OK, the title is a bit of a fib. Unless your sales are pretty lackluster now, I probably can’t tell you how to double your sales in two weeks, and neither can anyone else. But I got your attention, didn’t I? What I CAN tell you is a great way to maximize your sales ability and time in 2023, and that’s the topic of this article.
I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again. Your biggest asset as a salesperson is TIME. More specifically, it is the time you spend, face to face (or voice to voice, in the case of inside phone-based salespeople) with a decision making contact at a customer or prospect. And when it comes to sales activity, the basic equation is this: (Quantity of activity) x (Quality of activity) = RESULTS. So let’s talk about the best way to maximize the quality of your face-time.
It’s not hard. To maximize your effectiveness, you must have an objective for each and every sales call. Period. Every sales interaction with a customer or prospect should have a real reason for being. The biggest reason that salespeople underachieve is the agenda-free sales call. I used to hear these called “stop-ins,” or “P.R. calls.” If you’re making sales calls “just to see how things are going,” you’re wasting your time and that of your contacts. If you focus and think about it, it is possible to have a reason to make every sales call, and make yourself and your relationships a bit better each time. Here are some excellent objectives:
- Gain information. This is a simple objective, and it’s one that can (and probably should) be employed on each and every sales call, no matter how long you have been calling on someone. You never know everything about a customer – and sometimes what you do know can become obsolete. If you go into each sales call with at least 2-3 good questions to ask, you’re always going to come away with something you didn’t know – and that both advances a relationship and can move you toward a new sale.
- Give information. Sometimes, the information you give will be a result of the information you gained above – for instance, you’ve identified a previously unknown need and you can help solve it. Other times, there’s a new development. Maybe your company is rolling out a new product or service, or maybe there’s a product or service that you’ve not shown them before. Regardless, this is a great way to give your customer value for the time spent with you.
- Internal referrals. Are there other people in the organization whose work is affected by the products or services you sell? Who are they? “High, wide, and deep” isn’t just a catch phrase. It’s how you should be living. Your objective in B2B selling should be to have relationships as HIGH on the corporate ladder as possible, to get as WIDE within the company as possible by having as many people know about you and what you do as you can, and as DEEP as possible by making sure that not only do people recognize your face but that they have an understanding of the value you bring and create. On the average, people change jobs every 3-5 years, and if you only have one contact at an organization, you’re back to cold calling if they leave. Make sure that you are always working to get high, wide, and deep in the organization by occasionally asking your contact (in a non-threatening way) to connect you with others in the organization.
- External referrals. We all know what these are, right? Your contacts likely know other people in similar positions at other companies; if you’ve done a good job for your contact, they should be willing to introduce you to their counterparts (as long as it doesn’t create a competitive situation).
- Testimonials. If you’ve really helped your customer, they may be willing to say, for the record, how you have helped them and how you might be able to help others. With today’s technology, getting a testimonial on video is easier than it’s ever been. Don’t be afraid to ask.
- Moving a sales process forward. Ideally, you should always have your customers in some sort of a sales process, whether it’s a new prospect or an existing customer that you are trying to upsell or cross-sell. In this case, the key is to keep conscious of where you are in the process, where you want to go next, and how to get there. One caution – just as bad as the “see how things are going” trap is the “see if they have any questions” trap. Both are lame and do nothing to move a sales process. Instead of that, have specific questions ready about time frame, purchasing processes, etc., so that you don’t fall flat.
If you have a reason for every sales call you make, you might not double your sales in two weeks, but you definitely WILL sell more, be more successful, and have better customer relationships. Make that your New Year’s Commitment (resolutions are usually broken within weeks) for 2023.