151 quick ideas to increase sales

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151 quick ideas to increase sales

  1. 1. Chapter title here 151 Quick Ideas toIncrease Sales By Linda Sparks Franklin Lakes, NJ 1
  2. 2. 151 Quick Ideas to ... fill in blank Copyright © 2006 by Linda SparksAll rights reserved under the Pan-American and International CopyrightConventions. This book may not be reproduced, in whole or in part, inany form or by any means electronic or mechanical, includingphotocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrievalsystem now known or hereafter invented, without written permissionfrom the publisher, The Career Press. 151 Quick Ideas to Increase Sales EDITED BY JODI BRANDON TYPESET BY ASTRID DERIDDER Cover design by The Visual Group Printed in the U.S.A. by Book-mart PressTo order this title, please call toll-free 1-800-CAREER-1 (NJ and Canada:201-848-0310) to order using VISA or MasterCard, or for furtherinformation on books from Career Press. The Career Press, Inc., 3 Tice Road, PO Box 687, Franklin Lakes, NJ 07417 www.careerpress.com Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication DataSparks, Linda, 1958- 151 quick ideas to increase sales / by Linda Sparks. p. cm. Includes index. ISBN-13: 978-1-56414-915-2 ISBN-10: 1-56414-915-3 1. Selling. I. Title. II. Title: One hundred fifty-one quick ideasto increase sales. III. Title: One hundred and fifty-one quick ideasto increase sales. HF5438.25.S675 2006 658.85—dc22 2006022404 2
  3. 3. ContentsHow to Use This Book 9Introduction: Putting Sales Into Perspective 11 1. Business Development Is the Bottom Line 13 2. Marketing 101: Lots of Ways to Influence Sales 14 3. The Three-Phase Business Development Process 15 4. Trust- and Rapport-Building—It’s Still Sales 16 5. The Formal Sales Cycle: Parts Are Parts 18 6. They May Be Clients Already—But It’s Still Sales 19 7. Clarify What You’re Really Selling 20 8. Understand the Lifetime Value of Your Customers 21 9. Understand the Impact Business Goals Have on Prospecting 22 10. Understand How YOU Add Value 23 11. Inventory Your Business Development Assets 24 12. Round Up Collateral Materials 26 13. Get More Customers—the Good Kind 27 14. Uncover Your Path to Sales 28 15. Dump the Dead Weight 29 16. Do You Have Brand? 30 17. Share Your Bounty With the Community 31 18. All Roads Lead to Sales 32 19. Advertising Has a Place 33 20. Public Relations Are Rich in Paybacks 34 21. They Call It Earned Media for a Reason 35 22. Publicize Your Publicity 36 23. The Media Is Your Friend—Not Your Mother 37
  4. 4. 24. The Community Wants to Know and Love You 3825. Websites Are More Than 24/7 Brochures 3926. Pricing Strategies Are Way More Than a Discount Program 4027. Cross-Promotions Can Help You Make New Friends 4128. Let Trade Shows Show You the Way 4229. Direct Sales Aren’t Always Direct 4330. Cold Calls Can Warm Things Up—or, “The Cracker Jack Moment” 4431. A Territory Management Approach Lends Perspective 4532. Direct Mail Still Delivers 4633. Publishing Your Ideas Increases Exposure 4734. Cause Marketing Takes It to Heart 4835. Speak and Grow Rich…in Prospects and Sales 5036. Customer Referrals Are Rare Birds 5137. Event Marketing Is a Hot Property 5238. Find the Synergy Inherent in Your Own Programs 5339. Develop Sales Objectives for Improved Performance 5540. Identify the Most Efficient Strategic Approach Ideas 5641. Selling More to Existing Clients 5742. Going Beyond the Transaction 5943. Quicker Closes Equal More Time for More Sales 6044. Organize a Collaborative Workplace 6145. Innovation Gets Attention 6246. Time Organize Your Business 6347. Momentum Markers 6448. Sales: It’s Not About You 65
  5. 5. 49. Create an Opportunity-Focused Strategic Account Profile 6750. Go Wide and Deep With Key Contacts 6851. Mission Possible—Mission Profitable 6952. Market Position Matters 7053. Be a Budget Bandit 7154. Are You Speaking Their Language? 7255. Customer Satisfaction Connects Us All 7356. Knowledge of the Competition Inspires Confidence 7457. Industry Insights Shine a Bright Light 7558. When Opportunity Knocks, Who Will Get the Door? 7659. Income and Expense Streams Mean Business 7860. Staffing Gaps Cut a Wide Path 7961. Interesting Fellows 8062. Short-Term Goals Are Golden 8163. Big Red Truck 8264. Tap Into the Momentum Present in the Universe 8365. Referrals Come Easier With Celebration 8466. Regulate This! 8567. Patriotism Serves Up American Consumers 8768. It’s Fair to Say 8869. Partnering With Worthy Causes Helps You Make New Friends 8970. A Mother’s Day Makeover 9071. Information Overload Meets Relevant Intelligence 9272. Be Bold: Stand for Something 9373. Be Real: Share Yourself and Your Stories 9474. Be Kind: Show Genuine Interest and Concern 95
  6. 6. 75. Talk Easily About Money: Pricing 9676. Talk Easily About Money: Add-On Projects 9777. Talk Easily About Money: Invoicing 9878. Understand the Value of a No-Sale 10079. Retail Stores Put Up a Good Front 10180. The Principle of the Loss Leader 10281. Convenience Stores Give You Gas 10382. Popular Brands Use Celebrities to Strengthen Credibility 10483. So Many Choices, So Little Time 10584. Inventors Use Infomercials to Tell a Complex Story 10685. Big Tickets Get Big Thanks 10786. A Chocolate on Your Pillow 10887. Independent Consultants Go One-on-One 10988. Consultants Live Their Work 11089. Home Builders Do the Work 11190. Big Business Inspires Big Ideas 11391. Marketing Is a Hard Number 11492. Coffee Shops Invite Us to Hang Out 11593. Free Cell Phones Aren’t Free 11694. A Web-Based Business Thrives on Visitors 11795. Converting From Free to Fee 11996. Affiliate Programs Multiply Your Efforts 12097. Events Accomplish Success With Grassroots Efforts 121 98. Events Rally Corporate Support 122 99. Not-for-Profits Get People to Help Them Sell 123100. Galleries and Museums Host Special Showings 124101. Do You Want BBQ With That Windshield? 125102. Bloggers Stir the Water 126103. The Bookstore Bonanza 127104. Scrip Bank Multiplies the Love 129
  7. 7. 105. Media Outlets Take Their Own Medicine 130106. Retirement Communities Give Away Vacations 131107. Harley Davidson Builds Community 132108. You Can Do It, We Can Help! 134109. Organizations Have Long Memory 135110. Real Estate Agents Do Open Houses 136111. Buffet Style Feeds the Masses 137112. Assisted Living Assists Future Prospects 138113. More People Selling Is Better 139114. Make Sure Everyone Knows What You Sell 140115. Keep Employees Engaged 141116. Develop Your Corporate Information Bite 143117. Suppliers Can Help You Sell 144118. Customers Can Help You Sell 145119. The Community Can Help You Sell 146120. 100 Percent Participation in Intelligence-Gathering 147121. An Attitude for Business Development 148122. Skills for Business Development 149123. Everyday Things That Impact Sales 150124. How to Lose a Customer 151125. Product Category Makeover 153126. Microwave Customers 154127. Target Market Overview 155128. Plan Ahead to Keep Them Talking 156129. 5 Levels of Deep 158130. Study Solutions to Your Customer’s Problems 159131. Build Memorable Sales Presentations 160132. Daily Nourishment Essentials 161133. Stay in Front of Your Clients Every Week 163134. Invest in Yourself 164135. Become an Expert (It’s Easier Than You Think) 165136. Keep Your Promises 166
  8. 8. 137. Use the Buddy System 167138. Go on Retreat 168139. When You Feel the Pull 169140. Changing Places 170141. Reality Check 101: Income 172142. Reality Check 102: Target Market 173143. Reality Check 103: Approach 174144. We Manage What We Measure 175145. Leading and Lagging Indicators 176146. Measure What Matters to Customers 178147. Measure What Matters in Your Business 179148. Say Thank You—Often 180149. Live Thankfully 181150. A View of Abundance 182151. Celebrate and Reward Success 183Appendix 185Index 187About the Author 191
  9. 9. How to Use This Book Every quick idea in this book has been selected to directlyor indirectly help you gain and retain customers, create rela-tionships, and build a successful business. Don’t try to implement all 151 ideas at once, because somewon’t be a good fit right now. Read through all 151 quick ideasand select only those that can really make a difference at themoment. Don’t worry, you’ll go back and review the othersperiodically. Label your ideas… Implement now. Review again in 30 days. Pass the idea along to _________. Involve your staff in selecting and implementing these ideas,and don’t forget to give credit for their success! Invest in addi-tional copies of this book and distribute them among your staff.Get everyone involved in selecting and recommending variousquick ideas. Revisit this book every 90 days. As your business changes,you will find new quick ideas that might suit you better nowthat competition is heating up. Remember, all the ideas in this book have been proven inbusinesses across the United States and around the world. Theyhave worked for others and will work for you! 9
