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Guide to b2 b sales prospecting
 

Guide to b2 b sales prospecting

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A how to guide for the B"B sales professionalprospecting2

A how to guide for the B"B sales professionalprospecting2

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    Guide to b2 b sales prospecting Guide to b2 b sales prospecting Document Transcript

    • www.evolve.ieSelling in a Tough Economy A Guide to Winning New Business in the Business to Business Sector
    • Written & Developed ByDavid Malone & Conor MorrisOf Evolve Consultants Limited © Evolve Consultants 2010 2
    • IntroductionWhat do you sell?Identifying new customers, driving demand, and building a solid sales pipeline is atthe core of successful sales prospecting for anybody who sells business tobusiness for a living. The Irish marketplace is growing more competitive by theday which means that the business customer has more choice than ever before.E-commerce is reducing the propensity of people having to pick up telephonedirectories to explore purchasing options. On top of this the current recession hastaught customers to shop around for the best deals. The age of the loyal customeris over. Sellers now have to work as hard for repeat purchases as they do for newbusiness.The way of doing business during the Celtic Tiger years is over. Therefore, thesuccessful sellers in this “new economy” will be the ones that adapt their skills setto the market conditions out there.The purpose of this guide is to challenge the way you think about building a salespipeline and provide you with practical advice, tips and techniques to help you winthat new business opportunity for your organization.Evolve Consultants © Evolve Consultants 2010 3
    • Contents 1. The Business of Selling 5 2. Prospecting Principles 20 o Networking Skills 21 o Networking on the Internet 29 o Working with Complimentary Solution Providers 31 o Asking for Referrals 32 3. Making Appointments By Phone 35 4. Using Email as part of the Sales Process 50 5. Preparation for Sales Meetings 56 6. Meetings with Sales Prospects 63 7. Tips for Sales Proposals 70 © Evolve Consultants 2010 4
    • Chapter 1The Business of Selling“Everybody lives by selling something” - Robert Louis StephensonAs stated in our introduction, driving demand for your products and services andbuilding a solid, predictable, and extensive sales pipeline is at the very core of everysuccessful B2B sale not just in a tough economy but at any time.So before we start to look at specific approaches for prospecting, we need toestablish some recognised guidelines / definitions for prospecting and selling.Selling Defined?Selling is the process of analysing a potential buyers need for the solutions providedby one of your products and recommending the option which goes closest to / bestsatisfies that need and by persuading the buyer that the price is fair, the source ofsupply is satisfactory and that the time to buy is nowWhat is a Sales Target?A target is a business person or entity that fits your ideal ‘target’ profile but as of yetyou have not yet managed to speak with them yet.TargetingRegardless of the method of prospecting you intend to use to contact potentialprospects, and depending on your role within your sales team and your area ofresponsibility, you have an informed mental picture of what ‘an ideal Target’ mightlook like. This ‘ideal Target’ will normally be determined by things like yourgeographical sales territory, the type of industry that exists in your locality, the typeand size of customer who you have ‘signed up’ in the past, and specific businesseswith the right type of profile and profitability for your company. Based on this youshould then create a target listing of companies / people you intend targeting.Typically, targets break into three headings; Suspects: are those people / companies who are on your marketing databaselisting, and who you believe are capable of doing business with you at some point,but have not yet indicated any interest. © Evolve Consultants 2010 5
    • Prospects: are those companies or individuals who have indicated a need foryour products or services, either by responding to some form of marketing, or bycontacting you directly. Existing Customers: They have bought from you in the past and they may beable to present you other sales opportunities or sales referrals. Complimentary Solution Providers (CSP): These are people who target thesame suspects as you do, but who work in a not competing business. Typically, youconnect with a CSP to gain market information, swap business leads, and or toprovide sales introductions for each other. For example, a CSP for someone in theinsurance industry might be a sales representative from a car dealership, anaccountant or a solicitor.Typically, the type of places you might find “targets” are as follows: - Local and national print media. Classified Ads – companies that advertise buy and sell services. The recruitment pages – decision makers are often listed as contacts Company notices - gives you names /faces / divisions to prospect. Local Independent directories Local Chamber of Commerce Professional Trade associations (Local Chapters) – see appendix at back of book Local Lions and Rotary Clubs Radio advertising Local area business development internet pages: (For example: - www.galway.net, www.cork.com,) Kompass Directory and the like Your existing database Irish database www.google.ie local search by sector. For example: “Hotels in County Clare” IDA Industrial Estate directories. Business Journals: Local business magazines Web based local business networks – such as those found on www.linkedin.com © Evolve Consultants 2010 6
    • So what does your ideal client look like?Here are some factors you should take into account. Your ideal should be People who have or will have a specific requirement for your services. People who need your offering as part of their business process. People for whom your product solves a business problem or issue. People for whom your product can create an opportunity or competitive advantage. People who buy from your competition. People who work in the sectors which are most profitable to you People who are manageable from a geographic perspective People whose size is manageable from a sales targeting, service support and relationship management perspectiveDescribe your ideal sales target? (A) Sector: (B) Size: (C) Location: (D) Problem / Issues: (E) Opportunities: © Evolve Consultants 2010 7
    • Exercise:What would you add to this list of pointers on the previous page?1.2.3.4.5.6.7.8.9.10.11.12.13.14.15. © Evolve Consultants 2010 8
    • What is a Sales Process?A sales process is a structured and systematic approach to finding and executingsales opportunities for you and your organisation. The process is made up of anumber of systematic steps that reflect the “customer” contacts / interactions that arerequired to complete a sale from start to finish.Table 1: Steps in the Sales Process.Step Name Activity 1 Targeting the Ideal Prospect Defining what ideal customer looks like by a) Industry, b) Size, c) Location, d) Spend etc. 2 Prospecting for appointments with Trying to get into a conversation with a decision makers decision maker about a potential sales opportunity via some of the following options a) Door to door prospecting, b) Telephone prospecting, c) E-mail, d) Networking, e) Asking for referrals 3 Qualifying the sales opportunity Typically, via a sales meeting with decision maker and (sometimes) review of previous product history etc. 4 Presenting the Solution Typically, via a solution proposal & pricing quotation 5 Negotiation / Objection handling Trading concessions etc 6 Closing the Deal Signing the contract 7 Client Account Management On going relationship management for purposes of a) Cross selling, b) Up selling, c) Renewals, and d) Referrals © Evolve Consultants 2010 9
    • A well defined and executed sales process brings the following advantages tothe seller: More Predictable Results: A higher likelihood of more successful desired andpredictable outcomes because the seller is following a set off agreed best practicesteps. Winning Habits: A high likelihood that repeating the correct structured salesactivities will lead to the development of “winning sales behaviours”. As Gary Player,the famous South African golfer used to say, “The more I practice the right things,the luckier I get”. Improved Time Management: It follows that if you engage in the correct salesactivities with the appropriate sales targets – then you will use your available sellingtime more effectively and efficiently. Ability to Track and Measure Results: When you use a structured salesprocess your outcomes can be measured and compared. This also leads to greaterself awareness of ones own performance as a seller.Remember, an effective sales process, if executed correctly, should create newprospects and customers for you. Just as a car manufacturing plant combines rawmaterials, best practice assembly line processes, and technology to manufacture thecar; a sales process represents the raw materials required to manufacture new salesfor your organisation.So whilst having a sales process doesnt guarantee success it should lead to youcreating more opportunities to sell. And in a recessionary time such as we face now,a structure that can stand up to the rigors of current market conditions is a must forevery professional seller.Sales Pipeline ManagementPeople often mix up the sales pipeline and the sales process. Firstly, the salespipeline is part of the over all sales process. It’s a sales management tool used totrack the steps the buyer takes while buying one of your products or solutions.Typically the steps in your sales pipeline should mirror the decision making steps theprospect takes along the path to purchasing a product such as the one you canoffer. So therefore, your monthly pipeline report should present a "snapshot" of your © Evolve Consultants 2010 10
    • sales activity for that month, the stage of the purchasing process all your “live” sales prospects are currently at, and the progress (if any) you have made towards closing sales opportunities. The best sales pipeline tools have the following commonalities: They mirror the steps / interactions the seller has with the buyer. They track the next steps the seller must undertake to move the sales opportunity forward. They focus the seller’s efforts and create urgency in the areas that require attention. They should be able to accurately forecast the likelihood of the sale closing and when that might happen.What are the stages in the typical sales pipeline?Table 2: Stages in the Sales Pipeline Pre 1 2 3 4 5 st Sales Devising 1 contact Contact / Sales Contact to Contract Activity target list made Meeting to proposal obtain signed / qualify sales verbal sale closed opportunity agreement st Next Step Attempted 1 Meeting to Agreement to Timeframe for Time Solution contact qualify sales propose sales decision frame for dispatched / opportunity solution making contract delivered signed Probability Zero Zero 25 % 50% 75 % 100 % of sales being completed (As a %) Target New Target Suspect Suspect Prospect Prospect Customer Target Suspect Suspect Prospect Prospect Target Suspect Suspect Target Suspect © Evolve Consultants 2010 11
    • The Stages in the Typical Sales Pipeline (In more detail)Pre – Pipeline - You have devised / sourced a target list of potential buyers orsuspects for your sales activities.Self analysis questions for this stage: Have you created a profile for your ideal buyer/ customer? Have you identified the individuals in the target companies you want to speak with? How many targets are you going to try and contact on a daily basis? Can anyone provide you with introductions to any of these targets?Stage 1- You have (typically) to make a cold call to a company, hoping to get tospeak with a decision maker.Next Step: Your next step is a formal meeting to qualify the sales opportunity on acertain date.Self analysis questions for this stage: How much time are you dedicating to cold calling on a daily basis? How many companies are you targeting per session? How many people do you get to speak with per session? How many dials / efforts does it take you to reach an individual within a sales target company? How many sales targets agree to meet with you after one telephone conversation? Why are they meeting with you? Is there a date in the diary for the meeting? What will happen if the meeting goes well? Is the person you are meeting a decision maker? If not why are you meeting? Is this meeting exploratory or have they something specific in mind? What will the next step be if the meeting goes well? What will the next step be if there is no sales opportunity on the table at the end of the meeting? Is there a date in the diary for that agreed next step? If not why not? What movement has there been on this opportunity in the last week? © Evolve Consultants 2010 12
