Sales | by Tom Woodcock | 04/21/2010
If there ever was a time when your company should be on the edge of sales effectiveness its now.
As I meet with contractor after contractor, I'm literally shocked at how behind the times they can be in relation to sales tools and techniques. Even some sales managers just don't get it and hurt themselves more than they help in getting business. Even being a sales consultant doesn't automatically make me embrace every piece of sales technology that comes on the scene. But c'mon! Some things are just a must.
As I go through the list below, get past the basic items that lead the list. You may have them but don't leave me till you go through the whole enchilada. You may be missing the very last item. Keep in mind, these are BASIC not luxury items. Whether you agree or not, these are the facts. If your manager or boss doesn't believe in some of these tools or techniques buy him or her a Fred Flintstone club! Also, this list isn't comprehensive and some of you may be using items not listed. Good for you! Now get some business!
Here's the roster:
1. Logo and Brand: Okay, it's basic. You may not believe it, but some firms just don't have one. Nor do they care. If you have no personality in the market why would I expect you to be interested in my project? Blah image translates into blah performance in the mind of the customer.
2. Poor or No Website: In this day and age are you serious? This is now mandatory! The first place people go after they meet you or get your card is your site. If it is garbage, too wordy, graphically lame or worse, nonexistent, you're gonna get smoked in the market. Get it done or fixed.
3. No Cell Phone: No cell phone? No business! Your competitor just spoke to your customer before you and they got the job!
4. No Email Address: I absolutely want to compete against you. How's that stamp collection? Ever wonder why the postal service is going broke?
5. No Email Capability on Cell Phone: This is the first item the more advanced of you may not agree with, but sorry, it is now standard procedure. The game is now the fastest to respond gets the inside track. How many timely communications offset the $20.00 a month investment?
6. Cold Calling: How do you like being "stopped in on"? Not much? Neither do your clients. Learn how to network and be creative in your customer approach. Cold calling is virtually dead, if at best on life support.
7. No Presentation Materials: A quick look print reference to your product and service. It defines what you can do for the customer. This is bulleted and photo led.
8. Electronic Newsletter: The reason most don't have them is because they can't write well or are not diligent in making sure they get sent monthly. If so get a marketing firm to help you. (Psst, I know a good one with a guy named "Tom"). They work and are relatively inexpensive.
9. CRM Program: You must manage your customer data. Whether it's ACT, Gold Mine, Sales Force, Eclipse, Business Contact Manager or the like, use something. Even Outlook can do the job to a small degree.
10. Training: Obviously my biggest bugaboo! How can you expect yourself or your people to sell when they've never been trained on how to do so? Would you send out untrained workers into the field? Then why would you trust untrained personnel with your sales effort?
These are absolutely necessary to have a functioning sales effort. Of course success requires many more practices and tools to get the edge, but you can't get an edge till you're at least on the plain.
I work with firms that I have to motivate and drive to maintain a consistent sales effort. They sometimes embrace my suggestions or try them reluctantly. Those that make them standard practice eventually see results and value. In a day and age where every little edge can make a difference, why would a company risk not being on the front lines of sales techniques? I imagine even after writing this piece I'll find a contractor without a website, who I can't get on the cell, that I'm unable to reach by email, that's out cold calling! Great Scott! They're everywhere!