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How to gain prospect appointments

Preparation Get your ‘story’ straight:- Construct an introduction which conveys positive messages. Build a ‘hook’ into your introduction. Look for common links e.g:- We have provided a quality service to the company in the past. Other parts of the Group have provided a quality service to the company in the past. We have had meaningful dialogue with his organisation in the past. We know (or know of) people he knows. A name he will have heard of refers us, or will make an introduction. We can demonstrate a knowledge of his business which we can relate back to our services. Make the future the key issue. NB: The more important the ‘phone call’, the more preparation you should do. Hurdles Secretary/a n other departmental obstacle Empathy and assertion – not aggression. Be prepared for the “obvious” objections. “Write in” “He’s too busy” “What do you want to talk to him about?” Very few ‘rights’ or ‘wrongs’, just sensible tactics:- “Would waste his time or fill his in-tray. 60 seconds on the ‘phone would establish if there’s scope to move things forward ……” “Of course …. A very short conversation is all I’m looking for …. when should I ring to catch him?” Refer back to introducer or Refuse/decline to discuss it or Blind him/her with science or Give very scant detail and then back to ‘b’ above.   NB: Give away only what you have to, and then grudgingly:-        – Your name only.        – Company name only if asked.   Objections from the person you want the appointment with Have your ‘story’ ready before you pick the...

How to network effectively

In addition to the definition of a ‘technical’ network, the definition in the Oxford English dictionary is: To interact or engage in informal communication with others for mutual assistance or support. Networking is the art of making and utilising contacts by sharing information between them. The goal of networking should be to create a pool of people and information that can help you to efficiently ‘spread the word’ of your product or service – not necessarily to sell to those network contacts. 1. Give and get information Networking is a two-way street. When you meet people, remember that you have twice as many ears as you do mouths – and use them in this proportion. Start with the basics – name, company, affiliation, position, nature of business, etc. If appropriate, and probably over time, find out where and how you might benefit each other. Try covering these topics: What does your company do? What types of clients do you serve? How do you gain access to them? What effect do your products/services have on your customers? Why do people buy from you versus your competition? Who makes the buying decision within an organisation for each of your services and/or products? What, for you is ‘business utopia’? How much business would be too much? What kinds of challenges have stopped you growing more than you already have? Who is your largest and/or best client and why? Who is your most challenging client and why? Evaluate the value of the contact You can’t network thoroughly with everyone. Once you’ve swapped preliminary information, you need to decide if this person is worth...

How to get prospects to say ‘no’!

Question: What’s the biggest cost of any selling operation? Answer: The business you don’t win! From this truism we quite rightly conclude that we should do everything possible to optimise conversion ratios. Equally true is the fact that wasted time on ‘no hope’ opportunities that have no realistic chance of converting is very expensive both in terms of direct costs, and opportunity costs. We really should be getting on with other things rather than loitering in our quote bank. The logical conclusion from this is that we should work just as hard to get prospects to say ‘no’ as we do to get them to say ‘yes’. So why do salespeople find this so difficult? Why do prospects find it equally tricky and what can we do about it? Reasons why we should encourage prospects to say ‘no’ Away from the comfort of existing opportunities are other, even better opportunities. We just haven’t found them yet! By qualifying out low probability deals we give ourselves the time and impetus to develop the quality of our pipeline By encouraging a ‘no’ we can find out why! This provides an excellent platform for sharpening our proposition, for honing the sales process and for improving our ability to manage the decision making process. It also will keep the door nicely open. In the days of asking young ladies for a dance (do they still do that these days?), the volume of rejections — for some of us, was very hard to stomach. A good looking friend of mine had the perfect antidote to this. When asked to dance by a lady, as...

8 powerful prospecting tools

If you do a lot of things to build business, you’ll build business. They don’t have to be done perfectly to work, although the better you do them, the better they’ll work. But the main point is that you have to do them — a lot. –Joe Girard Sales is a contact sport and prospecting for new business is the name of the game! You will never meet a salesperson who failed because they had too many prospects to talk to. For the majority of salespeople, finding new customers is without a doubt the most difficult and stressful aspect of their profession. Prospecting should be viewed more as a mindset than merely an activity. It is something you need to be constantly aware of because you never know where your next prospect will come from. It really doesn’t matter how competent you are or how well you know your product, if you don’t have a qualified prospect in front of you, you don’t have the opportunity to make a sale. In this byte we aim to give you 8 practical tools for use when prospecting for new business. The basics Prospecting for new business is similar to committing to a regular exercise programme. You know it is good for you and that it will produce positive results if you do it routinely – but it’s painful! Professional salespeople prospect daily. It is important to block-off specific time in your diary for prospecting activities such as making telephone calls, sending literature and e-mailing. Treat your prospecting time with the same (if not more) respect as you would any other important...

The essence of key account management

The essence of key account management Adam has star quality. He was promoted to sales manager from the salesforce of one of our clients seven years’ ago. I am rather proud that our input has contributed to the progress he has made. Recently, two promotions later, he left, and he is now Sales & Marketing Director with another large company. He told me that his fellow directors think that they “should move into account management … even though they don’t really know what it is …” So what exactly is it? What’s involved? I think we should be told… Firstly, consider that the Account Manager fulfils these primary roles: His employer, not surprisingly, sees the role as one of protecting and growing the business. His customer sees the role as largely one of caring for the customer’s business and the chief ‘go to’ point in the relationship between both parties. The Account Manager thus fulfils both of these roles and bridges the gap. This is a hard line for most of us to walk. How many times have we seen the Account Manager who spends much of his time bitching internally and forgetting where his salary comes from? As I said … it’s a hard line to walk … In this high leverage, ’80/20′ sales area, where concentration of effort is paramount, we are usually playing for the highest of stakes. It is clear to me therefore that a rare blend of attributes is called for at the higher end of ‘bigger ticket’ account management: Intelligence Business awareness Patience, tenacity and courage Strong, multi-level, interpersonal confidence Well organised Deft...

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