April 26, 2013

How would you like to make more money — right now? Of course you would. Most salespeople dream of getting more sales and bigger commission checks. But I bet you one thing: most of them are simply not contacting enough people to make this happen. Or, they are not contacting the prospects they do have enough times.

Contacts are how sales are made. You know, as a sales professional, that it is very possible to simply call up a prospect, work your magic, and walk away with an order — all in less than an hour.

But it will never happen if you don’t communicate. Of all the sales tips and techniques I could possibly ever offer, this ranks at or near the top: the most important thing you can do on a daily basis is to contact people.

Set a Personal Contact Quota Daily and Don’t Leave Work Until You Meet It

In B2B sales, it takes about 12 contacts with a buyer before a sale is made.  Of these, an average of seven must be high-quality contacts. I define these as highly engaged conversations, such as personal visits, discussions on the phone or video chats, and active e-mail/instant messaging/text messaging/social media exchanges.

What are the non-high-quality, but still important, types of contacts? These are the “touches” which remind prospects and customers of your existence, keeping you and your brand top of mind but not necessarily involving a closing attempt. Here are some examples:

  • Voice mail message
  • Direct mail
  • Broadcast e-mail
  • Snail mail brochure or letter
  • Webinar
  • General Tweets
  • Personal, handwritten notes
  • Copies of, or links to, interesting articles
  • Social engagements, such as sporting events
  • Newsletters
  • Special reports
  • Blog post to subscribers/RSS feed

The trick is to devote sufficient time during the day to make enough contacts, despite all of your other tasks, such as account servicing, reports for management, and attending meetings.  One useful tool is the free Focus Booster, which employs the Pomodoro Technique — a time management system which forces you to focus your attention and can be a great productivity booster.

Other Contact Sales Tips and Techniques

  • The general rule of thumb is to space out contacts to about once-per-month per prospect. Hot prospects and active deals in the pipeline obviously get more frequent touches.
  • Always leave an interaction with a buyer with an agreed-upon action item for yourself, even if you have to suggest it. This gives you license to follow up and make another contact.
  • Within two hours of a meeting, send an e-mail to the prospect thanking him or her for their time and reminding them of the action items which were agreed to.
  • Even more effective is to mail a personalized, handwritten thank you note.

Fellow sales trainer Tom Hopkins relates a story of an old salesman whose claimed secret to success was to talk to 20 people “belly-to-belly” each day. While this many face-to-face meetings might not be practical for many B2B salespeople, imagine how much your revenue would grow if you made 20 contacts as described in the section above each and every day.

Now that you are done imagining it, do it!