Forming a Winning Sales Strategy
How to improve your earnings in 2023
The other day I was walking down the street when I witnessed a sight that stopped me in my tracks.
As a Chinese lady walked a few steps ahead of me she was approached from the side by a young black lady who said, ‘You look friendly! What’s your name?’
It was a great example of disarming an intended target with kindness before going for the close. I didn’t hang around to hear the close mind you. I had seen enough. As with any sale the hardest part is getting through the gatekeeper or making that initial connection.
If you manage to keep the prospect on the phone past the introduction then the odds of closing increase dramatically.
This article looks at the importance of a winning sales strategy in boosting your earnings including a number of practical pointers to help you form that winning strategy.
As you can see from the above short story one of the most important factors in achieving superior results is strategy. Whilst hard work is important the most crucial is strategy.
Employing an effective strategy means you are choosing to work smart. The phrase ‘quality over quantity’ applies here. An effective strategy can cover a number of areas including selecting the most appropriate and easy to reach target market, establishing a sales process, writing and constantly fine tuning your sales script and regular client and prospect engagement.
Let’s look at the different aspects of a successful sales strategy.
Selecting your target market
Let’s say you are selling software to law firms. What is the most effective way of targeting law firms? And, who are you targeting?
There are two possible ways of targeting law firms from the above example. Firstly by phone and secondly door-to-door. You can also target prospects by mail or email but these are likely to receive a much lower response rate.
Ultimately you must target the decision maker. This is a challenge in itself.
The question you must ask yourself to begin with is who are you going to ask for? The person in charge of IT, would be the most sensible approach. Remember sales is all about iteration. In other words if something isn’t working try another approach until you see an improved response. You can easily return to the leads where your initial approach didn’t work.
Next you must work out a script for both the gatekeeper and the decision maker.
Part one of your script should be designed to achieve a short meeting with the decision maker. It helps if you know the person you are meeting before you show up. That will improve your conversion rate.
‘Is John Smith around?’
‘Who shall I say wants to see him?’
‘Tell him it’s Jack from My Software, we are a legal compliance firm’
‘What’s it about?’
‘I just wanted to have a quick chat with him about your firm’s website and a few issues we discovered from a compliance point of view. It will only take a few minutes.’
An alternative strategy is to hand deliver a ready prepared letter.
‘Is Frank Jones in? I just wanted to hand him a report we prepared for him.’
That is a great way of lowering the guard of the gatekeeper.
The important point here is to get a name before you visit. When calling it is not so imperative that you have the name beforehand but it will save you time. Gatekeepers are more fierce if you show up at an office without an appointment.
Part 2 of your script is targeted at the decision maker and must lead to a close.
Possible closes include scheduling another meeting to talk in more detail about the proposal, obtaining a commitment for a free trial or payment for the service or product. It is always wise to repeat the close twice in the script.
Writing a script is an art. Write it as if you are talking, remembering you don’t have long to grab the prospect’s attention. A long rambling script won’t work. Once you have written it, test it. That is the best way. And then rewrite it until it is perfect.
Working out the steps to close
Closing a deal in one call or one visit is rare. It happens but not often. A one call close is the stuff of legend, it is not something you should build your business around.
Often there are a few steps to close a deal. This includes:
An introductory call. Here you introduce yourself and provide some basic information and request a follow up call. In some cases you offer something free such as a free report. You then arrange a call to follow up. The close here is the free report and the follow up call.
The second call is a discussion on the free report where you get into more detail on your company’s product or service. You can attempt to close the sale here but I usually prefer to delay this until the third call. On the second call you can provide more specific information on your product or service and arrange another follow up call.
The third call is the close. Here you are selling the merits of the product or service and then asking for the sale.
You will need to be ready with a rebuttal or rejection sheet providing answers to all possible rebuttals. Also if applicable, have testimonials at the ready.
Whilst you should aim to close on the second or third call it is likely that the prospect will require a follow up call, maybe even multiple calls.
A common mistake in sales is cutting out the personal touch and emailing clients. This is a lazy person’s sale. Call wherever possible and only use emails to confirm what was discussed. Don’t use email to ask for the sale. That should be done on the phone or in person.
It is important that if you maintain a database of prospects who have requested information on your product or service in the past or have been spoken to and didn’t tell you to get lost you should stay in regular contact with them.
That contact should entail regular emails, maybe a monthly or quarterly newsletter and a follow up call every few months. One of the most common mistakes in sales is building a database of prospects and not regularly engaging with them. The less engagement you have with them the less responsive they will be. A significant amount of money goes into building a prospect database therefore it is important you nurture the list as it will generate substantial new business.
Regular engagement also applies to existing clients. In many cases existing clients are a significant proportion of a sales organization’s overall business. It is important that existing clients are managed and new opportunities presented to them. You can also ask them for referrals and to trial new products. Existing clients are the lifeblood of a business. Neglect them at your peril.
In sales the saying goes “You are only as good as your last sale”. Whilst hard work is an obvious way to ensure you are always ahead of the game, combine hard work with an effective well thought out strategy and you will see your earnings blossom like a beautiful rose.
Banner Image: Form a winning strategy. Image Credit – JESHOOTS.COM*