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  11. 11. Introduction: Putting Sales Into Perspective Because you are reading this book, it is clear that you arelooking for new ways to improve your sales. Let’s begin ourwork together with something that will change the way yousee the role of the salesperson and the ways in which thesales team interacts with the rest of your organization. Toincrease your sales you need to gain a broader perspective ofyour organization that will allow you to increase the resourcesyou can bring to bear on the sales function. At its lowest common denominator, sales is an individualtransaction performed between the salesperson and acustomer—essentially, a single action of selling. What you needto keep in mind is that each individual sales transaction is thecombined effort of many people—every employee in yourorganization; inputs received from your suppliers; the feedbackand support from customers and prospects; and the veryessence of the communities in which you produce and sellyour solutions. Add to this the particular place your product/service holds in the range of possible solutions available toyour customers and you are beginning to see how truly richyour new perspective should be. If all of these assets are to be understood and brought tobear in your sales efforts, then you will need to operationalizethis new perspective. You will want to: Clarify the roles that non-sales employees play in the business development process. 11
  12. 12. 151 Quick Ideas to Increase SalesReview the entire marketing mix in your organiza-tion for new and creative ways to connect withcustomers and prospects to make more sales.Make sure everyone in your organization isknowledgeable about and friendly toward the salesprocess.Recognize that the sales function is a businessdevelopment continuum that ranges from indirectpromotions to people you don’t even know yet, toproactive customer and account management. 12
  13. 13. 1 Business Development Is the Bottom Line If a sale is an individual transaction, then the organiza-tion’s overall sales function should embody a broader perspectivethat can be referred to as business development. It’s all aboutdeveloping new business for your organization. Business de-velopment principles should be known and carried out in everynook and cranny of the organization, and by just about every-one in the organization. It all works in a cycle. When your organization developsnew products or services, the goal is attracting and retainingspecific customers. Servicing customer accounts with hon-esty, accuracy, and integrity closes the loop on this cycle ofbusiness development by making sure that customers haveno reason to leaveyou and every reason Assignmentto stick around andprovide very valuable Develop a transaction mapreferrals. And finally, that tracks your products/servic-every strategic plan es. I challenge you to find anhas, at its core, goals element that cannot be tied toto acquire and retain business development. Separate-customers. Almost ly, create a process list that detailseverything done in the steps that make up your for-your organization has mal sales activities. Make this funa clear and practical by picking up a new box of cray-tie to good business ons and invite everyone in thedevelopment. organization to come by and add their own contributions. 13
  14. 14. 151 Quick Ideas to Increase Sales Documenting a complete business development continuumfor your organization will help everyone recognize their exist-ing inter-dependence. Epilogue The whole is worth far more than the sum of its parts. 2 Marketing 101: Lots of Ways to Influence Sales In order to make more sales, it’s a good idea to look at thewide range of methods you have available to influence cus-tomers and prospects. Often we lose sight of the fact that directsales activities represent only one of many essential elem-ents of an overall market-ing mix—one tool in thebusiness development Assignmenttoolbox. For some the Make a list of the ele-term sales has become ments you know of from yourpassé, even unseemly. marketing mix that impactThe term marketing has your business developmentbeen substituted in polite success. Rank them in orderconversation in order to of importance and add cate-protect sensitivities. But gories you don’t think arejust substituting the word covered here. Keep the list;marketing in place of by the time you finish thissales has not changed the book you’ll be adding more!reality of the situation. 14
  15. 15. Quick Ideas 2 to 3Sales must be made if your organization is going to continue tostay in business. Many things influence the prospect along the business de-velopment continuum, so it pays to understand the other elementsin the marketing mix and how they might help you to make asale. Some of the elements that make up a typical marketingmix are advertising, public relations, Websites, pricing strate-gies, cross promotions, trade shows, special events, direct sales,and publishing and speaking. Epilogue There are 64 colors in the crayon box, and all of the colors can help you make a nice picture. There are more elements than you think. 3 The Three-Phase Business Development Process In the grand scheme of things—business developmentthings, that is—there exists a basic, three-phase process: u Phase One: Getting to Know You u Phase Two: Formal Sales u Phase Three: Customer and Account Management Although it is easiest to describe this as a linear process, asif the prospect/customer moves along a flat continuum from 15
  16. 16. 151 Quick Ideas to Increase Salesone phase to the next, the fact is that all three phases representa dynamic series of transitions and feedback. Phase One startswith the organization floating its image and message in the pros-pect/customer pool. When the potential prospect recognizesthat your firm is one of its options for a solution to a problem,then we transition to Phase Two and Formal Sales. Once thesale is made we make the formal transition to Phase Three:Customer and Account Management. Because most organizations tend to be stronger in one phaseof the business development process than they are in the other two, the sales effort can sometimes lose momen- Assignment tum. It is important that Make a list of the everyone in the organiza- strengths and weaknesses tion understands how each you feel your organization of these phases plays out has in each of these phases. and the impact they each have on business develop- ment success. Epilogue Good things tend to come in threes. 4 Trust- and Rapport-Building— It’s Still Sales The first phase in business development begins with let-ting people get to know you. A great deal of the groundwork 16
  17. 17. Quick Ideas 3 to 4with prospects is laid out before you even get to meet them.They will make judgments about you based on your “brand.”Your brand is who and whatyou are in the eyes of others.How, when, and what pros- Assignmentpects learn about you, your Become active in aorganization, and your solu- professional, business,tions in this early stage can or community grouphave a dramatic impact on that will put you in prox-your success at moving them imity of your futureto sales. prospects, and let them For example, in a profes- get to know you.sional services environment,being known as a forward-thinking, approachable professional who participates openlyin a local business association may be the perfect ground-work for this phase. You and the future prospect may noteven know each other yet, but you have begun a path of trustby sharing a common interest and “bumping into each other”professionally. Most small businesses don’t have unlimited funds to per-form expensive marketing activities. Choosing how youpromote your organization in this phase will say a lot to po-tential prospects. Do you value similar things? Do you speaktheir language? The goal is to be well known to them by thetime they need your particular product or service. Epilogue Time is money. Be truly present in the community you wish to serve. 17
  18. 18. 151 Quick Ideas to Increase Sales 5 The Formal Sales Cycle: Parts Are Parts The formal sales phase of the business development con-tinuum is triggered when the prospect admits a specific needand recognizes your firm as a potential supplier of the solution.This is the point when a lead turns into a prospect. You willclose more sales if you recognize the distinct components ofthis phase and keep your actions on track. Discovery: Develop a systematic approach to gatheringthe customer information you need to develop a solution. Proposal: The proposal represents your offer of servicesor products in response to the prospect’s request for assis-tance. If you have performed a discovery process, you will beable to speak to the situation much more completely than yourcompetition. The proposal represents the technical aspects ofthe solution you propose. Presentation: The pre- sentation of the proposal Assignment document (or your product) Think about creative is your opportunity to con- ways to present your so- vince the prospect to choose lutions to prospects. Think your solution. Treat the pre- as a stage manager, an or- sentation as an important chestra conductor, or even appointment with your pros- a high school teacher pre- pect regardless of whether it paring an important lesson was pre-scheduled or not. for a group of preoccupied Build a case for your solu- teenagers. tion by demonstrating that 18
  19. 19. Quick Ideas 5 to 6you understand the prospect’s situation, the desire for thistype of product or service, and why your particular offer isthe one that offers maximum satisfaction. Epilogue What you have to offer is not nearly as important as what your prospect thinks of it. 6 They May Be Clients Already— But It’s Still Sales Once a sale has been made with a new customer you havetriggered the third phase of the business development continu-um: the customer/account management phase. It is importantto note that this is not the end of the continuum. Customersrepresent the best source of add-on sales and qualified refer-rals, and the level of operational feedback that drives innovationand fuels public relations efforts. They may be customers, butsome of your most productive sales activities will occur in andaround these accounts. Contracting: The prospect becomes a customer at themoment of agreement. Whether you have a retail transactionor a written agreement, or simply do business with a hand-shake, this represents an important transition in the relationship.The prospect has chosen you and can reinforce his or her owndecision by inviting others to choose you as well. 19
