Charging Up Your 3 Key Sales Channels
Isn’t the dream of every seller to answer the phone and take the order? Or peruse the inbox and confirm all the credit card payments streaming passively from your web site or brilliantly composed social media strategy? What’s not to like about passive sales? We all want them and it’s probably fair to say most businesses need them as part of the mix for really hitting it big. Unfortunately, those sales channels can be more like lottery tickets but with more investment. Ignored too often are the three key active channels for selling that are almost always profitable with the right strategy, a little technique and a lot of planning.
Since the axiom of preferring to do business with people we know, like and trust is far harder to achieve virtually most businesses, and all sales people, would do well to target the three key selling channels in common to everyone and ripe with opportunity even in the leanest years. They are, targeted prospecting, referral process, and networking. All three live in the sales ecosystem but too often they become passive or taken for granted while we are aggressively waiting for the phone to ring. Here’s some ways to take charge of each:
1) TARGETED PROSPECTING
If you know your business then you should know what your best customer looks like. Sure, that’s likely a mix but having a strategy to manage the effort/reward ratio based on the longer term profitability of a client means identifying what that prospect looks like and following a strategy to land them. Once you know who you are looking for there are practically unlimited ways you can try to make the connection but you need to keep that list small, based on what’s been proven to you already. Follow success with more of the same. “Niche-ing” is an efficient way of targeting. If you know you do well with doctors or lawyers or Indian chiefs then go wide in the category. If your success is more statistically or demographically based than run across that game with all who play in that space.
Getting to know and like you is, of course, a specific challenge but by playing within a niche space you can hyper-charge your trust factor since you’ll have proof that like-minded players can appreciate. Everyone thinks their industry is unique and despite the fact that few are, it serves you well to be seen as a knowledgeable resource serving a limited community rather than picking anyone who can say, pay their bills!
2) REFERRAL PROCESS
If you’re involved in sales then you have clients, or you won’t be involved with selling much longer. To that end we know that existing clients all have two great potentials for us, more work and knowing someone else who could use what we’ve got. There are three basic strategies to apply to existing customers. First is the check in. That is to say simply make contact with your clients with nothing to sell other than your concern for how things are going for them, asking if there’s more you can do, etc. For that you get liked for your caring and when the question gets flipped to how you are doing simply making your client/friend aware of your challenge often brings voluntary help, and you need to follow it up.
Second option is the “what we’re doing” tour where you make a point to see your clients and their key people and update them on the new things you are doing or planning combining that with fact finding on what the client’s challenges are and a brainstorm approach to solutions, cost savings, productivity, etc. Do this without “selling” them what you are doing and it will become clear enough if there is more to work together on but will also plant the seeds for who else they know, this is often better done at the end of the meeting between the top principles, exchanging aid as peers with common challenges.
Third is the “success tour” for when you do something successfully and you one-on-one with the right person “cash in” on the success you’ve done with a client by asking them a favor. Happy people who have been helped with their success are far more disposed to set you up with a helpful introduction. The bigger the success the more you can go for an in person intro, compared to a phone intro, compared to a digital intro. Treat your client to a meal or drink while inviting the other prospect (maybe even adding a prospect for the client you know) and make your own happy family where people become enamored with their power to help.
Now that cold calling is practically criminal and email is more disposable than cigarette butts the old-fashioned but tried and still true method of meeting people is far under-utilized. That can be because the venues aren’t right so besides all the well known networking opportunities consider these options:
Make your own group. It doesn’t need to be dozens of people, a mastermind group of six people getting together for dinner has power. Either on your own or with a business partner consider being the subject matter expert that brings people together for 90 minutes on a subject of interest. Paying for a room and some muffins can be a great investment if you can talk to more people at a time. Finally, working trade shows or industry gatherings with purpose and goals and a follow-up plan means, again, putting yourself in a place where there can be many prospects, or referral sources, to exploit if you’ve got the plan and the follow up.
As we all search of the next great thing it often pays to make sure you’ve got your fundamentals down. That means having these three strategies in your playbook and on your calendar and taking them seriously in the hunt, the nurturing and the serving.
(c) 2018 MyEureka Solutions LLC. Follow Tom on Twitter @TomFoxTrainer or on linkedin.com/in/tom-fox-a28b703