    • Stage 2 - Meeting with decision maker to qualify sales opportunityNext Step: Your next step is to move the opportunity to presentation / proposalstage (assuming it still exists) with a time frame for the decision making process.* If it’s a complex scenario there may be further meetings / contacts required.However, if it’s a more traditional opportunity the next step will get agreement to goto sales proposal stage (in writing).Self analysis questions for this stage: What was the purpose for the meetings? Did the sales suspect the same agenda as you? What movement did you achieve at this meeting? What information did you obtain that will help progress the sales opportunity? What is their time frame for doing business? What will it take to move this sales opportunity forward to proposal stage? How does the prospect feel in principle about your offering and pricing proposition? What might the value of the business be? Are they considering any other suppliers? Specifically, what do they want in the proposal? What is the date for the proposal? What will the next step be if they like the proposal? Is this sales opportunity still on schedule to close based on your original forecast? What is the next step if there is no business opportunity at present?Stage 3 - You put a sales proposal in writing.Next Step: Follow up the proposal and get verbal agreement (often in principle) todo business. * You may have to tease out issues or objections to get to this point.Self analysis questions for this stage: What criteria are being used to evaluate the proposal(s)? When will they make their decision? Have you already met / spoken with all decision makers? Can the individual you are dealing with make the decision? When you presented the proposal what feedback did you get on the day? How does your proposal compare against those of other potential suppliers? © Evolve Consultants 2010 13
    • What will the next step be if they like your proposal? When will that next step take place? How long since the last contact? Is this sales opportunity still on schedule to close based on your original forecast?Stage 4 – Contact to obtain commitment in principle (verbal) to purchase service(Often verbal). The seller may also have to tease out issues or objections to get tothis point.Next Step: P.O. to be raised / Contracts to be signedSelf analysis questions for this stage: Are there any outstanding issues? When will this prospect close – or sign? (Need definite date.) What will the value of this transaction be?Stage 5 - Contracts signed – Payment made - sale closedNext Step: Product delivery / After sales service beginsSelf analysis questions for this stage: Are their other sales opportunities still from this business entity? How accurately did I forecast this sales opportunity through all stages of the pipeline? What other companies do I know that might have similar circumstances to this one? Who can I introduce this new customer to – that they should know? How many contacts did it take me to close this case? Could I have done anything differently to move it along faster? © Evolve Consultants 2010 14
    • Key to successful pipeline management: Is to ensure there is always movementthrough the different stages of the pipeline. A lack of movement at any one stage ofthe pipeline will have a knock on effect on your sales results at some future point.Furthermore; - 1. The seller should report on the movement / progress that they have made within the stages of their sales pipeline on a weekly basis. 2. The seller must constantly be adding new opportunities to stages 1 and 2 of the pipeline. 3. The seller needs to be aware of the “attrition rate” that occurs place when trying to move a sales opportunity from stage 1 to stage 5 of the sales pipeline. This attrition rate is also known as a “Ratio”. 4. It doesn’t matter whether you use an electronic sales pipeline tool or a paper based pipeline tool, what matters is that you use the pipeline to drive movement through your sales process not just to record the sales activity that you have engaged in. © Evolve Consultants 2010 15
    • Exercise: What are the stages in your sales pipeline? A B C D E F Numberof Stages Sales ActivityNext StepProbability of sales beingcompleted (As a %) © Evolve Consultants 2010 16
    • Sales Ratios – Your key performance Indicators“If you want to light a big fire – you need to know how many logs it’s going to take to get theblaze going.” – John Adams All successful sellers use key performance indicators (also known as the salesratios) to manage the movement of their sales prospects through the various stagesof the sales pipeline. Or let’s put it another way, if you have a weekly sales target,it’s useful to know how many sales appointments you need to be creating on aweekly basis to make your sales target happen! This is an example of anappointment to sales closure ratio. Here at Evolve, we find that the majority of underperforming sellers we meet on training workshops have no idea of any of their salesratios. Simply put, they are not putting enough logs on the fire to keep it burningand they have no idea how many logs they will need in the first place. You mustknow your sales conversion ratios:Table 3: Sales Activity Conversion Ratio No: Ratio What it Indicates Key Points Telephone dial to This ratio represents the This figure takes into account 1 Conversation number of telephone dials all the telephone dials where you have to make to get to any of the following happens speak with a sales target. Gatekeeper block . Straight to voice mail Not available Engaged tone Conversation This ratio represents the Remember, when we say meeting, 2 to number of completed we mean a calendar date in the conversations you need to diary agreed and confirmed by both Appointment have with a sales target to parties. get a sales meeting. Appointment This ratio represents the Depending on the complexity of the 3 to number of sales meetings policy you are selling it is possible you have to attend to move the qualification stage and the Sales Proposal the sales opportunity to proposal stage might be one and formal sales proposal stage the same meeting. Sales Proposal This ratio represents the This figure assumes that an 4 to Sales Closed number of sales proposals amended or discounted sales you need to write to make a proposal and an original sales sale. proposal count as one proposal © Evolve Consultants 2010 17
    • Sales Ratios (a worked example)Your Monthly Sales Target: 10 Units sold.Table 4: Sales ratios – a worked example. No: Ratio Your Activity Your Ratio (The Maths) Telephone dial to It takes you 5 dials to get to Your Ratio here is 1 Conversation speak with 1 business target 5:1 Conversation Here you need to have a Your Ratio here is 2 to conversation with 3 decision makers to get 1 3:1 Appointment sales meeting (with a sales opportunity). Appointment Your hit rate is now Your Ratio here is 3 to improving. For every two sales meetings you attend 2:1 Sales Proposal you then make 1 formal sales proposal. Sales Proposal Here you notice that for Your Ratio here is 4 every two proposals you to Sales Close put forward you win 1 piece 2:1 of business. Conclusions we can draw: * Start at ratio number 4 and work backwards.1. If your monthly sales target is to sell 10 policies. Then Ratio Number 4 suggests youneed to put forward 20 proposals to make the 10 sales. (2:1)2. To be able to put forward 20 proposals, based on the above ratios you need 40partially qualified appointments. (2:1)3. To get 40 partially qualified appointments with decision makers you need to speakwith 120 decision makers. (3:1)4. Therefore, at the start of the month you need to target 600 (5:1) ideal salessuspects to have any chance of hitting the above numbersNotes on this example: The above exercise does not take into account a scenario where the seller mayhave an “average transaction value” target as opposed to just numbers of units sold. © Evolve Consultants 2010 18
    • The above exercise assumes you are only getting sales leads via cold calling, it isnot taking into account networking, referrals and the like where ratios should be muchmore favourable to the seller. Exercise:Please conduct the following self analysis exercise based on your current salestargets and activity levels. Metric € Volume Ratio 1 My Telephone Dial to Conversation Ratio Ratio 2 My Conversation to Appointment Ratio Ratio 3 My Appointment to Sales Proposal Ratio Ratio 4 Sales Proposal Ratio to Sales Close Ratio Metric 1 My Annual Sales Target Metric 2 My Monthly Sales Target Metric 3 My Weekly Sales Target Metric 4 My Average Sale Value Metric 5 My Average Sale Volume (If applicable) Metric 6 The number of proposals I need to write to hit my monthly sales target (Based on my average sale value)Be aware most of the above ratios are assuming that you have to find businessleads by “cold calling”. While you may have do a large degree of cold calling, it’s fairto say that your ratios and metrics should improve drastically if you are securingsome of these appointments by referral or via introductions at networking events. © Evolve Consultants 2010 19
    • Chapter 2Prospecting PrinciplesProspecting for new business is the life blood of all professional sellers. After identifyingyour sales targets, the next step is to get your sales pipeline populated. When it comesto prospecting there are two types of sales targets Cold targets Warm targetsA cold target is a person or company that fits the profile of your ideal buyer. However,you have no relationship what so ever with this type of target. Furthermore, you haveno means of being introduced to this buyer. This type of target sits at the top of your“cold calling list”.A warm target is a person or business that fits the profile of your ideal buyer. However,the difference between this type of target and a cold one is that you have foundsomeone within your circle of influence that is prepared to introduce you to this target.This type of target is called a warm one because the target will already have arelationship with the person giving you the introduction, and as such are more likely toagree to speak with you out of their respect for the introducer. Cold calling provides you with the volume for your sales pipeline. Warm leads provide you with quality leads.Every professional seller needs to be prospecting for both types of lead. Cold callingshould be an almost daily activity, driven by process, habit and a “hard neck”. Attainingwarm leads is more strategic, requires time, networking, skill and again process. In thischapter we will look at the key prospecting protocols that will give you that combinationof cold and warm targets, namely: Networking Virtual Networking via Linked In Complimentary Solution Providers Asking for Referrals © Evolve Consultants 2010 20
    • Section 1Networking SkillsThe Golden Rule: It’s not who you know, it’s who knows and trusts you thatcounts.In 2010 business development is tougher that ever before. Buyers are more cautiouspreferring to spend their budgets with trusted suppliers. For this reason cold callersare finding doors slamming in their faces faster than ever before. On top of thisdecision making process in many organizations’ has moved up a level to moresenior levels, and this may mean your old contacts may not have the power orautonomy to make purchasing decisions any more. To be successful in sales in 2010 it’s not who you know that counts, it’s whoknows and trusts you that does.The Sales Success Equation:Your ability to have a successful sales year in 2010 will be determined by thefollowing sales success equation.The Sales Success Equation The business contacts that know and trust me and buy from me now+ / - The new / additional business contact that know and trust me and buy from me by year end. = My sales results for 2010Everyone has a circle of influence. It may be your family, your friends, people youworked with, people from past jobs, people you studied with at school and college,your neighbours, fellow members of sports or social clubs or even fellow members oftrade associations. In 2010, your ability to meet new people to sell your productsand services to will be determined by the number of leads, referrals andintroductions you get from your circle of influence. Trust and avoiding unnecessaryrisks are two of the main purchasing criteria all buyers are using in these troubledtimes. Potential customers may agree to meet you because someone in your circleof influence is a trusted colleague of theirs. They definitely won’t buy from you ifthey don’t know and trust you. It’s time to network. © Evolve Consultants 2010 21
