Finding the right prospects for your business and then nurturing them into leads are the building blocks of a sales cycle. First of all, we need to understand.
What is a prospect?
Prospect is someone who has an interest in your business and your products. Prospect is someone who has a need, interest in what you have to offer.
We need to first understand who are our target audience before even start prospecting. What is that our solutions provide that add values to the prospect. We should be very convinced of our solutions or products that will benefit the prospect.
There are various ways of finding the right prospects for your business.
Referrals from your existing customer: Salespeople use this tactic to get the maximum sale. Existing customers will most likely refer you to others who are also in need of your product or services.
Social Media Platforms: Social media platforms like LinkedIn, Twitter offer a great way to connect and network with your prospect. It is also a great platform to start creating and nurturing relationships through engaging in conversations, sharing relevant content, and generally getting to know the people who are keen followers of your brand.
Networking Events and trade Shows: When participating in trade shows & networking events, Mingle! Engage with people face-to-face, tell them about yourself, your business, and your product and ask about them. Exchange contact details, add them to your database, and keep in touch.
Cold Calling & Email: This is one of the old school and the most effective way to find new prospects for your business. Be consistent on these two approaches, you may get a lot of rejection with these methods however I can promise that it will give you the best result if you are consistent.
Prospecting is the art of opening new relationships.
It’s not necessary that every prospect we met was ready to buy. Most of the sales cycle takes a longer time than we would like. This requires salespeople to have patience, be persistent, however most importantly to stay in the mind of potential buyers. If you are wondering how to stay in touch with your prospect without harassing them, here is what I recommend.
Ways to keep in touch without harassing your prospect:
Clients are like plants, you have to keep watering if you want them to grow. This means you need to have a good relationship based on strong communications. Getting a bit personal with your client is no harm, you can throw in a little ‘intelligence’ about each client, i.e. listing what they like and something about their personal life.
Send them regular newsletters, informing about your work, press releases, a blog post which they may find interesting, latest updates on the industry there are into. It’s also a great way to keep communication.
Make use of Social Media such as LinkedIn, Twitter to stay connected with your prospect. Once you have made the initial connection with your prospect, search them whether they are active on these Social Media channels. Invite or follow them to connect with you and you will a fair idea on what kind of articles, blogs & content they consume which is also useful to build strong communications.
Nothing beats having voice communication with your prospect, make it a practice to call your prospect on their special occasions like to wish them or on Christmas & New Years Holidays.
Believe your instincts or gut feeling, for example, If you haven’t spoken to a client for some time and you get that gut feeling they might be thinking about you, pick up the phone and call them.
The one common topic that most of the successful salespeople talk about is how much they owe their achievement to their mentors. Whether it’s a closing technique, following up with a potential prospect, or that little push they attribute their accomplishment, to having a guru to guide them.
Not every successful salesperson is a perfect guru for you, though. You need to find someone whom you admire who is successful, a good listener, and positive. Below are some of the tips to help you find the right Sales Guru:
What is that you want in a guru: Find someone who will guide you, help you overcome a particularly difficult challenge you are facing. Think about what is that you are hoping to gain from the relationship with your guru. What personal or business challenges are you hoping to overcome? Maybe you see yourself following a similar career path as your Sales Guru and want to know how s/he got there.
Look for someone who is successful & a good listener: Look for a guru who listens to understand and not to give a reply. S/he should understand you and offer a sounding board for the sales & career issues you are facing. Look for a guru with proven sales success, experience overcoming challenges, and achieving goals that are similar to your own.
A Sales Guru can catapult your success and once you start looking, you’ll notice potential candidates all around you. Set an appointment to talk over coffee. You might be surprised at how open they are to help, and just how much you’ll gain from the experience!
If you land in a new town in some state you are not familiar with without GPS and a map, it’s highly unlikely that you would be able to find your way to destination. Why? Because you would not have a plan a map or direction.
The achievement of our goals is like setting the destination on your GPS system. The GPS system needs only two coordinates to give direction to your goals.
Where are you.
Where are you going.
