Every business needs an influx of new customers on a regular basis to offset customers lost by a number of things: attrition, moving away, death, and (oh no!) disappointment with their relationship (aka poor customer attention). Acquiring new customers is also a very nice way to build revenues and grow a business, which is why so many businesses spend a great deal of money each year on marketing and advertising campaigns!
Still others hire salespeople to focus expressly on acquiring those new customers. But a lot of businesses don’t have salespeople on their staff and, those that do don’t always know how to go about training them. Salespeople, in my opinion, are essential.
Here, in a few words, are some tips for you and your salespeople to follow:
#1 – Read sales books, listen to sales tapes, attend sales seminars. Jeffrey Gitomer, author of The Sales Bible, The Little Red Book of Selling, and The Little Red Book of Sales Answers (among other books) is a terrific motivational resource AND he’s right on the money when it comes to perspective, relationships, and the entire process of selling. (www.gitomer.com) I’ve been in sales for over 30 years and I’m still learning.
#2 – Be sure to utilize multiple prospecting sources (like at least half a dozen), including, for example: networking groups; direct mail letters with follow up phone calls; cold-calling; contacting current and former clients, neighbors, business associates, fellow members of civic and business organizations. Salespeople who rely on only one prospecting method (even if it’s within their comfort zone and they are successful with it) seldom have as much success as salespeople who put themselves in front of a variety of people and solicit customers from a variety of sources on a regular basis.
#3 – Spend at least 50-70% of your time on prospecting activities. Because people would rather buy than be sold to, and they generally only buy from someone they trust, your salespeople need to constantly position themselves so they’re visible, likable, and able to inspire trust and confidence. It isn’t who your salespeople know, it’s who knows them. The most successful salespeople are those who spend the most amount of time out in the field, talking to customers and prospective customers, offering assistance, and letting the world know what nice guys and gals they are.
If you retain your current customers and provide them with what they want—especially the type of relationship they want—they’ll help you tremendously in your efforts to acquire new customers. Don’t hesitate to solicit testimonials from them, using their genuine appreciation to convince potential customers that they should be doing business with you instead of your competitor. You should also solicit referrals from your customers. This is such an easy thing to do and, if you phrase your request in such a way that it fits your personality, it will not be viewed as aggressive or as begging.
Think of it this way: if your customers are really happy with you and the service you provide, don’t they want their friends, family, and co-workers to be just as happy.
Don’t hesitate to shoot me an e-mail with any questions you might have in the area of building your business through sales. It’s something I’ve been doing forever and ... I do a lot of sales trainings.