    • What do you want from networking?There is a multitude of networking opportunities available out there for you to choosefrom. So before, you head off like a bat out of hell to attend all and sundry, it’simportant to make sure the people you want to connect with be at the events you aregoing to attend. This means you need to be clear on what is the right type ofnetworking event for you. Let’s start by looking at the type of person you want tonetwork with.(A) - Who Who do you want to network with? What industry might they be in? What sized organization? What parts of the country are they located? What level will they be working at within their company?(B) Where Where are they most likely to network? What type of events do they attend or network at? Where do these events take place? What is the regularity of these events? How do I attend one of these events?Table 5: Sample Networking Opportunities Type Example Typical AttendeeChamber of Commerce Local Chapters Everything from sole trader right up to large nationwide companiesNetworking Clubs BNI Sole trader / SME / Local sales First Tuesday representatives of larger organizations’ ClubsLocal Business Street trader Depends of mix of businesses in locality associationsProfessional Bodies Sales Institute of Executive Managers, business developers, Ireland departmental managers in specific CIPD professions (Tends to be corporate as opposed to sole trader)Trade Associations Vintners Owner / managers, Executive managers Association with commercial functions RGDATA(C) What What am I trying to get by investing my time in networking and making connections? © Evolve Consultants 2010 22
    • (D) My Networking to Date – self analysis Who am I connected with already and what have these connections meant for me? Where do I network? Do the people I need to meet attend my networking events? Apart from sales, how do I measure success in my networking efforts? How much planning do I put into my networking activities? Do I need to have a more structured networking plan for this year? Exercise:Please complete the following based on your answers to the previousquestions? 1. Describe the type of person(s) you want to meet at a networking event? 2. Which types of networking events are most appropriate for you? 3. Are you currently attending the correct type of networking events? 4. Explain, how you could improve the quality and quantity of your networking activity? 5. What will you do differently? © Evolve Consultants 2010 23
    • Networking StrategyOnce you have identified what you want to get from networking the next step is totarget the appropriate type of events to meet these people. If the networking is to beat a regular event run by a group such as a local chapter or networking club etc., youshould consider obtaining a position of power by joining the organizing committee.This will afford you more visibility within the group.Alternatively, if you can’t join the committee, you might need to become a morestructured event attendee. Start by asking the event organizer, to give you a list ofattendees in advance of the event. This will enable you to target the specific peopleyou want to meet. Consider asking the event organizer (in advance of the event) toprovide you with the necessary introductions at the event. And, remember asmentioned in the previous chapter, targets for the event can be potential customers,complimentary solution providers, and existing clients who can provide you withintroductions.You should also consider bringing existing clients to the event as it’s an opportunityto network with them, give them an opportunity to network with others, and may beeven introduce you to others at the event.Tactics for the Networking EventMany people find going to networking events a daunting proposition. Its often reallyawkward to walk into an association meeting, trade show or after-hours event whenyou dont know anybody who is there. Everyone else seems to be engaged indiscussions with friends and business acquaintances, while there you stand“Johnny-No-Mates”, drinking the free beverages like they are going out of fashion,whilst, desperately looking around for a friendly face to take pity on you and pull youinto a conversation.Here are some tips for overcoming the awkwardness and getting into that openingconversation.1. Firstly, get a list of attendees in the days prior to the event. Check the list for People you want to meet, Existing customers who could introduce you to others or act as endorsees, and people you know already who could introduce to new people.2. Get there early. People tend to be open to entering into conversations beforenetworking events – they tend to be in a rush to get back to work or home after theevent is over.3. Think first impression. ‘You never get a second chance to make a first © Evolve Consultants 2010 24
    • impression’. When approaching someone be aware of the following; Bodylanguage: Smile, look them in the eye, and shake hands with them. Introduceyourself and state that you are with [The name of your company].4. The best location for networking is by a high-traffic area such as a main door, thecoffee dock, or near the food.5. If you don’t know anyone at the event, stick close to the event organiser’s /association officers – a lot of attendees will want to talk with them.6. When giving or receiving a business card, be especially careful when dealingwith people from outside the Ireland as many cultures treat them with very highregard.7. When receiving a business card from someone, take a moment to write yourselfa note on it such as where you met. If you do this while youre still talking to theperson, it will help convey your sense of personal connection.8. During the course of a conversation, use the other persons first name two orthree times. People always like to hear their own name and it will help you toremember it when the discussion is over.9. Ask questions: Prepare some general questions before you start networking.Before you give information it is important to break the ice with a question that isnon-threatening. For example, it might be “How are the road works in front of yourshop effecting business?” Ask questions about them, and their business.Remember, the purpose of your questioning strategy should be to differentiateyourself from the “crowd” by asking questions about how you can help them growtheir business! Make sure you listen to their responses. Remember, networking withnew contacts is like reading a daily newspaper. Let your new contacts speak so asyou can discover which news headlines are most relevant to your agenda.Remember, open questions work better than closed ones as they get people talking.Here are some additional questions you should consider asking:Table 6: Sample questions to ask somebody you meet at a networking event. “What brings you here today?” “Where else do you network?” “How did you get your start in the “ABC” business?” “What changes are happening within your industry?” “What does your ideal customer look like?” “What separates you and your company from the competition?” “What can I do to help you today?” “Who else do you know here today?” What is the best way to refer someone to you? © Evolve Consultants 2010 25
    • People will usually reciprocate and ask you a few questions about your business, butremember you are there to make them feel important. Since you want to meet the allthe people you identified before the event, keep conversations to a maximum of tenminutes and then move onHow to Follow UpWhen you attend a networking event, whether a conference, seminar or business-club meeting, your work has just begun. Its the follow up after the event that movesthe relationship on and eventually will enable business happen.Follow up includes trading information that is valuable to each other via e-mail andgaining other introductions from your new connection and vice versa. However, toomany people walk away from networking events feeling good about the event andthe number of business cards collected but doing nothing to move names onbusiness cards into potential business associates.Here are some ideas to make the most of your post networking event follow ups; After the event, time, use the back of their business card to jot a note aboutsomething you learned from the conversation and the date and place you met them.Recording the information will give you something to talk to them about the next timeyou see them. Consider introducing someone to your new contact.This is a straight forward process. All you have to do is introduce a new contactfrom a networking event to someone else you in your sphere of influence who youfeel they should know. Where, these two people take the relationship is up to them,but you will be remembered as the person who made the introduction. You shouldtry to this after every networking event. Within twenty four hours, send an e-mail / hand written note.Dont wait until you have something meaningful to say or don’t wait until next weekfor fear of looking to keen! Chances are you wont get around to sending a note ifyou wait around, and even if you do, the recipient may not recall who you are. Sendan e-mail to everyone you took a card from. Better again; send them a hand writtennote. Remember, even if you dont see them as an immediate connection, just saythanks. Make notes on your experiences.Whenever you return from events, take about ten minutes to write down some notesfrom the networking event. Bullet-point ideas, or write them across your whiteboard.Just get them down! Thank the host, if applicable.This especially applies to events that are put together by one individual. A quick notethanking that person for their efforts will go a long way and they will be more proneto respond favourable to your request for introductions in the future. Phone them and meet up. © Evolve Consultants 2010 26
    • Pick up the phone after a couple of weeks and continue the conversation you started toexplore at the networking event. (If appropriate)Don’t pitch for business without creating obligation by following up in one of the waysmentioned above. Remember, networking is the skill of building relationships that aremutually beneficial. So be prepared to ‘give something to get something’. Networkingtakes planning and regular practice and execution.Sample List of Networking OpportunitiesWeb Based Networking• Linked In the worlds largest online networking community - http://www.linkedin.comLocal Business Community Chambers of Commerce - http://www.chambers.ie/index.php?id=1Professional Associations Sales Institute of Ireland - http://www.salesinstitute.ie Irish Small & Medium Enterprises Association - http://www.isme.ie/ Irish Internet Association - http://www.iia.ie/Charity Related Business Networking Groups Rotary Club of Ireland - http://www.rotary.ie/ Lions Clubs of Ireland - http://www.lionsclubs.ie/Private Networking Groups for Business Cork Business Association - http://www.corkbusiness.ie/ BNI Networking Groups - http://www.bni-europe.com/ireland/- 121 Dublin Business Networking Group - http://121biznet.com/blog/ Southside B2B Referral Network (Dun Laoghaire) - http://www.southsideb2b.org/ Irish Business Women’s Networking Group - http://www.irishbusinesswomen.com/forum/ Galway Business Club - http://www.galwaybusinessclub.com/ Open Coffee Club - http://www.opencoffeedublin.com/ / http://corkopencoffee.org/ http://mayo-open-coffee-club.org/ http://opencoffeesligo.org/ © Evolve Consultants 2010 27
