Although the value of formal sales training is known to most organizations, managers can often observe a lack of follow through after attendees come home from those pricey seminars. This doesn’t mean that they didn’t learn anything — it could simply indicate that these newly-trained salespeople “know the notes but cannot play the tune.”
What this means is that while a salesperson might have learned skills in presenting, handling objections, and closing, she might still be lacking a personal selling strategy to put it all together and make some beautiful “music.”
If you find yourself in this situation, here are some quick tips to help develop a selling strategy to bring in new, quality prospects and get them involved with your business.
Research comes first
While you don’t want to spend the entire day in front of a computer, a couple of hours spent online locating and researching new prospects and their companies will pay handsome dividends. Some areas to explore include:
- Company and personal websites
- Trade websites
- Business databases, such as Zoominfo.com and Hoovers.com
- SEC.gov for public filings
- Social Networking: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn
- For longer term sales processes, consider setting up a Google alert with the decision maker’s name and/or terms related to their business, which will notify you whenever something relevant hits the Web.
Good research is also one of the most helpful cross selling strategy tools, allowing you to explore other areas when face-to-face with the prospect to impress them with a more comprehensive offering than they might have expected.
Develop a “coach”
Using the research and your own networking prowess, find and develop someone close to the prospect who can provide an introduction or even set up a sales meeting. Examples of potential coaches:
- Company gatekeeper, such as a receptionist
- Golfing buddy
- Mutual vendor
- Personal friend
Use a formal sales process
Especially in large-ticket sales, using a formal sales process will permit you to better strategize your approach and avoid major mistakes. By using a formal selling strategy, you will better understand the prospect’s need and how your solution fits in, identify potential challenges in getting the sale, and plan out the marketing messages you and your team (which includes your “coach”) will use.
To assist you in developing a formal selling strategy for large sales, we offer a “20-Step New Business Capture Process” free for you to download.
It can take 12 or more “touches” to close a sale, and part of any successful selling strategy is to formalize the process of following up. Here is where CRM software shines. Set up automatic updates to remind you to send a thank you note, send an e-mail, place a follow up call, or otherwise contact your prospects. Or, use a paper and pen and a calendar to keep track. The point is — follow up!
The above tips are taken from our “10-Step Sales Process” checklist. It is a great template to use in developing a personal selling strategy and is also free to download.