  20. 20. 151 Quick Ideas to Increase Sales Add-On Sales: Ifyou effectively engage Assignmentyour customer and do Analyze your customeryour job well, there will base and determine what per-often be new opportuni- centage of your sales comesties to serve. This is a from repeat customers or re-beautiful thing, but you ferrals from those customers.need to be prepared tohandle it. Plan ahead forthe potential needs of your customers and develop a proactiveapproach to recognize, quote, and close add-on business. Ifneeds fall outside your offerings, be prepared with a thoughtfulreferral. Customers as Champions: Nothing can help your salesmore than customers singing your praises, providing you withqualified referrals, and simply being a good partner. This finalelement in the business development continuum brings you fullcircle and places new leads directly into the trust and rapportphase of your program. Epilogue Treat customers as if they are your best prospects— because they are! 7 Clarify What You’re Really Selling A pile of rocks is just a pile of rocks, right? Why should weget all sentimental about a pile of rocks? What if this particularpile of rocks was going to become a stone path in the Johnsons’ 20
  21. 21. Quick Ideas 6 to 8backyard? What if the purpose of the path was for Mrs. Johnsonwhile she carried her infant son? The Johnsons needhelp choosing a product that Assignmentwill be appropriate for thispath. They may need in- Develop simple ques-stallation tips to make sure tions that you can use withthey get the best possible qualified prospects to estab-results. Many retailers lish a productive dialogue.would simply load the prod- Your goal should always beuct with no concern for to learn enough about theirhelping the customer make situation to help deliver thethe best choice. best possible solution. Customers rarely needthe products or services you sell. What they are really lookingfor are solutions to problems and new opportunities. Under-stand this simple truth and you will increase your sales. Epilogue Silence is not golden when it comes to your customers. 8 Understand the Lifetime Value of Your Customers In order to make the sales you desire, be prepared tomake the necessary investment. If there were a store thatsold customers—good customers—how much would you bewilling to spend? Consider this example. 21
  22. 22. 151 Quick Ideas to Increase Sales A local ladies’ department store wants to attract more pro-fessional women. These women spend an average of $150 oneach visit to the store. The store’s cost of goods sold is about50 percent, so its gross profit is $75 on each sale. On average,these women visit the store four times per year, so these par-ticular shoppers are each worth $300 in gross profits per year. If a client remains a regular for three years, she has a life- Assignment time value of $900. Perform the kind of How much can the de- analysis discussed here partment store afford to spend on a low, medium, and to acquire one of these highly high value account from desirable regular customers? your list of customers. How much advertising, direct See how much you can mail, or sales perks should it afford to spend. invest? Epilogue Make new friends, but keep the old—they are gold. 9 Understand the Impact Business Goals Have on Prospecting There was a marketing team for a statewide professionalassociation that was suffering from a constant barrage of newideas and demands from their president. As a thought leader inthe industry, he was constantly asking the marketing staff towork on new projects. This might have been fun and exciting if 22
  23. 23. Quick Ideas 8 to 10the old demands went awaywhen the new arrived—but Assignmentthey didn’t. Instead of picking a The boss was unwilling sales goal, try this back-to set clear business goals, wards planning approach.but the marketing team had Look at your budget and fig-to make a few assumptions ure out how many moreto maintain their sanity. customers you will need toThey needed to set base- achieve it.line goals for each of theorganization’s key incomestreams in order to keep their work in perspective. The teamestablished the following baseline factors relating to sales growthto help them to determine how much time and attention neededto be invested in acquiring new customers: u What are our primary revenue streams? u What does our account (customer) retention look like? Epilogue There are only so many hours in the day. Use a little creativity to determine the activities that will give you the best payoff. 10 Understand How YOU Add Value Every salesperson has a role in business development, andyou’ll likely make more sales when you fully understand yours. A salesperson at a value-added reseller (such as a com-puter store) helps the customer make sense of all the options. 23
  24. 24. 151 Quick Ideas to Increase SalesHe or she may find people willing to drive an extra distance tobuy from someone with special skills and knowledge. If youfind yourself in this type of role, keep yourself sharp and tunedinto the options, and you will retain your competitive edge. A salesperson for a contractor may have the Assignment role of managing deadlines Take a close look at the relating to a request for pro- business you’re in and write posal and demonstrating to down the ways you add val- the buying committee that ue for your customer. doing business with his firm is the best option. It would be wrong for him to get socaught up in the technical aspects of the proposal documentthat he lost track of his primary role as the salesperson. If you are a person who wears many hats inside the orga-nization, you will need to take special care when you shift intoyour sales role. Epilogue Knowing how you make a difference for your customers will keep you focused on important issues. 11 Inventory Your Business Development Assets Every organization has major assets that can be leveragedtoward developing new business. Instead of starting with the 24
  25. 25. Quick Ideas 10 to 11sales goals and performance shortfalls, take a look at someoften-overlooked assets and see how they can lead the way inyour sales strategy. Consider leveraging assets such as exist-ing customers, your staff and facilities, and your company’sreputation. A marketing company that has a staff of subject-matterexperts can develop a strategic approach to share informationwith the business community and allow qualified prospects achance to sample the type of expertise they could expect fromthis organization as paid counsel. White papers, articles in thelocal business publications, and informational Websites are justthe beginning. A hardware store with a busy street-front location and filledwith on-trend inventory can host a home-improvement programon a local radio station and let walk-in customers supply someof the program content. A celebrity shopper would add somefun. An event with a strongcharity cause and a largespectator following can in- Assignmentcrease participation or Make a list of your or-attendance by developing a ganization’s greatest assets.grassroots effort encourag- Consider how you can bringing experienced spectators them to bear on the businessto attend again, invite a development goals.neighbor, and help doublethe impact on the charity. Epilogue Leading with your best shot just might help you win the round. 25
  26. 26. 151 Quick Ideas to Increase Sales 12 Round Up Collateral Materials Communicating withyour key audiences will in- Assignmentcrease your sales. To lay the Get a three-ring bindergroundwork for developing and a set of tabs and collecta communications strategy, your samples. This will be-start by gathering samples come a reference guideof all the tools, tricks, and when you sit down with oth-tales that have been used in ers to establish a strategicthe past to communicate in- approach to increasing sales.formation to your audience. For example, organiza-tions that develop detailed proposals as part of their approachoften create works of art that never find their way into routinesales collaterals. Retailers tend to reminisce about that onerecord-breaking sale, but often fail to capture the principles ofthe offer, the details of the sales results, and the potential envi-ronmental factors that played a major part. Look for: existing customers lists; profiles and buying his-tories; market potential reports; internal and externalnewsletters; mission, vision, and value statements; business andmarketing plans; PowerPoint presentations; advertising copy;competitor analysis; annual reports; employee lists; organiza-tion charts; and financial statements. Nothing compares to sittingin a planning meeting and being able to provide a voice of rea-son because you have the facts right in front of you. Epilogue There’s no place like home to find the things that matter most and are most effective. 26