    • Networking Checklist Try and get a list of the attendees for the networking event in the days prior to the event 1 taking place. This will enable you identify who you want to meet. Try and arrange some introductions via the event host / organiser in advance of the event. 2 More than likely they will already know the people you want to meet. Arrive early and stay late. If the networking is taking place around a speech or formal event 3 all the networking takes place before and after the event. Don’t miss the action. If you don’t know anyone at the event, stick close to the event organiser’s / association 4 officers – a lot of attendees will want to talk with them and you can meet new people in their company. Avoid colleagues from work. Ascertain who you know already and see if they can provide 5 some introductions for you and visa versa. You should initially acknowledge people you know already and then immediately find someone new to introduce yourself to. This will help keep you in the right frame of mind as to why you went to the event. 6 Always have business cards and keep in a place where they are easy to access Stop selling and start connecting. When you meet someone for the first time, use it as an 7 opportunity to get to know them. Dont try to sell them anything. Prepare four or five questions that you can ask people that you meet. Make sure the 8 questions are not overly intrusive When giving or receiving a business card, be especially careful when dealing with people 9 from outside the Ireland as many cultures treat business cards with very high regard. When receiving a business card from someone, take a moment to write yourself a note on it 10 such as where you met. If you do this while youre still talking to the person, it will help convey your sense of personal connection. When in groups act as the host, introduce each new person who joins the group to the 11 others in your company. During the course of a conversation, use the other persons first name two or three times. 12 People always like to hear their own name and it will help you to remember it when the discussion is over. Know how you can help them. People don’t care what you do, unless what you can do can 13 help them. Get to know which of their problems and challenges you can help with. Tell people you will be following up with them while you are still talking with them. Tell them 14 what you will be sending and how you will send it to them. Then they will be watching out for it. When you meet someone for the first time, you have 24 hours to follow up with them before 15 they will completely forget about meeting you. Back at the office, use the back of their business card to jot a note about something you 16 learned from the conversation and the date and place Send a handwritten note to your new contacts acknowledging the fact that you met. 17 Connect with your new contact via Linked in within a week of meeting with them. 18 Keep in touch, especially when you no longer have a specific requirement to fulfil. 19 Review the usefulness of the networking events you attend on a regular basis. 20 © Evolve Consultants 2010 28
    • Section 2Networking on the InternetIt’s almost impossible to talk about best practice networking skills without bringing“virtual networking” or networking via the Internet into the conversation. Because ofthe role email plays in business and with the ever increasing popularity of onlinebusiness networking communities like “Linked In” the professional seller would beremiss not to leverage this media. We find many people place their personalprofiles on these websites and wait for business contacts to contact them by thescore. This rarely happens. Virtual networking is no different to face to facenetworking – as with everything in life you only get out of it what you put into it. Sohere are some ideas to get more from your “Linked In” account.Using “Linked In” on the WebIs it just me or if you find someone on “Linked In” you’d like to network with, but youobserve that they have only five contacts and no profile information, do you wonderwhether its worth your while linking up with them? What might other people saywhen they see your Linked In account and profile? Could they think the same thingabout you? Are you worth connecting with? Do you get any useful business leadsfrom Linked In? Its possible to get more from Linked In that merely looking upcontacts – here are some ideas; Fill out your profile completely to earn trust. Don’t turn off your contacts: Avoid hard-sell tactics. Write honest and valuable recommendations for your contacts. Request LinkedIn recommendation from happy customers willing to provide testimonials. Grow your network by joining industry and alumni groups related to your business. Share survey and poll results with your contacts. Publish your LinkedIn URL on your marketing material. Use the advanced search feature to find people (targets) by company, industry and city. Start and manage a group for your industry. Research your prospects before meetings. For example, you could try and find out have you common business acquaintances. © Evolve Consultants 2010 29
    • Share useful articles and resources that will be of interest to customers andprospects.Post your presentations on your profile using PowerPoint.Ask your first-level contacts for specific introductions to their first-levelcontacts.Set up to receive LinkedIn messages in your inbox so you can respond rightaway.Update everything regularly © Evolve Consultants 2010 30
    • Section 3Working with Complimentary Solution ProvidersWorking with a Complimentary Solution Providers (CSP) is a form ofnetworking. A CSP is a person who sells into / (or has a circle of influencethat includes) the target companies and people that you want to prospect fornew business. Typically, the CSP does not work in competition with you, butmay sometimes offer a complimentary service to yours. The main point isthat they have access to the people you need to meet. So for example, atEvolve we deal in sales training and the decision makers we often need tomeet are Sales Directors or Training Managers. A possible CSP for us couldbe a recruitment agency, or the sellers of sales related software. Therefore, ifwe were trying to get an appointment to see the head of training at ABCLimited a CSP might be able to provide us with that introduction.The advantages of networking with a CSP May know your sales targets already Can provide introductions because the target already trusts them Can provide valuable information about the market place which may lead to a business opportunityThe type of professionals that might be an appropriate CSP for you Already sells to your customers Targets the same in company function heads as you Networks extensively Is prepared to swap leads / provide introductionsTips for Networking with a CSP Identify three ideal CSP and go connect with them Meet / Talk at least once a month with each Describe your ideal target for them Give introductions to get introductions Give them feedback on any sales opportunities you make and take © Evolve Consultants 2010 31
    • Section 4Asking for ReferralsEvery business to business seller knows that getting referrals from existing customersor a complimentary solution provider is by far the best prospecting lead to get. Yet, weoften find very few sales people have a referral process in place – so they don’t getmany of them. Let’s be clear on our definition of a sales referral. It’s not an existingclient tipping you off about a new factory opening up down the road. It’s not acomplimentary solution provider giving you a name and a phone number.A referral is where somebody provides you with an introduction to a potential salesprospect. When we say introduction, we mean that they have lifted the phone tosomebody in their circle of influence and asked them to take a phone call from you.During the introduction they will tell the referral that you are, where you work, and whyyou will be phoning. Typically, they will endorse your services at this stage as well.So here are some ideas to help you get more referrals from your circle of influence. Ask for referrals: If you dont ask, how do you expect to get them? Ask at the right time: The time to ask somebody for a referral is when they trust you, when they rate you highly and when they are obligated to you. (You have done them a favour) Introduce asking for referrals into your account management process. “John, the purpose of today’s meeting is to review your current usage and sort out your requirements for the coming year. I’d also like to get your thoughts on what you think of the service I provide, and lastly providing you are very satisfied with how we are treating you, I’d like to see if there is anyone in your business circle who you’d refer me on to. Let’s talk about your existing usage first ” Let the client know whos a good referral: There is no point asking a client for a referral at the end of a meeting. Typically, sellers with one foot already out of the door state “If you can think of anybody who could use my service please let me know”. So firstly it’s a statement not a question. Secondly, the client won’t be inspired into miraculously pulling your ideal looking referral out of thin air. Early in your conversation describe to the client what a good referral looks like. Tell them © Evolve Consultants 2010 32
    • the type of business you want to be introduced to etc. Help them: Make some suggestions as to people who they might know. If youre abuilder’s providers, who do you think they might know? Lot’s of Builders, EstateAgents, and Trades people etc, thats who. Suggest some of those companies youknow youd like to get referred to--they just might know them.6. Give them time to think: Dont ask for referrals and stand there waiting for them.When you put your client on the spot like that they arent going to come up with a tonof great referrals. Ask and then let them know exactly when youll get back to themto get the referrals.7. Dont get names and phone numbers get introduced. And I’ll state it one moretime don’t get a name and phone number – get introduced. Get introduced to theprospect through an introduction letter or phone call. © Evolve Consultants 2010 33
    • Notes / Actions: © Evolve Consultants 2010 34
    • Chapter 3Making Appointments by PhoneThe vast majority of sales professionals hate cold-calling. Yet, at the same time, it isan activity that most of us need to do on a regular basis. Unless you can come upwith a more effective way of getting new sales prospects into your sales pipeline –then you need to try and make appointments by phone.The three main ingredients to making more appointments by phone areT.E.D. – The key to Successful cold callingTable 7: Key Skills and Traits for successful tele-selling T Technique: The ability to design and deliver a sales message in a way that appeals to the sales suspect. E Endeavour: The ability to persevere and continue to cold call even when things aren’t going well. D Discipline: The discipline to do the target number of dials without cutting corners or distracting yourself and track resultsDon’t ad-lib, have a call plan.If you want to sound confident, competent and in control, I strongly suggest that youwrite out /design a call plan for yourself. You may notice that I am not using thephrase call “script” because to use a call script, requires both parties on the call tohave the exact same script. Designing and then using a call plan for the opening,questioning and closing remarks stage of your call will give you the structure that isrequired to hook and connect with a potential sales suspect, that will give you theopportunity to ask some questions about their circumstances, and finally that willascertain whether its worth both of your whiles taking the conversation to the nextstage. A good call plan is essential for the following reasons. © Evolve Consultants 2010 35
    • More people will accept your call Keeps your message on track and allows you be respectful of the suspect’s time Ensures you gather all necessary information Guarantees that your call ending has a conclusion or next step. Allows you listen to suspect responses because your call structure is clear Allows you control the callCall Structure Design1. Have clear call objective / result in mind.It is important to keep in mind that the primary purpose of any B2B prospecting phonecall is to make an appointment, not a sale. Many sellers make the mistake of trying to Ato Z their product portfolio and talking to much on the phone call in an attempt toshowcase their expertise. Whilst the seller will have to present some high level policybenefits and respond to some questions, issues that require a detailed / informedresponse become an excellent reason to secure an appointment.It’s a good idea to use phone time to gather information through the use of open-endedquestions. Your objective is to build your prospects interest and arouse their curiositythrough a series of well designed, probing questions about them and their company. Sobefore you make that call be clear on what the objective of your call is. Exercise:Finish the following statement to get your call objective;The purpose of this call is to qualify the sales suspect to a point, where if everythinggoes well, the next step will be to .In the B2B market, the objective of the call could be to: a) Get a qualified meeting with a decision maker b) Get the name and direct contact details of a decision maker c) Collect information about a target person / company and how they currently use your offering. d) Find out details of their next tendering process and get permission to take part in same. © Evolve Consultants 2010 36
