. It’s also the way 95% of businesses grow, and owners become wealthy.

Your choice is to recognize the challenges, and do nothing, or boldly go where few small businesses go, which is find the money and courage to grow.

You don’t need to learn to sell. You need to learn how to generate prospects.

You don’t need to learn to sell. You need to learn how to generate prospects.The truth is, in 99% of the sales challenges  I have been involved with, the problem isn’t in the person’s ability to “sell” its in the fact that they have no one to sell too.

Mike closing2First, selling isn’t different than any other skill set, it must be learned.  When we hear someone say someone was a “born” salesperson, it’s really not true. That’s like saying Peyton Manning was a born a quarterback, and discounts the years of very hard work and dedication he (or anyone very good at what they do) has put into their profession.

In my experience the absolute most important part of selling is having a plan of how you are going to generate prospects. Small business owners who state, I don’t know how, or I am bad at sales, are thinking about the actual process of presenting and closing a new customer in many cases, when what they are really talking about their ability to generate leads and prospects. The truth is, in 99% of the cases I have been involved with, the problem isn’t in the person’s ability to “sell” its in the fact that they have no one to sell too.

The simple and fairly quick process of having a plan, and working the plan will solve this.

So here are some simple steps for the business owner who doesn’t know how to generate prospects. It’s not original, and you will find this advice by reading any of the great sales or marketing guru’s.

1.) Identify who is most likely to buy your service.

2.) Build or buy a list of these businesses

3.) Develop a compelling reason for them to contact you, or speak with you.

4.) Write a letter (can be email). In the letter describe a problem you solved for some business like theirs. Drop names of happy clients. Offer something in the PS  (It’s worth paying a few hundred dollars to a professional direct mail copywriter) Mail the letters.

5.A) wait for them to call you

5B)  Call them and asked if they read your letter.  What did they think?

6.) Repeat with new letter.

7.) Repeat with new letter

(I will be writing or asking an expert to write a blog on each step mentioned above with instructions and details on each.) Subscribe to be notified. (I mean it, subscribe NOW)

You may be asking… that’s it?  Yup that’s it.

Your success will depend on:The value of your service to the target market. Make it (your service) as good as possible before you start all this. The quality of the list, and where you got it. If it’s opt in, great. If you buy it, you need to send a bunch of letters. The quality of the letter or email you send.  The offer you make them and your follow up.

In my experience you will have something like three times the success if you are brave enough to call the list. I’ve seen success rates as high as 50% on this program.  Overall we average a 14% response or generated prospect rate on these programs.  Think about that.

You send 1000 letters.  You get 140 prospects. You sell 35%. You have 49 new customers.  The cost?…. depends on how you implement it, but figure a $1.00 per letter with printing and stamps and maybe a copywriter.

As far as the actual “sales” process with these prospects, remember that the word sales means to persuade. If they called you, you’re 80% there.  Now relax and ask then the questions you have developed on your sales questionnaire. Oh… that’s on another blog here…

And then, ask them when they would like to start.

Congratulations, you are now better than at least 60% of the salespeople I have met who do no targeting, little or no qualifying and never close.

Don’t know how to sell?  Who cares, because now you know how to generate prospects.


 

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Marketing Plans. If you Don’t Have One You’re Acting Dumb.

Marketing Planning. Quick… grab your marketing plan.

Okay… for those of you who have nothing to grab, I am going to tell you something you may not want to hear. Your behavior is dumb.  You’re not dumb, but not having a marketing plan is.Mike closing2

I communicate with a bunch of small business owners every week.   You know the number one question that gets asked about, in one form or another, it’s about how do I sell my stuff.

Lot’s of businesses ask about and are interested in social media to develop new relationships and leads. Some are looking at email as a tactic. Lot’s like the SEO  or search engine marketing route. A few talk about direct mail.  Yet, when you ask-

 

  • Who is your target market

  • How do you reach them

  • And what message they have developed for that buyer

It gets quiet.  So very quiet.  And in that very silence, unlike the silence between notes in music  which is in fact what makes it beautiful,  this silence is horrible.  It  means  you are wasting away whatever vision you had for your business.

You can’t implement any advertising, promotion or sales campaign without understanding those three areas, and have any  success, unless your service/product is irresistible. Building a irresistible product is the best way to sell a lot, because, if its really irresistible, you don’t need much of a plan… the market will find you.

So.. ask yourself, Is my service/product irresistible?   No it’s not. Can it be? Maybe but unlikely if you want to make money.

So having recognized that 80% of small business owners don’t have a marketing plan, and the reason for that was generally they didn’t understand it’s value, or they didn’t know how to do it, or they didn’t have the money to get it done. we developed a very good program for

business owners that is sold through Bayes Square LLC  and some ActionCOACH franchises. We take the info you have on your current good customers… the type you want more of, and  we research up to 70 different possible commonalities in the group.

The Premise is easy enough, your next customers will look like your current customers.