  27. 27. Quick Ideas 12 to 13 13 Get More Customers—the Good Kind As a salesperson, you make a big investment in developingnew business, so why not target more of the customers youwant? It’s easier to acquire good customers when you know whatyou’re looking for. Retailers with point-of-sale technology andcustomer-loyalty programs lead the pack in customer intelli- gence. Small professional services firms know their customers as well as the Assignment back of their hand. Work through your cli- Look for the natural ent list and make notes in two sorters in your customer columns. List what you like profiles and their buying about them in column one pattern. Don’t be worried and what you don’t in col- about what you don’t umn two. When you are know; focus on what you finished, highlight the ac- do know about your cus- counts that you’d like to tomers and highlight the replicate. Complete the as- elements that will help you signment in Idea 14 to help reach out to prospects target more of the custom- that mirror your favorite ers you desire. customers. Epilogue All customers are not created equal. It’s up to you to go after the type of customers you want. 27
  28. 28. 151 Quick Ideas to Increase Sales 14 Uncover Your Path to Sales Would you like to put yourself on a better path to sales?An industrial builder reviewed all their new customers for thepast two years. These prospects learned that a high percent-age of their business was related to local business ownerslooking for a new building site. They would drive into smallindustrial parks near their present site and see one of the build-er’s small construction signs at a work site. These signs arepractically free and single-handedly represent the company’sbest element in the pathto more sales. They hadno idea! Needless to Assignmentsay, they now put themeverywhere possible— Examine your customergetting them up early list and trace the path back-and leaving them as long wards. You’re trying toas possible. They also uncover the elements that in-enhanced signage on all fluenced them along the way.the firm’s trucks and If they came from a custom-trailers. The result was er referral—consider how theincreased sales! referring partner came into the fold before them. Epilogue Knowledge of the past can greatly enhance the future. 28
  29. 29. Quick Ideas 14 to 15 15 Dump the Dead Weight Here’s the harsh reality: A customer pays you for yourproducts and services or you pay them for the privilege of servingthem. You decide. A restaurant that has been overusing coupons to increasetraffic may find that it has attracted the wrong type of custom-ers: customers who won’t visit without combining coupons andlow-cost menu items (to the point of eliminating profitabilityfrom the transactions) are not helping the business. Promotional strategies, such as the one in this example,can be a legitimate element in the marketing mix, if the promo- tion helps you to attract profitable customers. Be- Assignment cause the coupons were Determine the custom- conceived as important to ers or the categories of business development, the customers present in your restaurant needs to consid- mix of business that are hold- er every dollar it is not ing your business back from charging these customers respectable profitability. against its marketing bud- Now decide if you want to get. This has not been a eliminate them or dilute their good investment of its mar- influence by strategically keting dollars, and the balancing your mix. restaurant needs to make a change. Epilogue Don’t forget to consider the future impact of low- or no- profit accounts. 29
  30. 30. 151 Quick Ideas to Increase Sales 16 Do You Have Brand? Branding 101 tells us to brand through repetition, consis-tency, and fulfillment. This includes the way we perform oursales efforts. If you’ve set your sights on increasing sales, itpays to take a look at your brand to ensure it represents whoand what you truly are in the marketplace. There are many orga-nizations that presentthemselves one way in their Assignmentcorporate marketing pro- Do you maintain yourgrams and then establish a branding strategy acrosscompletely different per- your marketing mix? Doesspective in their sales the message in your cur-activities. Make sure you rent brand represent yourand the company sales primary value proposition?strategies are in alignment Does your brand messagewith the brand strategy. connect and resonate with If you have a strong your audience?brand then consider it anasset in your business de-velopment efforts and leverage the heck out of it. If you have aweak brand, work to make it stronger while hanging onto thegood parts. If you have no brand at all, you’re starting with aclean slate. Get some professional help to get started. Epilogue If it walks like a dog, smells like a dog, and barks like a dog, people will likely assume it’s a dog. 30
  31. 31. Quick Ideas 16 to 17 17Share Your Bounty With the Community One of the best ways to position you and your firm in yourtarget market is to share what you can with your community. A franchise hardware store receives a lot of market infor-mation from corporate relating to the community around itsstore. They routinely invite groups of local merchants to thestore, coordinate a sharing of market intelligence, and help todevelop promotional programs to benefit the entire group. A training and consulting firm has a large conference Assignment room it uses for training and Take inventory of the client projects. The firm things you have that you makes this room available for could share with your board and committee meet- community—consider ings after hours. They would time, talent, treasure, and be attending the meetings facilities. anyway, and having other community-minded profes- sionals in their place is goodfor business. The firm displays project profiles in the com-mon areas as a way to help guests understand the kind ofsolutions the firm provides. Many new customers have comethrough the channels these visitors represent. Epilogue Sharing is caring. Research has demonstrated that most people prefer to do business with people who show they care. 31
  32. 32. 151 Quick Ideas to Increase Sales 18 All Roads Lead to Sales Don’t let anyone tell you that marketing is not about sales.If you can’t draw a straight line from your organization’s mar-keting efforts to the closing of sales, then you should reconsiderthe investment you are making in marketing. When establishing your business development programs,you should always take time to devise your own business de-velopment continuum. (You will find an example in the Appendixof this book.) Every single marketing-related strategy and tac-tic should be linkable to the moving of your prospects and/orcustomers along the Business Development Continuum. It’s asimple concept. If you are planning to invest in advertising, take time tomake certain the advertising will lead to results. What results?It must provide leads in the community who may not know you yet, or, move qualified pros- Assignment pects to action. And it should lead existing customers to Examine a selection of provide referrals or repeat your planned or previous sales. You can maximize the promotional elements and potential of every marketing trace them systematically investment by considering back to how they can or did the broader potential impact impact sales. on sales. Epilogue Make sure you are on the road to someplace good. 32
  33. 33. Quick Ideas 18 to 19 19 Advertising Has a Place An event with broad public appeal often relies heavily onpaid TV and radio advertising to tell consumers who, what,when, where, and how much fun they will be missing if theydon’t attend. Events have the timed “call to action” that makesadvertising such a good fit. Promotional budgets for eventsoften range from 10 to 20 percent of sales. By definition, advertising is a public announcement in printmedia, radio, TV, or Internet in order to attract or increase inter-est in a specific product or service. Advertising also has thedistinction of being one of the most expensive promotional ele-ments you can use. Therefore, it should be used only whenyou know who your prospects are, where they can be found,and what message will resonate with them. As is the case with ev-ery element in the marketing Assignmentmix, advertising works bestwhen integrated into a busi- Draft an advertising ap-ness development program. proach with no initial concernKnowing the lifetime value for budgets. Focus on devel-of your customers and how oping a where and why—amany customers you need wish list of sorts. Later, thisto acquire this year will go approach can be scaled untila long way in helping you you come up with a programto make wise decisions. you can afford. Epilogue Advertising is one of those things it’s hard to live with or do without. 33
  34. 34. 151 Quick Ideas to Increase Sales 20 Public Relations Are Rich in Paybacks When you read a story in the newspaper about a business,you probably believe every word you read. It was written byan objective journalist, right? If you see an ad in the same news-paper, you view it as a paid commercial and probably discountthe message it contains because it is just a sales pitch. Thisreality positions public relations (PR) as an important elementin the marketing mix, because the journalist who wrote thatfirst story probably got his or her idea from some public rela-tions effort. By definition, public re-lations is the practice of Assignmentestablishing, maintaining, and Make a list of your keyimproving a favorable rela- publics and consider infor-tionship between an institution mation you have access toor person and the public. that they would find valu-Business initiatives that con- able. Then develop antain material useful for approach to provide it.development of a PR cam-paign might include: u New products representing a new twist on a long- standing product category. u Potential solutions to a public problem that has been well discussed in the mainstream media. u Significant anniversaries, such as 100 years serv- ing a community. u Involvement in some worthwhile cause or event. Public relations should be an ongoing priority in your busi-ness development program. 34