    • 2. Understanding Best Practice Call Structure. Most stories and movies have a start, middle, and an ending. The purpose of the start of the story or movie is to get your attention and get you interested sticking with reading or watching some more of the content. The middle of the book or movie unravels the plot and provides the detail. And the last few scenes or chapters bring things to an exciting finale or conclusion. A best practice call structure is very similar in that the purpose the call opening has is get your attention and keep you on the phone engaging in conversation. The middle of the call provides you the seller with the suspects detail / circumstances, and issues via qualification questions and conversation. And the conclusion of the call is to bring things to a finale, with you the seller presenting the reasons why the sales suspect should consider meeting with you and asking for that date in the diary next step.Table 8: High Level - Call Structure Stage Structure Objective Call Exchange greetings Courtesy Opening Results based opening statement Create interest Permission to proceed plus Get control agenda Middle Qualify the suspects requirements Gain understanding Summarize your understanding of Get commitment issues and priorities Conclusion Suggest options Create buy in Obtain feedback on options Get commitment Ask for the next step Get date in diary 3. Call Opening Nothing is more important to an outbound telephone prospecting call than the quality of your opening lines. Think about it, when a sales target picks up that phone and says hello, you have between ten and fifteen seconds to get them to accept your call. The opening lines of the calls are actually the only lines of the call you can script 100% - every other line you use is determined by the impact your opening statement makes. This means you have to maximize the impact of your opening statement and that means planning and practicing it. © Evolve Consultants 2010 37
    • Below are some guidelines and thoughts for creating your opening statement(s) aswell as some samples for you to rework.The purpose of the opening statement is to get the attention and interest of the salessuspect so as to accept your phone call. To do this you must “hook” the salessuspect onto your telephone line and away from what they were doing before youdialled their phone number. Your ability to qualify the sales opportunity, ask forpermission to tender, ask for a meeting, or even introduce them to your new offeringmatters none if the decline your invitation to have a brief conversation on that phonecall.Your opening statement is comprised of four elements Who you are – “Dave Malone” Who you’re with (“ABC Limited”) What you sell (in very simple terms) How your prospect will benefit from your product or service A question to gauge interest of the prospecta) Your greeting:State your full name, and your role within your organisation. Use the target’s namein the opening lines if you can, it will ensure that you have the correct person on theline, and people when they hear their name tend to listen very carefully. Forexample, “Hello, Mrs. Phillips, this is John Phillips, phoning you from ABC Services”b) Your Interest and attention grabbing results based opening statement.State the reason for your call: Your opening statement cannot be a pitch. It mustcreate curiosity by focusing on a result that might be important to the target. It mustbe low on pressure, and put the target in a positive frame of mind. Consider startingwith benefit statement: This statement will suggest to the prospect why he or sheshould listen further.Example 1Hi Jack, This is Emmet Higgins from the ABC Computer. You may recall I met you atthe Chamber of Commerce lunch last month. The reason I am calling is that we providea PC maintenance service to help an SME like you maximise the usage and longevityyou get from your lap tops, and I’m calling to see if this might be something you’d like toexplore further? © Evolve Consultants 2010 38
    • Example 2"Hello Ms. Dillon, this is Shauna Jennings with Kelly Security Camera’s. I’m callingtoday because we I was in your premises buying garden furniture, and I noticed theamount of traffic and people you have moving around the store and the warehouse. It’sa very impressive set up.(Pause – wait for response)And because of the value of the high quality items you sell and depending on how youcurrently handle the issue of stock loss due to theft, there’s a possibility I might be ableto help make it more difficult for shop lifters to steal your stock? (Wait for response)If I’ve caught you at a good time, I’d like to discuss your situation to see if this issomething that you’d like explore further?”Remember, the purpose of the opening benefit statement is to get you past the firstsegment of a call into a qualification stage. So Keep the pressure low and conditional by using phrases like “Depending on how your handling” and “there’s a possibility we might”. Avoid opening statements which are sales pitches or self indulgent about your offering such as: “Hello Mr. Kelly I am ringing to introduce to a new service here at ABC, it’s an excellent product with the lowest price on the market.” (This is self indulgent) Don’t try and technique you way past the client – “Would you be interested in cheap accountancy software”. © Evolve Consultants 2010 39
    • ExercisePlease develop some opening statements for the following scenarios:a) A business you are cold calling because you write a lot of business in their locality.b) A large retailer that was a customer about 5 years ago, but then they left and placed business with the competition. The competition went out of business last month.c) A business lead you got from a family member.d) A new restaurant in the town centre. © Evolve Consultants 2010 40
    • 3. Getting Permission to ProceedLastly, ask a question at the end of the opening statement to check for the salessuspect’s interest.Example:“Okay, so as I can work out how we might be able to best help you, I’d like to ask you afew questions, is that okay?”In doing this you are again giving choice and perceived control to the suspect –where as in fact you are getting the call structure to follow to call plan you preparedin advance of making the call.4. Middle of the Call (Qualification and summarizing the issues)The purpose of the qualification stage is to get the target’s permission to proceedwith questions so as you can establish whether you will meet a businessrequirement / problem or create an opportunity for them. The types of areas youneed to explore and open up (If you get the opportunity) are: Their business – how it is structures / works The way they deliver their offering to the market place The main challenges their business is currently facing The parts of their business where they use / need your offering. The risks their business is exposed to by not using your offering Changes they would like to make to their current situation (As it relates to your type of offering) Timeframes for re-purchasing / decision making etc. How they go about considering suppliers for your services © Evolve Consultants 2010 41
    • Questions like:For an Existing Business a) “Tell me about your business?” b) What issues are most important to you?” c) “What type of fees you are charged?” d) “Apart from price, what’s most important to you in selecting a product such as this for your business?” e) “Could you tell me about what type of solution you need for your business?” f) “What aspects of the service would you like to change?” g) “What do you really want from a supplier?” h) “How will your requirements change over the next twelve months?” i) “What would your ideal supplier be doing for you?”For a New Business a) What type of service do you think you will need? b) What criteria are you going to use to decide which company you are going to buy from? c) What type of business advice would be useful to get on an on going basis? d) What experiences have you had with my company in the past? e) Have you any thoughts on how we might best assist you? f) What support will you need in the first 12 to 24 months of your new business? © Evolve Consultants 2010 42
    • Exercise:What Questions would you add to these two lists?1.2.3.4.5.6.7.8.9.10. © Evolve Consultants 2010 43
    • 5. Presenting, matching and moving to the next stage:After you have qualified and summarized the target’s requirements and you haveestablished and agreed a sales opportunity that they would like to explore further - theybecome prospects.It is only now that you suggest / propose a way for you to offer some solutions to theirchallenges. However do remember business owners” all are only interested in one tuneon the radio – and that tune is called “Its all about me” – and they only tune into oneradio station W.I.I.F.M - (What‘s In It For Me). So, when it comes to presenting on a telesales call – three rules apply.a) Focus on their issues.Focus on suggesting the solutions that focus on solving their issues – to presentanything else suggests that you are not listening. Example: “So earlier you said to me that the excess on your old insurance policy was €750 but your average accidental damage claim was only €900. So, we can reduce the excess amount to €400 by increasing the annual premium amount by €25.”b) Use low pressure phrases.Put forward your benefits using low pressure phrases such as “you might consider” or“Might I suggest” – they are not pushy. Example: “So based on the issues your business is facing, and in order of importance as you have given them to me, here is how I think our maintenance contract might be able to help you out .”c) Get feedback on every option you present.Ask the prospect for feedback on all benefits you present – this will give you anindication of whether you have gotten in right and if its time to suggest the next step. Example “So, Patrick, given that you have separate printing requirements at three different locations throughout the country, I think we can come up with a package that will simplify the requirements of your three different office managers and improve the quality of the documents we produce without any significant increase in your overall annual printing bill. Would that be of interest to you?” © Evolve Consultants 2010 44
    • 6. Close the deal / Bring to the Next Step- ask for a commitment to meet upIf you have presented an appropriate solution, your transition to the close should be assimple and automatic as asking, “Do you have any questions?” When they respond withno, you simply ask them how they feel about your suggestion, discuss what do you thinkof the FBD package? Then it’s about asking for the next step – Example “Based on what you are saying to me, it sounds like it would be worthwhile to get together so I can give you a more detailed picture as to how we might help you?”Remember, if the prospect likes what you have to say, it’s now time to suggest youmeet up to move things to the next stage of the buying process.Example “Given that you intend opening the new premises on the 1st of May you’ll have to kit out with furniture the previous week. I think it might be mutually beneficial to meet up next Monday given that the opening date is only 3 weeks away and we need to look at your requirements in more detail?”7. The fall-back position:You might not get an appointment or the sale at every prospect contact, or may be thethey won’t be purchasing for another six months. But you should try to get some typeof commitment every time. So if the renewal is not for some time, you should Stay in touch via email. Send them material in the intervening period. Send them a hand written card thanking them for the conversation. Get them to agree to have a further conversation much closer to the renewal date. Diarize a follow up phone call with them three weeks before the renewal date.Example “Thanks Paul for letting me know that you have another nine months to go before your current contract expires. With your permission I’ll keep in touch and maybe you’ll let me quote for the business next time around?” © Evolve Consultants 2010 45
