How do I do better in sales next year? The standard answer to this question has been “cold-call, cold-call, cold-call. Pick up the phone and talk to someone.” Today it’s not that simple. With voicemails taking the place of live calls and no gatekeeper to get around at the front desk, salespeople need to have a number of “pillars of business” in order to succeed.
So, here are my new rules to succeed in 2018:
- Stop casting a wide net. Instead of calling more people every day, try connecting with one real decision maker every day. Rather than “dialing for dollars” and calling between 50 to 100 people a day, try researching your potential candidates. Find out what is going on in their business, if they are growing or shrinking, and who is the real decision maker there. Find out information through networking, public knowledge found online, or send a direct email to inquire more.
- Create a compelling reason for the that decision maker to want to deal with you. What is going to create a reason for he or she to take time out of their day to return your call? What is your call-to-action?
- Customize outreach. Make your emails personal and resist sending mass blasts. Tailor your message to the decision maker with something that is unique to their particular needs.
- Be Inquisitive. Instead of telling your clients what you’re going to do for them, ask a lot of questions instead. Try to keep the conversation going as long as you can because the more you find out, the more helpful you can be. Also, the client will recognize your questions as taking care and showing interest in their needs.
- Don’t give up. The old rule of thumb still exists that you need seven attempts to get one real lead. Vary your approach so that the client will see you trying to connect with them in different ways. This shows not only persistency, but also that you are strategic. This will win points in the mind of your potential client.
- Become an expert. Avoid making mistakes by investigating thoroughly before making a connection with a potential client. The last thing you want to do is to misspeak– it may end up costing you your credibility in the long-run.
- Connect with the lead directly. Networking is great, but can oftentimes be overrated. Yes, you may know someone who knows someone, who can connect you– but will they really vouch for you and your services? The only person who can do this for sure is you.
- Schedule everything. Calendar your cold-calling activities, strategy planning, even your personal activities every day. If you put it in your calendar, you’re more likely to actually do that activity – partly because you’re less likely to have to make an active decision whether or not you should do it. Remember that cold-calling is not just part of your business; it’s your only business. Without a new business pipeline, you are through in sales no matter what you have closed in the past.
- Find a good CRM platform and dedicate yourself to using it. Without a proper CRM system to manage your contacts, there is no way of running an effective campaign to secure new business.
- Respect – Show it, give it, and earn it.
Follow these steps, and you’ll look back knowing you started 2018 in the best possible way.