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Marketing

Get sales fit for the new normal

Many people used lockdown to start building a new fitness regime. With gyms shut, it was on us all to build a new discipline of daily fitness. Now gyms have re-opened, many people are back into their weekly or daily routines. It is these routines or habits which lead to an improved fitness or body shape.

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Personally, I’ve given up on any notion of a 6-pack, but I’m keen to still be able to at least chase my kids around at the weekend! However, like everyone else, I recognise the need for a routine to be able to achieve my goals. The same is true of any sales or client development goals you may have.

Having a clear strategy to get new leads and build sales has never been more important. So, to assist you in doing so, I’ve outlined a 5-point plan to get you sales fit for the new normal.

1.Start with a plan

Commit something to paper. Writing something down (even typing it), will help you follow it. Keep it simple and practical. Over-arching mission statements are fun to write and it’s hugely important to have a purpose or a reason why, however, to get your started you’ll need a step by step sales plan you can follow. Having that will help you form a habit. Having a sales focused habit will help you succeed by getting sales fit in the new normal.

Your plan will need to focus on:

  • Your target market. Think sectors, size of business etc.
  • Who the individuals are who can buy from you. Get a list of names.

The last part is key. You need to focus on what you are going to do to build your sales fitness.

2. Book time in to do your sales activities

Unless you are a salesperson, you may dread the thought of doing this. As a solopreneur or small business owner, you have a lot on your plate. Yes, you want income, but actively chasing it may not be your passion. This means you’re likely to avoid it like the plague. Perhaps that’s not the best analogy in the current climate!

However, to break this habit of avoidance, commit to say 20-30 minutes every day or at least every other day,of doing some sales activities. Then stick to it. It will be hard at first, like lifting weights or going to a high-octane spin class. But, doing it regularly makes it much easier.  

3.Work on your initial approach

There’s a new trend that’s polluting LinkedIn at the moment. If you use the platform, I’ll guarantee you’ve experienced it. Someone will connect with you on LinkedIn. They may use the line like shared contacts or interests to get you to connect. Then they’ll send you a long and frankly spammy email, telling you how awesome their company is. Be honest, do you respond positively to this?

So, instead of this tactic, think of how you can develop rapport and get your prospect to converse with you. Whether you are calling, emailing, or messaging, the aim needs to be the same. Think about how you can help that person. What might be their issues at the present time? What value can you offer them? Then make a personalised approach to each one. Better to make 2 or 3 personalised approaches over 50 cut and pasted spam messages.

4. Be patient and curious in your meetings

It will take longer for people to commit to spending right now. So, assume that your first meeting is a get to know you session. Ask lots of questions about how they are going and what their priorities are. Or you could try this great question that Thrive identified as the one most likely to start a great conversation. Simple ask them, “What’s your story?”.

Knowing this will allow you to share your connections with them, as you’ll understand who they may need to connect with. If you know what they are trying to achieve you can be the person that helps them get there. That’s how you build long-term business relationships.

5. Follow up immediately

Don’t delay or procrastinate. Leave the meeting and send a summary email and bullet points of what was agreed. It really does pay to learn how to become the master of following up.

If you agreed to send a proposal, don’t wait until you have written the document. Send them a quick email, thanking for their time, summarizing what you agreed, and then let them know when they will have the proposal back by. Which leads me to the final point.

6. Have your sales material/ proposal process ready in advance

Ideally you won’t have to do a big formal response. However, for bigger contracts it is highly likely that you will. With an increase in government spending to assist the COVID recovery efforts, RFP responses will be more common. So, think about what material you need now and how you will respond. This article, “The 12 steps to writing a winning bid. Proposal success made easy” gives you everything you need to be able to run a smooth process.

If you’re not doing proposals to win work, you may need a simple email template or supporting one pager to give information on your services to purchasers. Having the basics of these ready will save you a lot of time. Remember to customise these to each individual based on your conversations. 

Embrace these 6 points to get sales fit for the new normal

To thrive in our current economic marketing, whatever your venture is, you’re going to have to focus on sales. So, start with a plan, work on your initial approaches, think about the questions you’ll ask in your sales meetings, and follow up promptly and professionally. Do all of this and you’ll be sales fit in no time. 

Ben Paul

is the New Zealand Director of Director and founder of The BD Ladder. He helps his clients: individuals, teams, and organisations, to build trust with their clients. This helps increase sales without anyone ever having to “sell” anything. Connect with Ben on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook or YouTube.

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