    • Leaving Voice MailsA lot of people don’t believe in leaving voice mail, and that’s alright – however if youprefer to leave messages here are some best practice steps to consider. If you intendleaving a voice mail message, your objective is to create enough interest so as thecustomer will take the next call. Remember, you can only get the appointment afteryou have spoken with the sales suspect. Voice mails are like opening statements in that you can script and practice them. Sowhen that voice says “please leave your message after the tone”, you have about 30seconds to generate a reason why that person should call you back as opposed to Rule 1: Most decision makers delete messages after 30 seconds. Rule 2: Most decision makers delete messages on the first time of listening.The components of a good voice mail message Your name: “Frank Murphy” Your company name “over at Evolve” A statement that creates interest and intrigue:“I have an idea to run by you that might significantly impact the way you handle thecost of delivering your software product to your UK market” Call to action: “I will call you back Wednesday at 10am.” Example Lucy, this is Frank Murphy over at KASH Waste Management. We have been working with a number of the big manufacturers in the Cork area like yourself at ABCO, and having worked with them I have an idea to run by you that might significantly impact the way you handle the disposal of commercial waste at your Cobh plant. Sorry I missed you I will call you back Wednesday at 10am. Example Conor, this is Dylan Morris from Evolve Training. One of your colleagues Patricia Rock, asked me to give you a call regarding how we helped them increase their sales revenue while decreasing their overall cost of sales annual last year. Sorry I missed you. I will call you back Monday at 11am. © Evolve Consultants 2010 46
    • Exercise:Develop a voice mail message for one of your prospecting campaigns Your name Your company name A statement that creates interest and intrigue Call to action © Evolve Consultants 2010 47
    • Check list for running a telephone prospecting campaign(For appointment making) 1 Have a dedicated time each day to prospect. 2 Prospect in hour blocks of time 3 Track your results (The Sales Ratios) 4 Know the reason for calling before you call: Remember the reason must benefit the customer not introduce a great new service etc. 5 Leave short beneficial voice mail messages that arouse interest and attention. 6 May be follow up with an email. 7 Prepare your needs qualification questions in advance 8 Phone calls placed to direct numbers before 9:30 AM are the most likely to be answered by the person youre trying to reach. 9 Respect the gate-keeper by treating them in the same manner you would treat the prospect. 10 Anytime is a good time to make a call; dont wait for the "perfect" time. 11 Prepare your opening benefit statement in advance 12 Prepare your questions bank in advance 13 Consider sending an introductory letter first 14 State in the letter that you will be making a follow up call 15 Batch your calls in clusters of ten at a time 16 Make the calls in a quiet back office with no interruptions 17 If you can consider recording a dummy call so as you can hear what you sound like. 18 Make sure you get some type of movement on every call – even if it’s a “no thanks”. 19 If you can get an introduction all the better 20 Measure your outcomes 21 Ensure you are permitted to make unsolicited calls to the business owner e.g. that they aren’t on a protected database. 22 If possible, avoid leaving phone messages for the contact if they are unavailable, as it makes it easy to filter out further calls. Try and call back. © Evolve Consultants 2010 48
    • Notes: © Evolve Consultants 2010 49
    • Chapter 4Using Email as part of the Sales ProcessSales professionals are using emails more and more to as a sales media. Whether,it’s to deliver a specific sales proposal or to try and “cold call” a potential sales target– email is being used for it.Does email prospecting work?If done correctly it can be an effective tool for obtaining new customers.However, a recent survey conducted by global Internet advertising companywww.Doubleclick.com, suggested that 55% of e-mail recipients considered amessage to be spam if it was generic and bore no relation to their businesschallenges. This was also true where the mails were being sent to existingcustomers.Email as part of the Sales Process: Some Key Points to Remember Email is one way: This means it can’t be used as a stand alone sales tool.Email works best when it is part of an integrated prospecting strategy that alsoincluded networking, prospecting by phone, asking referrals etc. Email must befollowed up with some type of voice conversation with the sales target for it to work. Email has no tone: Emails are interpreted by the reader and some times not asintended by the sender. Always make sure the tone of your sales email is asintended Example: “I am the new photocopier sales representative in your area and I am just contacting you to see if you needed anything?”What tone does this message set for you? The words that come to mind for me arephrases like lazy, presumptuous and pushy. Is this the tone the sender intended? Itdoesn’t matter what was intended, because if the sales targets thinks the mail ispushy – then it is pushy and so is the seller. Permanent Record: Once you send an email you can’t take it or it’s contentsback. So you need to be very sure that(a) You want to send the email. © Evolve Consultants 2010 50
    • (b) That you are sending it to the right person.(c) That you understand their circumstances.(d) That you have hit the correct “note” with your composition.(e) Everything that you are suggesting is factually correct and something you can stand over.(f) You have no spelling or grammatical mistakes. The Email reflects on you and your organisation: If the email has lots ofspelling errors and typos then you are deemed to be sloppy and unprofessional andso are your company.Whey should you consider sending a prospecting email to a sales target? When you can’t reach that sales target by phone. When you can’t get a personal introduction to that sales target. When your approach is purely speculative. When you intend following up the email with other sales and marketing initiatives. When you have their correct email protocol. While email is part of your prospecting “kit bag” be aware it is no substitute for speaking with an actual sales target or suspect.The Rules for writing and sending effective sales EmailsRemember, everyday your sales target gets twenty or thirty emails from people justlike you. So what’s going to get them to read your mail as opposed to deleting itwithout opening it? Here are some issues to get you thinking.The Facts of Email Life 1: Most people read emails in less than 20 seconds. 2: Most people only read an email once. 3: Never send an attachment with your e-mail. Sales targets who don’t know you are not going to open a file from a stranger and risk getting a virus on their PC.Focus on the potential Buyer NeedsIf you make a generic sales pitch your email will be interpreted as spam. Nodifferent to the opening statement of your telephone prospecting call, your emailmust have a hook or a W.I.I.F.M angle in its construction. Dont talk about you, yourcompany or your sales offerings. Instead, focus on their issues, concerns, problemsand challenges. © Evolve Consultants 2010 51
    • Personalise every email.Decisions makers must know immediately that the e-mail was written just for themand not sent to 100 other people. Mention your research. Highlight a triggeringevent. Reference a referral.Keep it short and sweet.As mentioned earlier, you have less than 20 seconds to capture the attention of apotential sales prospect. After the first couple sentences, they decide if theyll deleteit, forward it or respond.Make it readable from the preview window.Most people do a quick scan of their messages in the preview window beforeopening them. If your message is longer than this, make it shorter.Start a conversation.Your goal is to engage decision makers in an on-line discussion. In order to do this,you have to give them something they can respond to. Ask a question, invite them toan event, and see if theyd be interested in an information resource on your website.Focus on creating the dialogue.Dont send emails too frequently.It annoys people and makes your emails more likely to be summarily deleted.Hook them with a compelling subject line."Free PC Security Audit” will get your email deleted as recipients will be thinking thatthere is a “catch attached to the concept of a free offer” or that your mail is justspam. However using a subject line along the lines of, "Want to know how you canimprove the speed and reliability of your computer network?" might get them to readon as it’s more intriguing.Tactics for how you can use email as part of the sales process © Evolve Consultants 2010 52
    • Use email as a follow up tool.After you meet someone at a networking event follow up with an email. Similarly,after you phone someone, meet someone, or send them a physical document bypost follow up by email. Thank them, tell them to expect the post, and talk aboutnext steps etc. Use email to gather information about decision makers or company protocols.Gather information about who the correct decision maker is for your product offering;get their email address and direct dial contact telephone numbers via email. Use email to get referrals and testimonials Ask clients to introduce you to people in their circle of influence who may requireyour service. Refer to their world“I was in with your customer at his garden centre at Naas and I see you have all yourgarden furniture on display throughout the place”“I was behind one of your Articulated Trucks on the M50 yesterday ” © Evolve Consultants 2010 53
    • ExampleSubject Line: Can you assist me with some information please?Conor,I heard you interview on Newstalk Radio last weekend in relation to your expansionplans for your DIY business. It was a very impressive interview.Depending on your time frame for your new DIY superstore there is a possibility wemight be able to help you get the best possible price for kitting out the building withshelving units. I’m with Como Retail Fittings, and we specifically help companies in the retail sector toreduce the necessity of having to stockpile large amounts of surplus product lines inyour storeroom because of the electronic stock counting system built into our shelvingunits. If you think our shelving systems might free up working capital and simplify yourreordering process, would you be able to direct me towards the person who isresponsible for looking after the superstore kit out. Any help you could provide would bevery greatly appreciated.Many Thanks,Johnny Perry,Como Retail FittingsLow pressure start asking for help as opposed to making a sales pitchRather than offering specific solutions, the writer is trying to grab the attention andinterest of the reader. In other words, the e-mail is about the receiver, not thesender.This reinforces that the writer’s company solves problems and provides insurancesolutions.This statement expresses the warmth of the writer’s gratitude in advance. © Evolve Consultants 2010 54
    • And some tips on writing style and grammar Subject line should be a request to act Keep paragraphs short. Watch font size. Use white space. Use boldface or underlining for emphasis. Use bullet points. Be concise. Avoid jargon. Use spelling checker. Check list for running an email campaign 1 Never send an attachment with your e-mail. Prospects who don’t know you are not going to open a file and risk a virus. 2 If you are sending an e-mail, send it from a named individual, not a company. 3 Always have your company name, web site URL, telephone number and name in the e-mail signature. 4 When sending an unsolicited e-mail, keep it short. It should be less than four paragraphs. 5 When sending an e-mail, always use bullets and numbers in the body. 6 Always describe in your e-mail how your offering can increase income, decrease expenses or manage risks for the recipient. 7 Always name people who refer you on, providing you have their permission to do so. 8 Always include an action step for the prospect to take or an action you will take. 9 The subject line of your e-mail should be a short sentence and or it should mention something that will intrigue your prospect © Evolve Consultants 2010 55