  35. 35. Quick Ideas 20 to 21 Epilogue A key element in consistent sales levels is consistently supporting your key publics. 21 They Call It Earned Media for a Reason When a particular company gets a lot of positive mentionsin the media it’s a sign that the organization has probably un-dertaken a focused PR campaign. This means the companyhas developed a list of informative topics that it believes thepublic will be interested in hearing. Executing a successfulPR campaign without mak- Assignmenting a pest of yourself withthe media and the public is Make a list of elementshard work. That is why suc- of your business that couldcess in this promotional area generate content to be re-is called “earned” media. packaged for distribution to What are you doing or the public through a strate- gic PR campaign.learning in the natural courseof your work that could beshared with others? Would being seen as a source of this infor-mation help you to build your business? Epilogue Instead of talking louder so people will hear you, try com- ing up with interesting things to say so people will pay attention. 35
  36. 36. 151 Quick Ideas to Increase Sales 22 Publicize Your Publicity When you receive earned media, you should put it to workhelping you sell. Promote it with abandon by reproducing thestory and making sure that each of your key audiences gets theopportunity to read it. Here’s how: u Get permissions to reproduce the story. u Post the mention on your Website. u Post it on the message boards at work. u Include the mention in your newsletter. u Buy quality reprints. Assignment u Frame the stories to Imagine that the hang in your offices. newspaper has just u Include the mention in written a story about any of your customer your business. List all communications. the people you wish u Include the mention in could see it. Make sure mailings to suppliers. they do. u Highlight the story or accomplishment in your e-mail signatures and link back to the Web- site for complete story. u Include a copy in employee paychecks. Epilogue This type of bragging is good for business and is not what your mother warned you about. 36
  37. 37. Quick Ideas 22 to 23 23 The Media Is Your Friend— Not Your Mother The media has routine deadlines and an insatiable appetitefor information. Imagine the amount of information it takes toproduce a daily newspaper or TV newscasts; this demand forinformation creates a great opportunity for organizations with anorganized approach to public relations. If promoting an event, you will focus on entertainment edi-tors and community calendars. If you have something relating tohealth and wellness you may focus on the journalists on the healthbeat. A retailer introducing a new product should tie the use of the product to some signifi- cant consumer problem. Assignment The media is not your mother! Don’t expect the Create a list of media media to care about your outlets. Capture the media needs—and don’t confuse representing the local busi- PR with a paid advertising ness community as well as program. Be confident and industry-specific outlets. respectful, and build rela- Where do customers and tionships with the media that prospects get their industry and community news? will last a lifetime. The re- turn on investment will be exponential. Epilogue An attitude of sharing versus selling will take you a long way with the media and other key audiences. 37
  38. 38. 151 Quick Ideas to Increase Sales 24 The Community Wants to Know and Love You Every organization is part of a larger community. If you’retoo busy trying to rack up sales to make friends in the commu-nity, you are missing an important opportunity to leveragesuccess. Nothing comparesto community when it Assignmentcomes to sharing yourchallenges, expenses, Document the various com-and troubles. Think munities in which your businessabout how important participates. Become involved incommunity is when those communities. Become athere is a natural disas- leader in them where you can.ter; doesn’t it also Develop name recognition forfollow that a communi- your company.ty can be helpful duringless-traumatic times? Participate in community initiatives and inspire a dialoguebetween neighbors that is productive for business development.Be a community leader. It may be extra work at first, but willbecome a routine that gets results. Epilogue There are a lot of people out there who have a stake in your success—those willing to do big things to build and maintain the thriving business community that you participate in. Make friends with them! 38
  39. 39. Quick Ideas 24 to 25 25 Websites Are More Than 24/7 Brochures One way to view your Website is to think of it as a filecabinet where you keep all of your best information. This in-formation should include details about your products andservices, background documents, and anything that helps theprospects decide to do business with your firm. A Website can no longer be a last minute add-on in themarketing mix, and everyone in the organization should haveaccountability to keep thesite’s information contentup to date. Your Web Assignmentpresence serves as the Take inventory of the in-proposal for prospects formation content items fromwho have not made them- your Website. Review eachselves known to you yet. element and note how it sup-Does yours reflect the ports leads, prospects, andsame quality of production customers.that an important propos-al would? Epilogue A Website can perform the same way a well-qualified sales assistant can—only better, because it never needs a day off and it can remember everything you can remember to tell it. 39
  40. 40. 151 Quick Ideas to Increase Sales 26 Pricing Strategies Are Way More Than a Discount Program The Elbow Room is a restaurant icon on the near northside of Tucson. Its claim to fame is its daily menu specials.Friday is fish night, and the special is all you can eat for $4.95.Other days, it offers similar deals on other meals. The place isalways packed, and you have to squeeze in. In this case, the pricing strategy is not just a discount—it’sthe primary promotional strategy. It’s not a coupon advertisedin the paper or a two-for-one deal in the Entertainment Book.The Elbow Room does a robust business six days per week, 52weeks per year. Word ofmouth carries this message Assignmentof value. Whether or not pricing Examine your pricing asis one of your primary pro- it compares to others in themotional elements, a market relevant to the rangerelevant pricing strategy is of quality you offer. Whatsomething you should seri- role does pricing currentlyously consider. By offering play in your business devel-service across a wide range opment process?of price points you make itmore difficult to leverage pricing as a promotional strategy. Thisapproach serves everyone poorly, and no one especially well. Epilogue I like the old saying: You can be cheap, fast, or good. Pick two. 40
  41. 41. Quick Ideas 26 to 27 27 Cross-Promotions Can Help You Make New Friends A great example of cross-promotions comes to us fromevent marketing. A grocery store acts as a ticket reseller for amajor local event with proceeds going to charity. The eventorganizers want to sell tickets to the grocery store’s shoppers,and the grocery store wants the opportunity to draw in the eventcustomers who don’t normally shop there. Both entities want toincrease traffic and sales. Don’t worry about acquiring cross-promotional partners withcompatible products. The most important consideration is finding partners who have match- ing customer demographics. Assignment Once you establish partner- Take what you know ships you can concentrate on about your customers and how to productively interact. prospects, and think about Cross-promotions where else this type of cus- should offer valuable busi- tomer may go to spend time ness development out- and money. Consider what comes. In the grocery store you have to offer that would example, the store has a spe- be of value to potential part- cial interest in the goodwill it ners. Then, approach them receives by being associat- with some ideas. ed with the event’s charity of record. Epilogue Sometimes the best way to help oneself is to find a way to help someone else. 41
  42. 42. 151 Quick Ideas to Increase Sales 28 Let Trade Shows Show You the Way Trade shows are an important promotional resource formany businesses. But others continue to rely on trade showslong after they are productive. Trade shows do not represent aquick-hitting sales strategy. In fact, without the implementationof a well-thought-out strategy you should consider skipping thistype of promotional approach entirely. To determine if trade shows can be a productive tool inyour promotional tool kit, consider the following ideas: u Who will you be coming in contact with, and where are they in your business development con- tinuum? Consider the conference participants, other exhibitors, and organizers, and whether or not they represent your true target markets. u How many quali- fied prospects or signed deals do Assignment you need to acquire Consider how the trade as a result of this shows can support all phas- show, and is there es of business development. some other way to Always consider your pro- interact with these motional approach when same customers making decisions about spe- and prospects that cific tactics and strategies. will have greater impact or repre- sent a better use of time and financial resources? u How will your trade show presence compare to your competition? Can you afford to spend as much as necessary to present yourself well? 42
