Entries from October 2008 ↓

Sales leads – example

Sales lead exampleWith so many different possibilities for lead generation, it was difficult to select a single illustrative example, but it had to be done.

Sally the saleswoman is responsible for growing sales for her company’s accounting software package. She knows the product inside and out and even passed her CPA exam recently to help illustrate her deep accounting knowledge and give her instant credibility. The company gave her six months to bulk up sales by 15%, a tall order for any product. Here is how Sally exceeded her sales goal and her commission expectations.

  • She called on her classmates from her CPA preparation class to ask for advice on finding referrals. Note that she didn’t ask for referrals, but asked for help on getting referrals – that’s a fine line, but an important one to take heed to. By asking for this type of help, Sally let her classmates relax their guard and offer advice. Her classmates are mostly practicing CPA’s, so there is no competition for software sales to worry about.

  • Next Sally poured through as many press releases as she could that dealt with companies that she already sells into and companies she wants to sell into. The releases that had anything to do with a need for an accounting package were treated as lead material. If there was good financial news, Sally called to congratulate them and see if their current software was up to the task. If there was bad financial news, Sally called to explain how her software helped another company save money and brought it back into the black. Expansions – does their current package have easy extensibility? OK enough, you get the picture.

  • She attended a trade show to gain insights into how her product stacks up against the competition. This allowed her to easily handle any objections where the competition was brought up as an alternative. Although, as discussed in another article, she was careful not to downplay or insult the competition to her clients. That strategy will get you no where fast.

  • At the same trade show, she presented a paper on using enterprise accounting software to streamline costs and minimize project cost overruns.

  • Sally bought ad placement from Google’s Adwords to help rapidly spread the word about her product.

  • Finally, she cruised LinkedIn for leads into companies that she wasn’t able to reach with the above methods.

The result of her efforts led to a 21% increase in business and the hiring of an assistant to help her manage all the extra business.

Plant tours as a sales tool

Depending on what type of company you’re working for, shop tours are typically a common step in the sales cycle.  Prospective customers want to see what your machinery looks like, how clean it is, how much room you have, and just get a good feeling that you can actually fulfill their order.

A critical, but often overlooked, area of the tour is how your workforce projects themselves – in particular the technicians on the shop floor.

You should be continually coaching them on how important it is for them to smile at guests and say hi and to ask them if they have any questions.  I’ve found that the best way to get them on the same page is to ask them beforehand if they would mind talking about their area to the prospects.  You can then say something like “Joe, would you mind telling us a bit how this press works.”

In return the workers get a sense of pride and your prospects really see that you connect with the workforce and have the ability to track their orders through your manufacturing system.

Yes, I realize you may know more about the machine and could talk more eloquently – keep your trap shut.

Spread the fame around and always thank them with donuts (or oat bran muffins) the next morning.

Funny Sales Video

The boys over at SalesRoundUp Podcast put out a hilarious video on YouTube about a year ago poking fun at salespeople that “show up and throw up”.

It’s meant to show how ridiculous these type of high pressure salespeople are – it’s worth 4:00 minutes of your time to watch.

Let’s talk about money

Money talk in salesWho wants to talk about money?  Your prospects, that’s who.  That’s the first thing that comes to their mind in a sales call.  The whole way through your wonderfully engineered PowerPoint pitch, all they’re thinking is: “How much is this going to cost us?”

If you wait for them to bring up the topic, you might have already lost.  Bring it up on your terms and with your point of reference.

Almost universally, you’re product/service is going to either make them more money or save them money.  Decide what that is before your sales call and do one of the following to shake things up a bit and get yourself noticed.

Right off the bat before plugging in your overstuffed laptop or passing out your shiny brochures, throw one of these out:

If you MAKE them money: “I was hoping to start off with an example of what we do and a quick discussion to get us all on the same page this morning.  We implemented our widget to StarCompany’s assembly line three months ago and they’ve already earned back 3 times their investment.  [then add 2-3 sentences saying what you technically did].  Can we talk about if there are any parallel processes like that here?”

If you SAVE them money: “I was hoping to start off with an example of what we do and a quick discussion to get us all on the same page this morning.  We implemented our widget to StarCompany’s assembly line three months ago and their rejection rate has dropped 78%.  This is saving them about $30,000 per month. [add your technical description here]  Can we talk about if there are any parallel processes like that here?”

This is getting long, and I’ve gotten feedback to keep the posts short, so I’ll save some actual sales call stories for a later date.