    • Chapter 5Preparation for Sales MeetingsWhen we say face to face meeting with a sales prospect, we mean an on site meetingwith a qualified decision resulting from a previous contact. Meetings are the key tomoving to the next stage of your sales pipeline. However there are three main reasonsmany sellers make poor use of meetings; They don’t invest enough time preparing for the meeting. They don’t understand the components of an effective initial sales meeting. They focus on their own offering – not the prospective needs.Here are some guidelines for preparing for meetings:Step 1: - Person / company researchIf it’s a sizeable opportunity, learn as much as you can about them in advance. In ameeting with a potential prospect, your knowledge of their business is the first thing thatdifferentiates you from most of your competitors. Plus, by understanding what isimportant to them, you’re able to ask intelligent questions and align your offering withtheir needs. Key headings to research / investigate under are: 1. Primary business (Make sure you know what they do / area of their business that they specialise in etc. 2. Market segments (Their competition, their geographical spread etc) 3. Their customers (Have you any mutual clients) 4. Any key strategic initiatives (Media coverage etc.) 5. How they use your offering.Step 2: Identify possible conversation anglesAfter completing your research, identify where you might have a positive impact on yourtargeted person / company. Based on your knowledge of their operation, answer thefollowing questions: • How are they handling things without your offering? • What kinds of problems or challenges might they be facing because of how they’re currently doing things? • Looking at their problems, challenges or gaps that may be present, what are the potential business implications? © Evolve Consultants 2010 56
    • • What opportunities might you be able to present to them. • If this person / company used your services, what business value would they realize? What difference could it make? • When was the last time they reviewed their current offering / arrangements?Step 3: Plan your questionsEffective questions are essential to demonstrate that you’re committed to helping themachieve their goals and remove obstacles to success. It’s imperative to write out yourquestions ahead of time and take them to the meeting. If you neglect this step, it’s easyto slip into a “pitch” mode that customers detest.Good questions uncover information about their current situation, the problems andgaps they’re experiencing, and the business ramifications of how they’re currentlyhandling things and the pay-off for making a change. Exercise:Please list 10/12 questions you should ask at a first meeting with a decision maker in alaw firm.1.23.4.5.6.7.8.9.10.11.12. © Evolve Consultants 2010 57
    • Step 4: Plan your meeting outcomeAs a result of this meeting, what is the logical next step? Research into sales success,shows that if you’ve defined an appropriate desired outcome for your sales meetingprior to the meeting, you’re much more likely to achieve it. Ask yourself what movementdo you wish to create at this meeting?Step 5: Know who you are meeting.Make sure you know the names and responsibilities of everyone you are going to meet..Step 6: Preparing your product presentationNothing should ever left to chance. Gary Player, the world famous golfer, was onceasked what the secret to his success was. Player replied, “The better I prepare theluckier I get!”So here are some tips for preparing your support sales material.(a) Your sales support material: Make sure your support material and examples arerelevant to the industry of the prospect. Don’t give them the old A to Z – you’ll losethem!(b) Your brief case / folder: Should be clean on the outside and organised on theinside.(c) Business cards: Always ensure you carry a supply of up to date (with correctphone numbers etc) in your brief case.(d) Your sales ‘support’ documentationShould be branded with your logo and titled with the name of your prospect’s company.(If possible)(e) No spelling mistakesMake sure you spell the prospect’s name correctly.Step 7: Mental preparation - body languageIn sales, saying what you mean isnt always enough. You have to show it. Sales peoplelooking for that successful outcome should keep the following body language tips in © Evolve Consultants 2010 58
    • mind:Nothing crossed.Keep legs, feet, and arms open. This translates to honesty, saying, "I have nothing tohide."Leaning forward.Moving closer shows curiosity and intensity. Leaning back demonstrates aloofness orrejection.Direct eye contact.In business circles, this is a sign of strong character.Handshake.A good handshake reaches all the way into the other persons hand. In addition, matchthe prospects pressureAppropriate dress codeBlend it, don’t stick out! Look professional – be conservative and polish those shoes.The importance of body language in sales lies in the fact that many buyers are eitherunsure of, or reluctant to openly communicate their intentions. So you must be able toread their body language to tell you what their words do not say. What makes salesbody language so challenging is that it must be taken in the context of the situation andprior relationship you have with the person. © Evolve Consultants 2010 59
    • Table 9: Checklist for Preparing for a Sales Meeting1st Meeting Plan for:Sales Prospect ___________________________Contact Name: ___________________________Contact Role/Responsibility: ___________________________Desired Meeting Outcome: What is logical next step if all goes well?______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________I. Getting started Introductions Who do we know in common? What business do we already have from their industry or locality Who do they currently do business with?2. What is the agenda for the meeting?3. Which product / services do I think might be relevant to this sales prospect?______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________4. Focusing on the Customer (Questions I will ask)1.2.3.4.5.6.7.8. © Evolve Consultants 2010 60
    • 5. Which solutions do I think I will be promoting and why?6. If things go well, what will be the next logical step in this sales process?____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ © Evolve Consultants 2010 61
    • Notes / Actions: © Evolve Consultants 2010 62
    • Chapter 6Meetings with Sales ProspectsEffective sales meetings are focused around your prospective customers and what’simportant to them – not your software solutions and demonstrations. Good salesmeetings generally follow a simple, proven process. However, unless sellers stick to it,it’s really easy to get off track.Table 10: Best Practice Meeting StructureStep Activity What should be happening 1 Introduction Introductions Small talk – around areas of commonality Small talk around observations about their business 2 Permission to Question to ask permission to ask some questions proceed with agenda Announce your preferred structure for meeting Ask for agreement 3 Qualifying the sales Business related questions opportunity (Fact Need related questions (As applied to your offering) Find) Supplier related questions 4 Summarising the Repeat back your understanding of their sales opportunity circumstances and priorities as it relates to your product suite 5 Presenting your Follow their sequence of priorities and issues solution or option Use their words and phrases Give examples Do the maths / present numbers Get agreement on individual benefits and solutions before you move to next aspect of your presentation Maximise potential gain / opportunity 6 Gain feedback from Ask the question – “Do you think you will benefit from option presented my proposal” 7 Close / Ask for Next “Great, so based on what you have said, I think the next Step step might be to ” 8 Objection Handling You may have to handle objections or trade concessions (If you have the autonomy) 9 Close the Deal Ask for the business © Evolve Consultants 2010 63
    • 1. IntroductionBusiness customers don’t always have a lot of time for meaningless chitchat. Becordial and friendly, but business-focused at all times. *Small talk may or may nottake place depending on the prospects style and demeanour. Some Pointers on connecting with people at the start of a meeting Maintain confident open body language. When you say hello – don’t forget to smile! If the prospect offers you something (tea / water) accept it! If you sit down – sit ‘square on’ to your prospect (don’t slouch) Look around the room especially at pictures, photos and ‘trophies’ – for some common topics of interest unconsciously asking now. You may be able to identify sporting hobbies or business club memberships via photographs, awards and plaques. Don’t talk about yourself unless it contributes to the process. Respect the prospect’s time - its as valuable as yours is! If possible mention mutual acquaintances if appropriate. Match the prospects mood and demeanourRemember that prospects are constantly asking themselves, "Why should I give youmy time?" The above questions keep prospects focused on their needs, problems andconcerns and off your products, features and selling style. Secondly, it showsprospects you are more interested in them than you are in just selling something,anything, to them. This is one of the best ways to build trust and rapport in anyrelationship -- by being more interested in them than you.2. Permission to Proceed & Your AgendaBefore you get started, double check to see if times have changed since you set upthe meeting. Reconfirm the purpose of the meeting to ensure there are nomisunderstandings. And ask permission to ask questions next.“So as I can work out how I might best help you, may I ask you some questionsfirstly?”3. Qualifying the Sales Opportunity (Fact Find)In selling, your ability to ask qualify effectively is highly correlated with sales success.Good questions demonstrate your expertise and enhance your credibility as a trusted © Evolve Consultants 2010 64
    • sales advisor. And, the best questions you can ask are highly provocative – ones yourprospects cant possibly answer without seriously considering their business situation.Therefore, in order to be able to present compelling and relevant case for moving toyour organization the more information you have about the prospect’s situation, thebetter positioned you are to suggest an appropriate solution. If you don’t get enoughinformation it ensures you always have more meetings than necessary or that you willhave to focus purely on price to get the business.There are 3 Categories of Questions:(1) Business questions(2) Need related questions(3) Supplier questionsBusiness Questions: “Tell me what do you actually do here?” “Who are your customers? “Why do people they select you as a ‘supplier’?” “I see by your website you have been expanding since 2006 - what do you attribute your growth to?” “What changes will take place in your firm over the next 18-24 months?” “What is your competition doing that youd like to be doing more of?” “What challenges has the downturn brought to your business?”Need Related Questions: “Can I just recap on the information that you gave me over the phone?”? “What solutions have you currently in place?” “What does your ideal X look like?” When was the last time you reviewed the service contract?” “Why are you considering such a solution at present?” “Why are you considering changing supplier?” “Which issues are you most concerned about?” “What have you used in the past?” “How would the business cope if you lost the use of X for 3 months?” “What will happen if you don’t put a solution in place?” “If this solution is working for you, how will you benefit most from it?”Supplier Questions: “What criteria for choosing a supplier for this service?” “If you could change anything about your current solution what would it be”? “Apart from price what else is important to you in an supplier?” © Evolve Consultants 2010 65