  43. 43. Quick Ideas 28 to 29 Epilogue Deciding not to invest in a trade show you have historically participated in may be the best decision you make all year. 29 Direct Sales Aren’t Always Direct Direct sales are an important category in the promotionaltool kit, but they might not always be as direct as you think. A manufacturer may have a direct sales force on the pay-roll, or it may sell its products through some sort of reseller.Many choose to sell their products through well-positioned dis-tribution companies, whichbring an existing custom-er base to the table. This Assignmentdistributor adds the manu-facturer’s product to its Brainstorm about theexisting product selection. ideal sales force for yourThis gives the distributor product or service. What andsomething new to talk who would these salespeo-about with existing cus- ple know, do, and be thattomers and often opens up would make them a great fitnew target markets for the to sell your products?manufacturer. Distributingyour product or servicethrough a well-positioned distribution company could help youget your product to market much faster than going direct. 43
  44. 44. 151 Quick Ideas to Increase Sales Epilogue Sometimes the shortest path to success has a few curves in it. 30 Cold Calls Can Warm Things Up—or, “The Cracker Jack Moment” To most people, the concept of cold calling is not a pleasantone. But aren’t there times when a cold call is welcome? Suchas when you’re at a ball game and the Cracker Jack vendorcomes up the steps with his big tray of Cracker Jacks, yellingout to the crowd, looking for customers—right at the very mo-ment you were craving a snack. By definition, a cold call is a sales-oriented contact with aprospect with whom you currently do not have a relationship.You can make cold calls for a variety of purposes, such as: u Introducing yourself and pre-qualifying prospects. u Scheduling an appointment. Assignment u Making a sales presentation. Document the condi- tions that make for perfect Under what circum- timing to introduce yourstances would someone product to prospects. Nowwelcome an unexpected build this knowledge intophone call or visit from a your promotional approach.representative of yourproduct or service? 44
  45. 45. Quick Ideas 29 to 31 Epilogue Nothing warms a prospect better than their genuine de- sire for your product or service. 31 A Territory Management Approach Lends Perspective One of the best ways to make more sales is to carve out asales territory. It may seem exciting to say that the entire uni-verse is your market area, but without established territories,you will have trouble getting and staying focused. A sales agent for a new promotional product had the entirecity as a market area, but she decided to focus her initial saleseffort on a small area of town. She declared this area her LocalTrade Zone (LTZ) and established major streets as the physi-cal boundaries. She then developed a list of merchant typesthat she’d like to secure (four pizza places, five hair salons, andso on). The goal was to secure 50 customers in the initial LTZ. Every day she worked in a defined geography, with Assignment a limited number of busi- Create your own LTZ ness types as her priority by sorting your existing cus- prospects. It was easier to tomers or prospects into prepare for the day be- logical territories. cause she was learning the ins and outs of the selected 45
  46. 46. 151 Quick Ideas to Increase Salesprospect’s industry. There was less drive time between ap-pointments, so time use was more efficient. Once she workedthrough this initial LTZ, she selected another, and then another,and so on. Epilogue Focusing your efforts will greatly increase your learning, your contacts, and your sales. 32 Direct Mail Still Delivers Contrary to speculation, direct mail is still a very strongpromotional tactic. The category has been expanded to includemail sent through e-mail, U.S. mail, or any number of specialdelivery options. By definition, direct mail is a communiquésent directly to a customer or prospect and may include anytype of message. One-to-one marketing is a phrase that has been coinedto describe this most effective sales approach. If a person feelsthat your message speaks directly to him and is extremely rel-evant to his situation, it has an excellent chance of getting afavorable response. E-mail distribution has made direct mailan affordable and flexible tactic for more organizations, but itstill requires a thoughtful approach to make sure your messag-es get delivered and read. A salesperson who sends a follow-up e-mail message af-ter phone calls and appointments has an opportunity to set himor herself apart from the competition. Keep messages brief, 46
  47. 47. Quick Ideas 31 to 33but include a bit of helpfulinformation, a link to a AssignmentWebsite of interest, or animportant reminder in each Map out a year’s worthand every message. Your of communication to yourcustomers will associate prospects and customers andyou with useful information consider the scenarios thatand are far more likely to are best suited to the use ofopen and read all of your U.S. mail or e-mail.direct mail messages. Epilogue Reaching out to touch your customers and prospects in a meaningful way will keep them thinking about you. 33 Publishing Your Ideas Increases Exposure You’ve probably heard the phrase “knowledge is power.”It’s true! Regardless of your field, having and sharing informa-tion about important or interesting topics will increase people’sinterest in doing business with you. No matter how much isalready written about your areas of expertise, there is always ademand for new and timely information. Your customers workevery day to try to make sense of the world around them andpublishing your ideas can help. 47
  48. 48. 151 Quick Ideas to Increase Sales Professional servicefirms require individual Assignmentteam members to author Take inventory of thearticles about topics relat- topics you invest time keep-ing to their profession as a ing up with, and determinecondition of employment. how your customers andArticles are incorporated prospects could benefit frominto routine communica- them as well.tions with the organization’scustomers and prospects. Although it is helpful if you get your articles published intrade or local business publications, you can effectively publishthem yourself in the form of white papers and corporate news-letters (or as e-mails or even Weblogs). Make them availableon your Website for added value. Use contract resources ifyou need help getting the content into good form. Epilogue “Sharing” your knowledge is power! 34 Cause Marketing Takes It to Heart Cause marketing is the practice of incorporating a commu-nity cause into your promotional approach. This process allowsyou to co-op your prospect’s interest in the cause to encouragethem to buy from you. The goal is to increase sales to new 48
  49. 49. Quick Ideas 33 to 34customers and increase brand loyalty among existing custom-ers by touching their heart and their interest in the greater good. Starbucks sells an ex-pensive bottle of springwater called Ethos and on Assignmentthe label it reads “Helping Consider what newchildren get clean water.” target markets you wouldStarbucks gives 5 cents like to attract and choosefrom each sale to support a cause that will resonateseveral humanitarian water with them. Groups repre-projects, with a goal to do- senting potential causesnate at least $10 million by should have useful info onend of 2010. Starbucks has typical supporters.received quite a bit of pub-licity for this project, includ-ing a strong in-store promotional program. The degree to which you integrate your cause into yourmarketing program will impact the benefits. Consider the fol-lowing ideas: u Choose a cause that will resonate with your target markets. u Incorporate the cause tie-in into all your promo- tional elements. u Devise an outreach to prospects who may be aligned with the cause. u Proactively share your reasons for involvement with the cause. u Make certain your cause will not alienate another client or customer base. Epilogue Ties to a cause show the caring side of your business. 49
  50. 50. 151 Quick Ideas to Increase Sales 35 Speak and Grow Rich... in Prospects and Sales Speaking on topics you care about is an excellent way tomake yourself and your business known. Service clubs such asKiwanis, Lions, Sertoma, Rotary, and Jaycees meet every weekin your city and often invite guest speakers from the communi-ty to come to their meetings. Most groups you speak to can provide a range of exposurethat goes well beyond the number of people who will hear yourtalk. Whenever possible, provide the following: u A short article or series of articles for inclusion in their newsletter. u A brief written in- troduction for the Assignment person who intro- duces you. Make a list of the groups u Business cards. in your community you could speak to. Then identi- u A session handout fy a list of topics you would or brochure. enjoy sharing and begin get- If your particular busi- ting the word out that youness does not lend itself well are willing and able to speaktopically to a speaking cir- to groups.cuit, then identify acommunity cause you careabout and offer to be a spokesperson for it. If the topics youchoose to speak about are not directly related to your business,you will want to take special care to get the proper mentionsfor your business. 50