Below are some of the steps which you can follow to activate your GPS system:
Pin your destination in your GPS system: What does that mean? Let’s say for an example you need to loose weight, look fit & fine. The first step is picture yourself in the position which you want to see and then identify why you want to achieve it. Is it because you want to live a healthy live? Is it because you want to enhance your self esteem? The most power technique to achieve your goal is to identify the reason behind achieving it to begin with.
Be fully committed to your Goals: Always be honest to yourself, are you willing to sacrifice other things in order to achieve your goals? Are you willing to work on your goals no matter any situation come across you? So be fully committed to your goals because that’s necessary in order to achieve them.
Clearly articulate your Goals: Take time to clearly articulate your goals and exactly what is you want to achieve. Be as specific as possible when you are writing down your goals. Don’t write down a goal “to be successful” — no one knows what that means including yourself. Instead write down, “I want to be making hundred thousand dollars a year within 12 months from now.”
I still remember the day when I got my first job right after my college with an eCommerce start-up company. I was young and stupid, fresh out of college with lot of energy & enthusiasm, ready to perform any task which was assigned to me. I didn’t care about my career and what I want to accomplish in my life or I haven’t given much of a thought to it. I was least bothered how the company is performing in the market and how I can leverage my growth along with the growth of the organization.
I did work in the company for one a half years and joined a mid-size IT organization as a Sales Executive where it shaped me to be among the best in what I do. This is all because of my ex-Boss who was very hard on me and at the same time brings out the best in me.
Why a good Boss is an amazingly big deal?
A good boss is not someone who knows their business and delegate as easily as breathing. They are a Leader, a Mentor who will show you your flaws and your strength. They will take the risk for you and put their own reputation at stake.
A good boss will encourage you and at the same time they will be very hard on you as well, give you the resources to turn your confidence into legitimate desirable product.
They will always be a lifelong student and encourage you to keep learning. My ex-Boss would always tell me that if you look at the profession of a Doctor or a Lawyer you will always find them with a book or spending most of the time in research & development so in the same way, why can’t we keep upgrading ourselves as well.
A good boss will help you advance in your career growth, will protect and support you.
A study done and published on Forbes showed that more than 2 million people are quitting their jobs every month around the world. It showed that 74 percent of those who quit considering finding a new job with a ‘good boss’ while 32 percent are actively looking for another opportunity with a boss that would let them grow.
You probably hear the word “Brand” several times. It’s the most common subject you will hear from Marketers, Entrepreneur, Business Person and for good reason. We already know building a well recognized Business Brand adds tremendous value and can create a significant competitive advantage.
Why is it Important to build your Personal Brand?
Personal Brand refers to the process of establishing your public persona for your target audience. Creating a personal brand is a vivid indication of the best you have to offer – the performance, contributions, and value your next employer can expect from you.
A Personal Brand can be much more than just self promoting. It can be a exercise in establishing confidence, credibility and courage as well as help you define priorities and focus on those aspects of your life you enjoy most.
Building your own Personal Brand, regardless of your profession, can add tremendous value to your life. It is also important to understand everyone has a personal brand whether you have one or not. It is defined by everything you do, from what you wear to how you compose emails to how you conduct yourself on the phone.
How do you build your Personal Brand? Firstly, you will have to have a deep understanding about yourself. You need to be authentic and honest, as you will ultimately need to live up to it.
Begin with answering a simple progression of questions, both personally and professionally.
What are your core values?
What are your interest and passions?
What motivates you?
What makes you happy?
Once you have identified the answers for these questions, it is time to write a personal vision statement. This statement should be bold and true to you. Remember that it will most likely only ever be seen by you and will evolve over time, so don’t worry too much about what it looks or sounds like.
After 8+ years of relevant experience in Sales & Marketing, I am still trying to figure out does the real purpose of passion is to become a subject matter expertise in your profession or do something that really drives you crazy or really happy of doing something.
If we talk about any professional in an organisation or any field, there are four types of people you will likely come across or you may be one of them, one because of family, two they have a degree of their profession, three because they feel the call, four only for the money.
Your passion is develop according to the environment you have been brought up and also depends with the type of people you hang around, start a habit to learn more about your profession and your learning habit will generate curiosity to shape things better.