    • 3. Summarise your understanding of the issues. It’s important to show the prospect that you have been listening to their answers to your questions and also that you understand their issues, opportunities and concerns. The best way of doing this is to repeat back their answers in the form of an edited summary. This should always be done in order of priority and should finish with a question to the prospect to confirm that your summary is correct. “Is that correct?” “Have I missed anything?” 4. Rules for presenting your product offering Present what the prospect needs Your presentation should only be based upon the problems and needs you have exposed at the qualification stage of the interview. (Don’t information dump) Prioritize based on what the prospect has said. Focus on the areas of most importance to the prospect“So firstly, you said your number one priority was to reduce your monthly expenditureimmediately. words is how we could doby the prospect Use the Here and phrases used that for you.” Example: “So when your new fleet of Volvo lorries arrive on Wednesday...” Get on going feedback as you present During the presentation, you need confirmation that the product is going to meet the prospects needs and expectations. Ask questions that will give you conditioned responses as to how the prospect feels about your product at that particular moment of the presentation. Remember, positive affirmations are like a snowball going down hill. If the prospect agrees with you on an on going basis, their positive mindset about your service gains momentum and they will be unlikely to object to your proposition at the conclusion of your presentation. “How does that sound to you so far?” © Evolve Consultants 2010 66
    • 5. Gain feedback from options presentedExample “Based on what I have suggested, how does that fleet policy sound to you?6. Close / Ask for NextOnce the prospect has confirmed that the product will meet their needs and they arecomfortable with your terms and conditions etc, you need to be prepared with acommitment (closing) question that verifies whether or not they will take the next step.Make sure you summarize what you learned about the key challenges facing theprospect as related to your offering. Check with the prospect to ensure you heard himor her correctly. Then based on their response suggest a next a step. End by simplysuggesting the next logical thing that the prospect and you need to do in order todetermine if your offering is a good fit for what they need.7. Handling Stalls:You may have to handle objections or trade concessions (If you have the autonomy)8. Closing the Deal / Taking the Next StepMany sellers find closing or asking for the business a very stressful experience.However, as suggested in this workbook, closure should be taking place at eachindividual step of the sales process and again at each individual stage of the salesmeeting. During the sales meeting you close continually by looking for regularfeedback and on going commitment from the prospect. So in reality closing the dealshould be the next logical step both the seller and prospect want to take next – asopposed to it being a “let’s have a big drum roll and go for it experience”.Sometimes you won’t be able to close the deal there and then. Sometimes you willhave to put the proposal in writing. Before you put the proposal in writing you musthave clearly gotten answers to the following questions: Who is the decision maker? Who else might be reading the proposal? What should be included in the proposal? Why? How long should the proposal be? What information do they need to make a decision? What criteria are they using to make the decision? © Evolve Consultants 2010 67
    • How do you compare to the other suppliers at this stage? What commercial outcome will your offering help them attain? What is their budget? How they feel about your price? (This means you must tell them your price) What other concerns might they have? How they intend evaluating the technical aspects of your proposal? When will they be making their decision? What will the next step be if they like your submission?Following UpSometimes regardless of how well your sales meeting goes, the prospect insists upon aquotation or further documentation being sent to them, before they will make a decision.While this is not an ideal step, it is the prospect’s right to ask for this additionalinformation. So you send out the literature as agreed, but then on the follow-up theprospect appears to have a bout of amnesia, barely remembering who you are, andclaiming not to have received or looked at your literature.Better again, when you make that follow up call, the only thing you can think of saying is“I am calling to see if you received that quotation I sent you?”, or “I am calling to see ifyou got the chance to read the brochure?” Does this sound familiar?If you’ve ever been in either of these scenarios and most of us have, chances are thatyour previous meeting didn’t end strongly, with a clear summary of the situation, andwith a prospect commitment of what will happen before and during the next follow upconversation.The success of your follow-up is directly proportionate to how specific a commitment (Inprinciple) the seller gets from the sales suspect on the initial contact. You must get acontingent commitment at the end of the 1st contactIn other words, if your initial sales meeting ends with, “So I’ll send you that brochure andI’ll give you a call at the end of next week”, virtually ensures your demise on the nextcontact. And rightfully so; there’s nothing specific here, no commitment, no connectivitybetween this call and the next, no agreed next step other that the activity of posting aletter, and no confirmation of who’s to do what next.Assign HomeworkIf you can you need to assign “homework” to the prospect.” If they are truly interested, © Evolve Consultants 2010 68
    • you need to get their agreement as to what theyll do between now and the next verbalcontact. For example, if theyll talk it over with their boss, find out specifically whenthey will be meeting the boss. Ask them if they intend recommending your offering inthe meeting. Get a commitment that if their boss likes the price and product offering,that the next step will be to put the proposal in writing and sign contracts.This commitment in principle is critical, since if they wont agree to do some homeworkbefore the next contact, its a sign that they really dont see enough value in taking thataction.At the very minimum you should get commitment they will read your material andprepare questions, analyse the costs and evaluate it according to criteria you’ve bothdiscussed, take your proposal to head office with their recommendation, and so on.This is critical. If you don’t get a commitment for action, this person might not everbecome a customer.The type of questions you might ask are as follows; “If the proposal reflects our conversation do you think you will be going ahead?” Are you going to recommend the our offering to your boss?” “What will happen on your end when you receive the quotation?” “What will happen between now and our next conversation?”Be specific about the follow up:Set a specific time and date for the next call and link it to the commitment that theyhave given you. “Angie, by when do you think you will have met with the FinanceDepartment to get figures on what you spent last year on the service?” Not only willyou set a date and time, but you have their commitment, again, that they’ll performtheir homework. © Evolve Consultants 2010 69
    • Chapter 6Tips for Sales ProposalsGolden Rule: Fundamentally, any proposal to do business should always reflect previousconversations with the prospect.The effectiveness of your sales proposal will depend on the quality of information youhave gotten from the client at your pervious sales meetings. Therefore, let’s take a stepback and look at the type information you must have before you attempt to write thatproposal.First point we need to make is that there should be no surprises in the proposal.Effectively, a proposal is conformation of what you have already verbally agreed withthe prospect at your last meeting. As mentioned in the chapter on conducting the salesmeeting, you must have verbally established the following with your prospect before youattempt to write the proposal: Who is the decision maker? Who else might be reading the proposal? What should be included in the proposal? Why? How long should the proposal be? What information do they need to make a decision? What criteria are they using to make the decision? How do you compare to the other suppliers at this stage? What commercial outcome will your offering help them attain? What is their budget? How they feel about your price? (This means you must tell them your price) What other concerns might they have? How they intend evaluating the technical aspects of your proposal? When will they be making their decision? What will the next step be if they like your submission?The answers to the above questions are important because they enable you gauge howserious the prospect is about doing business with you. Furthermore, it enables youidentify decision making processes and time frames. It also helps you get to objectionsbefore they become major obstacles. Lastly, and most importantly the information willenable you write a prospect-focused proposal as opposed to a ‘sales pitch’. © Evolve Consultants 2010 70
    • Your proposal must be written from the prospect’s perspective, be framed around howthe prospect sees as issues, and focus upon what the prospect expects from a possiblepurchase with FBD. So we can safely say a tailored proposal is based on realexpectations as opposed to a business pitch. Pitches normally fail.A sales proposal should reflect the capability and ability of you and the organisationmaking the proposition. Remember, for a prospect to consider doing business with yourorganisation, they must be satisfied that you: Understand their issues Understand their unique set of circumstances and structures Can deliver what you say you can deliver Won’t make their current scenario and worse then it already is.We suggest you consider using the following sections as headers for your overallstructure:1. The current situationThe prospect needs to know that you understand their structure, culture, andmarketplace – a.k.a. – their current situation. We suggest a paragraph outlining thesituation, as you the seller understand it to be.2. The purpose of the proposalThe prospect wants to know what you are going to do. They also want you to confirmthat your proposal is consistent with what you verbally agreed at your last salesmeeting. In reality, they need your checklist of offerings to measure against theirrequirements, their proposals, and something that allows them to get comfortable withthe value / results they can derive from your price.3. Your offeringEffectively this is where you suggest the options / policies / products / steps / servicesyou believe will help the prospect get the result they require. This is where you connectyour offering with their requirement (The purpose of the proposal). It should clearly statewhat action you wish to take and give enough explanation to help the prospect make adecision on what you are proposing.4. Results!Paint a picture of what results they can expect to attain from your offering. Definesuccess for them. Help the prospect set up benchmark that represents improvement. © Evolve Consultants 2010 71
    • Make it easy for the client to see the result. Lastly, remember the easier it is for theprospect to visualise the “fruits of your work” the easier it will be for them to buy it!5. Track recordThe Greek philosopher Socrates once said, “The best indicator of future performance isyou’re past experience”. Often the biggest fear a prospect has about making apurchasing decision is the fear of picking someone who can’t deliver what he or she haspromised. This means that where a seller can point a prospect towards evidence ofwhere they have done this before and that it’s a straightforward exercise for thecompany – this gives the buyer peace of mind. Don’t write testimonials. Give them alisting of prospects (and their phone numbers) in similar scenarios and suggest that theyphone them up. 6. Time scalesGet the prospect off the fence of indecision. There is never a good time to start a newproject. Outline the importance of time frames by linking timing of the stages in theproposal with results the client wants to achieve. You must show that you understandthe importance of target dates and show that you can hit them with ease. Your clientmay have a significant amount of ‘knock-on’ business riding on your ability to deliver onyour proposal. This can often mean your timing is as important (if not more so) thanyour price.7. Supporting technical data.This section should detail the specifications and detail on the policies you aresuggesting, as in the caveats, terms and conditions. Once again, these should not besurprises since you worked them out long before you wrote the proposal. It should alsobe written in a language that the prospect can relate to. There should not be a surprisefor the prospect. Before you close the meeting that precedes the proposal make sure todiscuss your pricing and try and get agreement in principle before you agree to write theproposal. © Evolve Consultants 2010 72
    • © Evolve Consultants 2010 73