  51. 51. Quick Ideas 35 to 36 Be sincere in your interest in sharing this information. Therest will follow. It is not necessary for you to be a professionalspeaker to use this tactic, although it is a good idea to prepareyourself well and practice your presentations thoroughly. Epilogue Give and you shall receive. 36 Customer Referrals Are Rare Birds One of the best ways to increase sales is to cultivate cus-tomer referrals. It is also common for a high percentage ofreferrals to spring from a small number of existing customers.The problem is that most businesses build a development pro-gram around acquiring more referrals. Yes, they may make theobservation that a high percentage of their business actuallycomes from referrals, but then they spend all their marketingresources on more expensive and less effective promotionalprograms designed to bring in new customers—not get refer-rals from existing customers! Many firms have found a way to mine these precious cus-tomer referrals and you can too. Consider the following: u Customers who appreciate your products are like- ly to know others who would. u Many customers will help you if you ask them. u Understand what inspires your customers to re- fer you business. (Ask them if necessary.) 51
  52. 52. 151 Quick Ideas to Increase Sales u Invite customers to participate with you on com- munity/charity projects, pay their way, and ask them to invite a friend. u When you send a Assignment special offer to Set specific goals for your customers, the number of new cus- send a duplicate tomers you want to that they can acquire, the number of ex- assign to a friend. isting customers you Be sure to use a expect to participate, and tracking number how much of your market- for tracing your ing budget are you willing successes. to invest to inspire an in- crease in referral activity. Epilogue Investments in customer interaction can be part of the marketing budget if they systematically net you more profit- able referrals. 37 Event Marketing Is a Hot Property Event marketing is one of the fastest growing promotionalcategories. Many industries have shifted dollars away fromtraditional advertising in lieu of the flexible and exciting worldof event marketing. A financial services company is a sponsor of a major out-door event that attracts 50,000 spectators. It makes a 52
  53. 53. Quick Ideas 36 to 38contribution and in return receives promotions from the event,such as having its name mentioned in the event’s paid advertis-ing, recognition in posters and publicity, and on banners and in multiple exhibit spaces at the event. The company acti- Assignment vates its sponsorship by Identify an event that inviting a large number of would be a match for your its customers to participate demographics. Brainstorm as volunteers. It also enter- how you might involve staff, tains volunteers and staff in customers, and suppliers. its corporate chalet. The promotional activities lead- ing up to the event providecountless opportunities for meaningful dialogue among its cus-tomers, prospects, and partners. Participation in this event is amajor business development strategy for this firm. Epilogue If you can’t find an event that is a good match for your demographics, consider creating an event for your own pro- motional purposes. And it doesn’t have to be an event that draws 50,000, just one that brings in the right people in reasonable numbers. 38 Find the Synergy Inherent in Your Own Programs If you want to make sales without a lot more work, con-sider the synergy inherent in your own systems. By definition, 53
  54. 54. 151 Quick Ideas to Increase Salessynergy is the working together of two or more things, with theresult becoming greater than the sum of their individual effectsor capabilities. Think about it this way: if you perform no sales specificactivities today, there is still potential synergy among the var-ious departments. Each day customers are being served,supplies and components are purchased, bookkeepers man-age payables and receivables, products are being developed,inter-office e-mails are flying, and important decisions arebeing made. A manufacturer buys alot of components and Assignmentsupplies from vendors. List the functionalWhen the purchasing agent departments for your busi-interacts with these ven- ness. Identify at least threedors, they have many activities performed in eachopportunities to gain and department that could di-share information that rectly or indirectly impactcould ultimately impact sales.the firm’s standing in theindustry. Interaction withsuppliers is an opportunity to impact your prospects, custom-ers, and distribution channels. Is your purchasing agent fullyaware of your product line? Can he or she talk about it tovendors who might also be customers? Epilogue Bringing all that you are to the sales table creates synergy. 54
  55. 55. Quick Ideas 38 to 39 39 Develop Sales Objectives for Improved Performance I think it was Walt Disney who said that “a goal is just adream with a deadline.” Many people like to dream about salessuccess, but fail to take the necessary steps to put them on theright path. Setting goals without considering where the growthwill come from is equivalent to dreaming. Sales objectives divide the work up in an organized wayand allow you to develop approach ideas for each objective.They also make it clear to the entire organization how elements such as customer retention, product Assignment development, and Examine your sales goals and Website functionality develop specific and measurable can impact the at- objectives to achieve them. Chal- tainment of sales lenge people outside the sales goals. department to be part of the pro- Sales objectives cess of achieving these goals. should identify a spe- cific key audience, volume targets, anda date for achievement. When you string all of your objectivestogether they should create a straight line to your goals. You’llknow if you reach them or not. Let’s say a Web-based com-puter back-up service has set a goal to increase sales revenuethis year by 10 percent. That means it must achieve some com-bination of the following objectives in order to be successful.Once objectives are set, unique marketing and sales approach-es can be tailored to each one. 55
  56. 56. 151 Quick Ideas to Increase Sales 1. Retain at least 80 percent of existing customers at current rates. 2. Acquire a minimum of 25 new annual subscribers, each quarter. 3. Acquire a minimum of 20 new month-to-month subscribers, each month. Epilogue How do you eat an elephant (goal)? One bite (objective) at a time! 40 Identify the Most Efficient Strategic Approach Ideas Developing marketing programs that help achieve multiplegoals or objectives at the same time increases synergy. A fee-only financial planner was in a situation where sheneeded more clients to round out her practice. She didn’t want tospend a lot of time and money in marketing and sales, as she feltit took valuable resources away from her work on behalf of herclients. What she did want was to: u Acquire a few more quality clients. u Increase customer referrals. u Leverage her interest and involvement in commu- nity projects. 56
  57. 57. Quick Ideas 39 to 41 The strategic marketingapproach she chose included Assignmentinvolvement in a series of Develop a strategiccommunity events. She invit- approach that will helped a group of her preferred you achieve at least threeclients to participate alongside unique goals or objec-her in these community tives. Include elementsprojects and asked each cli- you are passionate about.ent to bring along at least oneguest/referred prospect. Shepaid all of the costs of participation and everyone received aspecial team T-shirt. There was a meal included, so there wasplenty of time for getting acquainted. These community involvement outings have become atrademark for this professional and a great approach for build-ing her practice with like-minded clients. Her clients approveof this practice-building strategy and participate willingly. Epilogue You get more than you give when you do it with a willing spirit. 41 Selling More to Existing Clients One of the most undervalued sales assets is the synergy tobe gained through your existing customers. Many businessesfocus so much energy on the acquisition of new customers thatthey leave a lot on the table regarding their existing customer 57
  58. 58. 151 Quick Ideas to Increase Salesbase. Some organizations even go so far as to set existing cus-tomers aside, forcing their sales team to concentrate solely onnew customers. Let’s face it: customers already know you, they’ve dem-onstrated trust by buying from you, and they’re giving you someof their hard-earned money. They are the ideal prospect. In-teraction with existing customers can provide: u Insights leading to breakthroughs in quality and innovation. u Retained sales. u Add-on sales. u Referrals to like-minded prospects. When a local information services company periodicallyreassigned sales territories, it almost always found that thenewly assigned repscould increase volumefrom existing clients, Assignmenteven in the mature ter- Consider how your ser-ritories. Newly assigned vices fit in with their needs.reps reviewed records, If you can’t periodically re-conducted information- assign accounts, get agathering sessions, and challenge partner to help ex-uncovered needs simply amine potential opportunitiesby looking at the com- with existing customers.pany’s accounts withnew eyes. Epilogue It’s typically easier to expand with existing customers than to attract new ones. 58