( Play along at home if you Like)

List everything you can think of that businesses might  have in common. Start with at least 10 areas…  things like time in business, Industry type, locations, associations….

Now list your 10 or 20 best clients.  Now check mark the commonalities and the percentage as a total. If 75% of your good customers are part of a certain association,  and you are prospecting less than 75% of the time in areas besides that association, well, your behavior is dumb.

The Marketing Crystal Ball service looks at up to 70 different commonalities than does the research to understand why prospects buy from you, and how to reach them….

TA DA!

You have a targeted List

You know the message

You know how to reach them

Frankly, for less than 2K  you would be an idiot not to have one done.

Ask yourself…  if I had a targeted list, and a compelling message, and knew how to reach that list, how many additional customers would I sell this year?  Now how much more revenue would you have from the new customers?

Now it that amount is anywhere above 20K you need to make a decision. Am I an idiot, or not?Our last client sold 24K in new revenue in the first month after it was finished. You might too, but only if you call me, or DIY.  Either way,  a marketing plan is the first thing you must do every year.

One last thought. It’s important. I know 2K can be a lot of money for very small businesses. So…  We can do the mini version for you which will tell you your best prospects highest commonalities and a 30 minute call to give you thoughts on how to reach them for $549.00. This includes all the research we do for a standard client, except, we don’t call them or do an email survey. I will be glad to tell you how to execute that part of the marketing plan.

You just send us the info you have on 20 customers. We will do the rest. This is good through April.  Do it now. Click the button on the left to call me, or just call 303 500 3053 ext 1.



 

Top Lead and Sales Sources for Small Business

Top Lead and Sales Sources for Small Business First Quarter 2013.

We track where sales come from for various small businesses, and I think we have enough data to say what we see is fairly representative of many small businesses.

We also provide a service we call the “Sales Crystal Ball” that shows where a company’s new customers are, and why they will buy. To accomplish that one of the things we have to look at is where their new sales have come from (for their best customers) and the sales tree from that customer.

 For the first three months of 2013-  and now updated through JUne 2014

  • Number one source : Referrals and Relationships  61%. Relationships can include referrals from other businesses, or non customers.

  • Internet leads from their site. Not Social Media or PPC stuff. So a business who has high rankings and have employed a good SEO service do see new sales from the Internet.

  • Pay per Click advertising.  In some cases this is number one.  In some cases this is not on the list at all. Depends on your industry and service.

  • Print advertising:  Can be effective if placed correctly. Check current references for any Print advertiser.

So what’s interesting in this, as there is no surprise in the list, is…  what many of us do,  and this costs us in the sales area, is forgetting that the sales that were referred to you, have a history, and it’s important to understand where the first sale in that chain came from. Because the reality is, if it hadn’t happened, you would not have received the referral.

Do a sales tree to see what activity was really responsible for a referral, and then add that to your list of lead generation tactics.

Here’s a quick example:Referral sale came from > Another referral  ( very common) That sale came from a telemarketing appointment.

So, without the original sale, you never would have the most recent customer.  Do this for all your good customers, and you may see why your sales are flat.  We stop doing the “seed” activity, or fail to replace it. Relying primarily on referrals is a recipe for flat and inconsistent sales.

There isn’t any reason to go back to a lead generation source that overall was poor quality. So, if in the above example, telemarketing didn’t produce well, then you may need to replace it with a lead source that does.

Have at least 3 non referral based lead generation programs working at all times.  The Internet is a natural place for this.  SEO, Pay per click, and online advertising can generally keep new leads coming in.  You need to plant those seeds to continue to grow your referrals and relationships.

One of my personal examples is in the early days we did cold calls via the phone to very targeted prospects.  Worked fine, I really should do it again, except, I hate cold calling and telemarketing. So, to replace that lead flow we have built in a targeted networking program.  I am not talking about BNI or those type lead groups.  We are involved in pretty expensive private business networks that , when we are active, is great new lead sources. More about those later.

By Mike Bayes

Call me at 303-5003053 ext 1 with questions.

If you want to jump start your sales, look at our sales coaching or crstal ball programs! www.salesjumpstart.net


 

 

Business Is Relationships. Build Your Referrals.

Business is relationships…

Yet we don’t really focus on the current health and value of our relationships with business contacts. As small businesses we track and analyze piles of information, and ignore our greatest assets, relationships.

Here’s a system (or part of a system) we have used for several years that can drive your sales, and build your relationships.  I think its self explanatory.  Just list every business contact you can think of… even people you haven’t communicated with for years, in each category.  The spreadsheet gives you a blended score which in theory predicts which of your contacts has the most “referral” potential.

Relationship Charting Expanded

Then do something for each one.  Even if you can’t think of anything to offer, you can call or email them, and say, I was just thinking about you and wanted to see what you are doing these days.  You can offer to do an introduction to someone, or invite then to lunch. Have a great tip on sales or marketing, or something that is working for you that you can share?  Any thing that is of value.