You can find your passion at any point of time in your life, all of us are not born skilled with our profession and skills can be learned.
When you find yourself doing something makes you really happy and drives you crazy, develop a learning habit about what you are doing and it will never fade away. Passion do fade away and you also loose interest in what you are doing, if you don’t upgrade yourself or keep learning and implementing in what you are doing.
To understand customer buying behaviors it is important to comprehend how an individual makes a purchase and the dynamics that surround & influences to take the decision. It is not only important for businesses to make a sale of their product/services, it will also enable how to align their sales & marketing strategies to target the right audience and create more-enticing products and service offers.
If we go back few years down the lane, in India a face cream was advertise or marketed to make the people’s skin fair and having a brown/dusky skin was a taboo. Today’s generation has realized that you must be comfortable in your skin and it doesn’t really matter whether you are fair, brown/dusky or black. Businesses should adapt these changes in the customer buying behavior patterns and strategies while promoting products & service offers.
If we look at clothing, we have always seen that a brand promoting their products by a well-known celebrity or an artist eating at an expensive restaurant, traveling to an exotic location, driving an expensive car or attending a lavish wedding venue. As a brand owner it also needs to be realized that people also like to know how do they look wearing a brand clothing while taking a public transport in a bus or train. Businesses should understand these types of customer buying behaviors as well and India has a majority population of middle class.
You will only be able to reach your destination more accurately & timely if you have a GPS or a map handy. Likewise be it any profession, without a clear goal you won’t have a visibility of what you want to achieve and where you have to reach.
Goal setting and knowing how to set goals is important in accomplishing great things in your life. When you have a goal and a plan on how to achieve it, you can break larger intimidating aspirations into smaller, more achievable stepping stones.
Set Smarter Sales Goals to achieve your Target:
Always review your sales target every morning once you start your day. Analyze what is that you have achieved and how more you have to do to achieved your target.
Never leave your weekend without setting goals & actions for next week. Review the week gone by, how was your progress for the week and what extra you can add for the coming week.
Have a plan to succeed, how to break down your goals into yearly, monthly, weekly, daily.
Once in a month, review your progress toward your quarter & annual goals. Commit to yourself that you will do whatever it takes to achieve your target.
Be consistent in whatever you do to achieve your targets. Whether you do your job task in one day or small amount each day doesn’t matter. What matter is you are consistent.
If you have a plan to achieve your targets, and act on that plan everyday you will achieve your goals & targets. Without a clear goal you will loose enthusiasm and momentum and this will have maximum impact on your performance.
Setting goals will let you to have a clear objective to strive towards your Sales Targets. Setting goals that are challenging will motivate you to strive for greatness, and in turn, drive long term success for your business.
My first job out of college was in Sales and Customer Relations of a start up eCommerce company. Mostly I used to handle customer queries & complaints and to deal with lot of grievances from the customer end. I hated it at the beginning, but my boss explained a commission breakdown that while handling customer relations if I could up sell a alternate product as well, and I agreed to give it a whirl.
I became a pro at selling extras, I started to see my paychecks grow. Soon, I was making more than I had when I was relying on the arbitrary gratuities. However it was not a smooth and easy ride, it takes blood sweat & tears to reach a level of seeing your paychecks grow.
What it really means to work in sales?
You will deal with lot of rejections, handling objections to staying consistent. As per Keenan the hardest part of sales is where you need to be focused because that’s where you’re not yet good enough.
There will always be an awkward moment in Sales, if you come prepared there will be less awkward moment.
You should never stop learning as I mentioned earlier blogs as well, keep updating whether it’s choosing the right mentor, researching your clients, or reading books and blogs, stay on top of your game.
To become a successful Sales Leader, you have to motivate and support the people who work for you. You need to take time and understand them. Great leaders put their team first.
Working in Sales is not boring at all, anytime you’re working people you can expect crazy things to happen. But having a little craziness in your life is not bad at all.
Lastly but not the least, 3 P’s that I follow with my work i.e Passion, Persistence & Patience. It helps me to stay on top of the game.