  59. 59. Quick Ideas 41 to 42 42 Going Beyond the Transaction There is tremendous synergy in the common ground weshare with customers. If someone is your customer, there is atleast one topic the two of you have in common. Find a produc-tive way to interact beyond your typical sales process. An organization that provides case management nurses forworkman’s compensation cases has insurance agents as cus-tomers. The agents as well as the nurses have a common interestin getting the patients to maximum medical improvement. Theagents are located across the country, so the case managementfirm has to get creative with long-distance communication. One favorite tactic is to send each agent a gift card for acoffee shop along with a white paper featuring a treatmentoverview written by one of the nurses. A note invites the agentto have a cup of coffee and take a few minutes to read thepaper. This interaction supports this firm and its nurses as au-thorities on maximum improvement—a subject that they both have an interest in—and opens the door for dialogue. Assignment Energize your custom- Identify ways (specific er interaction and let it help tools) to positively interact you make more sales. Pre- with your customers outside paring for these customer of the formal sales and ser- interaction events will make vice delivery activities. you better at your work. Epilogue Develop a common bond beyond the transaction. 59
  60. 60. 151 Quick Ideas to Increase Sales 43 Quicker Closes Equal More Time for More Sales Nothing gets the prospecting juices flowing the way a quickand profitable sale does. You say to yourself, “Why can’t theyall go like this?” The better question to ask is, “What can we doto make more of our transactions move this fast?” Energizing your sales process and closing sales faster leavesyou with more time to spend doing more deals—achieving yoursales goals. Let’s take a closer look at the quick-close deal andsee what it’s made of. Attributes of a quick-close prospect (the customer) include: u Has an immediate need. u Is confident that your solution is adequate. u Is prepared to make a decision. Attributes of a quick-close supplier (that’s you) include: u Effectively recognizes and clarifies customer needs. u Provides information that supports pro- Assignment posed solutions, right Outline a sales cycle for amount—at the right your business. Be bold in time—always keep- your expectations and then ing in mind that identify the specific supports people receive infor- for each phase that could mation differently. make it possible. Then tar- u Knows how to rec- get some prospects and go ognize and support a after them. quick decision. 60
  61. 61. Quick Ideas 43 to 44 One way to attract the quick-close sale is to participate inpromotional strategies that put you in the mix with your bestquick-close prospects. These strategies may look to be a bitmore costly on the surface, but when you factor in the time andenergy savings of the quicker sale, they are a bargain. Epilogue Time is money! 44 Organize a Collaborative Workplace Whether you work downtown or at the dining room table,you can benefit from developing a collaborative workplace. Col-laboration is achieved by working with others. Entrepreneursare pretty good at this; traditional business could take a lesson. By exchanging information, sharing resources, and passingbusiness leads, you can create a network that can lead to in-creased sales for your organization. You are all out there doingbusiness, and the day-to-day stuff can get in the way. Turn these day-to-day challeng- es into opportunities for Assignment collaboration. Describe your commu- A small company nity. Make certain these traced a high percentage of connections know about you its business to people they and what you offer. have interacted with around their office location. In fact, 61
  62. 62. 151 Quick Ideas to Increase Salesone of its largest clients came from a referral from its landlord,a businessman who had recently sold a company he’d foundedand invested in local real estate. Some business was traced toother professionals who had office space in and around its build-ing. The single largest influence on business development camethrough connections to its local professional association. Epilogue When you raise the water in the harbor, all boats rise. 45 Innovation Gets Attention One of the best ways to increase sales is to create new orimproved products people can only buy from you. Every organi-zation should be investing resources in innovation each year. Forsome organizations, these investments may be largely time andattention, but for others it could include significant financial re-sources as well. To maximize an invest-ment in innovation, you must Assignmentstrategically incorporate it Identify some form ofinto other functional areas of innovation that will be occur-the business. ring in your business this A financial software year. Consider how to lever-company offers an 800- age this investment bynumber for its customers. connecting it to at least twoWhen they finish solving a other major functions.customer problem, they ask 62
  63. 63. Quick Ideas 45 to 46the customer if they’d be willing to answer a couple of questionsfor the research and development team. They then proceed toask carefully crafted questions designed to assist the developersand strategically supply the marketing department with informa-tion needed to mount a promotional campaign for the newproducts. The investment made on customer support is now providingan exponential return with its added contributions to innovationand sales and marketing. Epilogue New is good. New sells. 46 Time Organize Your Business Plotting marketing and sales activities, along with operations-oriented tasks, will lead to an increase in sales. If you’re planningto hire additional staff in conjunction with a new product line, plotit. If your team is attending a national conference, plot it. If you’rerolling out a new product, plot it. Plot everything that consumestime, money, or energy resources and show it on the time contin-uum for your business. A retailer planning to attend a merchandise market can ini-tiate talks with customers months before the trip. What are theygoing to be looking for or need in the future? What should you belooking for to help them? This also increases dialogue with cus-tomers beyond just the typical sales and service delivery talk,and demonstrates that the retailer has an interest in the custom-ers’ success. Use market-talk to get them to talk about products 63
  64. 64. 151 Quick Ideas to Increase Salesthey may have an interest inpurchasing. This also sets Assignmentthem up for follow-up when Draft a 12-month de-they get back from market. velopment time line. The main point is to plot Include primary businessthe things you’re going to be development activitiesdoing to run your business and major operationalanyway and look for the busi- tasks.ness development potential ineach one. Time organizingmakes it real. Epilogue Don’t try. Do. (Thanks to Yoda.) 47 Momentum Markers Increase sales by leveraging your organization’s momen-tum markers. Momentum markers are events, work projects,or seasonal influences unique to your business that have thepower to propel you toward your business development goals. You’ll know them when you see them, because they tendto take on a life of their own. One of the best places to look forthem is the document discussed in Idea 46, where you plottedyour marketing activities along with operational functions on a12-month time line. 64
  65. 65. Quick Ideas 46 to 48 A food bank knows Assignment that the public’s attention to Identify the momentum food donations is at its peak markers in your organiza- during the Thanksgiving tion. Ask people outside the and Christmas holiday sea- sales department to help. son. It’s also a time when They know stuff you don’t. food bank personnel are busy with operational ac- tivities and don’t have timeto think about how to parlay this increase in activity into itsmarketing strategy. New supporters emerge that were previously unknown;offers of volunteers that could be better utilized in other timeperiods must be recognized and captured for future contact.The food bank will experience the force of this momentummarker for months. Impacts can be anticipated, planned for,and leveraged into maximum outcomes—especially with theright planning and organizing. Momentum markers are by nature predictable, and maxi-mization strategies must be in place long before they occur ifthey are to lead to increased sales. Epilogue We can’t control some forces, but we can anticipate and use them to our advantage. 48 Sales: It’s Not About You Most people who find themselves in a selling situation spendso much time defining, refining, and understanding the features 65
  66. 66. 151 Quick Ideas to Increase Salesand benefits of their own products they forget to notice what’sgoing on in the life of the prospect. This is crazy, because research tells us that people buybecause of some problem or opportunity that exists in their world—not ours. This may be a shocker to those who Assignment still believe in the theory of Gather the background build it and they will files you have on your fa- come. vorite customers. See what The next several quick you know about them, and ideas will help you focus note what you wish you your attention on a range knew, so they can be more of customer-oriented ele- easily replicated. ments. By considering these elements you will find it much easier to de-velop a sales and marketing approach that will help you meetyour business development goals by helping your customersmeet their goals. Look for one or two to stand out as relevantin your particular business. The first step is to find out what you know about yourcustomers and prospects. There are many automated cus-tomer relationship management (CRM) tools available tosupport this process. Your work here will be identifying theinformation elements that should populate the CRM tool formaximum impact. Epilogue Sales: it’s not about you. 66

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