Relationships, like anything else, need maintenance and nurturing. This simple spreadsheet can go a long way in helping you grow your most important marketing and sales resource… the relationships you have built.I would love it if you would try this for a week or two to see what results come from it.  I can tell you, it’s been my number one source of leads and sales for two years.

If you are an Internet Marketer you can use it to build great on-line contacts. In many ways, its much faster because you can use Social Media as the nice thing to do for someone. Post their blog on your G+, Facebook, Linked in… that’s a gift.  Even good blog comments are gifts.

Click here to view the Google Docs Sheet Relationship Chart

Let me know how this works! This is a part of our Sales Coaching Program.  Need help building your sales and revenue?  Contact me for a free consultation.

By Mike Bayes

303 500 3053 ext 1

mike@myonecall.com

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The Socratic System of Sales. The Customer Questionnaire.

The Socratic System of Sales. The Customer Questionnaire.

The Socratic System of Sales is a system that is based on using the questioning process to persuade a prospect to buy your service. In fact, it can be used to pre-qualify a prospect, and in doing so, save the salesperson time in establishing that the prospect is in fact qualified, and what is important in the buying process to that prospect.

Cropped image of a Socrates bust for use in ph...

I should ask you, why are you reading this? Is closing and qualifying more prospects important to you? If so, read on.

The main complaint I hear about salespeople is that they don’t care about a prospect’s needs or issues. They “show up and throw up” as they say. It’s all about their product and service. True sales professionals speak less than the prospect, and ask excellent questions.

I am going to blog about many uses of the Socratic form of sales, but to introduce it I want to encourage you and your sales department to have a standard prospect questionnaire that is a required part of any sales process or presentation.

It’s important for your salesperson to understand the following.

  1. What is the number one issue the prospect has that you need to fix?
  2. What buying criteria will they use to make a decision?
  3. Does the prospect understand your company’s value as it relates to their problem?
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    . (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

     

Here is a quick example of questions a business might ask every prospect, and the reason they ask it should be clear. Many of these may apply to your business.

  • How soon did you want this project completed?
  • How important is a detailed proposal showing all expenses and a bottom line price?
  • How important is it that the company you select have experience completing similar projects?
  • How important are recent references of people that had similar projects completed?
  • How important is it that you are able to speak directly to those references?
  • How important is the financial stability of the business you select?
  • How important is the insurance and licensing of the company you select?
  • How important is bottom line price in your decision?
  • How important are the billing arrangements the company offers?
  • What other areas will you look at to make your selection?

A salesperson should never address any of the answers until all the questions are asked.  If you take off on a tangent because they say a detailed proposal is very important, you may never get back to the other questions, in which you may have found out that the detailed proposal while being important, is not the hot button.  Take the time to walk through all the questions. It’s certainly okay to add a brief statement after a question, like, yes we find that true with many of our clients, and then move on.

You should build your questions around the strengths of your business. If you have only been in business 1 year, you don’t ask, how important is the number of years a company has been in business is. You ask. How important is it that the company you select has new ideas and is hungry for your business?

Oddly enough, many small businesses don’t use a questionnaire because they don’t want to hear the answers. They would rather have a “shot” at the business and ignore the reality their business doesn’t actually have a shot.

Once you finish the questions, you have a couple of choices to make.  You can address the main issues at this time (If this is a one call close) or you can briefly cover their main concerns, and then go into detail when you return with the actual proposal for work.

Your presentation or proposal needs to focus on the answers to the questions. If you have a canned presentation you send to every prospect, then you are losing out in sales conversions.

Start with these words…. Ms. Smith, let me tell you why our customers love our service.  Like you, they were looking for a business that had experience in servicing their industry. We have over 25 clients in similar industries, and have learned that it takes a very specific approach (go on about this unique and valuable approach).

Can you see the benefits of using a questionnaire with your prospects? Instead of selling them what you “think” they need or want, you can actually address what they feel they want and need.

Another value of a questionnaire is many businesses fight the “price” battle all the time.  A questionnaire will help you educate a prospect on your value. If used correctly, it will help you win business over the “cheap” competition, by having the prospect state and acknowledge that there are far more important issues than price.

Now if the prospect says the biggest issue is price, and you know you can not compete on that basis, then you have saved a lot of time by identifying this, and not moving into a proposal process.

There are so many examples of using the Socratic method of communication I will be blogging about later. It’s used in Marketing, Sales, H.R., P.R., as well as Education and may other fields   – because it works.

Sit down and write out the questions you should ask every prospect and then start using them! I am positive you will see a much better sales conversion rate, and have a better relationship with new clients or customers.

By Mike Bayes

If we can help you accelerate your sales contact us at www.salesjumpstart.net 

Who was Socrates? http://www.columbia.edu/itc/lithum/wong/Socrates.html

 

 

 

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