Part 3: “Can’t You Hear Me Knocking?“
In Part 2 of this series, we discussed the fact that successful sales executives possess a healthy and professional view of sales and recognize that it really is all about solving problems in order to help people and their businesses grow. Part 3 of this series addresses the fact that there is a lot more to selling and revenue generation than just knocking on doors.
“Yeah, you got satin shoes. Yeah, you got plastic boots … Can’t you hear me knockin’ on your window? Can’t you hear me knocking’ on your door?”- Sticky Fingers, 1971.
“It’s all a numbers game.” How many of us have heard this over the years when it comes to sales? The fact of the matter is that it IS a numbers game. Basic math will tell you that the more people you call on, the more will buy. True statement? Not exactly. Having the right volume of activity is critical; however, making sure that your Activity leads to Productivity is the real issue.
How does a salesperson become more productive? The answer is that it all starts with a well-defined sales action plan. A good plan should incorporate the following components:
- Profile of your best targets with corresponding customer personas. Salespeople need specifically defined and visual images of their “best” targets. We need this information in order to tell a story effectively to the purchasers of our products or services. Potential customers must be able to see themselves in this story.
- Competitive analysis. As sales professionals, we need to have an in-depth understanding of our competitors in the industry. Who are they? What makes them different? What makes them better? What makes them worse? The saying, “Keep your friends close, but your enemies closer,” comes to mind.
- Sales Strategy. In today’s world, you can’t just go out and “wing it.” You need a rock solid strategic roadmap. First off, you must connect with the decision makers and influencers within your prospective customer’s business – i.e., you need to know who is authorized to purchase your widget. Be prepared to discuss the pain points your customer may be experiencing and how your product or service can eliminate this issue. In the digital age we live in today, lead generation, in terms of inbound and outbound marketing is needed, as well as SEO and SEM support. And finally, does everyone in your sales organization tell the same story? Is your sales messaging consistent? If not, it needs to be.
- Sales Metrics. Every business is different and unique. Because of this, it is essential to have a customized sales process in place with measurable metrics. Salespeople don’t necessarily like the fact that we need to be held accountable to these metrics. In addition, milestones must be clearly defined, activity levels must be monitored and there must be a clear understanding of the sales cycle.
Lastly, make sure that you believe in the products or services you are selling. This point is critical and the most important item to consider. It’s hard to sell a product that you don’t believe in. Ask yourself this question – Would I purchase this product or service if the need existed? If the answer is “no,” this company might not be the right fit for you! Find a product or solution you are passionate about and you will be amazed at how successful you will be at selling it!
In our next blog, called “Start Me Up,” we’ll discuss this mega hit from 1981, and how it relates to your approach with potential clients. Stay tuned for Part 4 …