According to Simon from Sandler training most businesses might a financial plan and maybe a marketing plan but many don’t have a prospect’s plan. This is an issue because activity creates the opportunity for sales. Activity moves the prospect to a potential customer.
Simon explains there are several activities that classify as sales activity including ” Networking, social media, cold calling, asking for referrals, giving talks, seminars, trade shows, writing articles, posting press releases, email blasts”
Simon explains the different between competent and posses as sales professionals.
“Professionals have a plan and they execute the plan. Imposters (aka “order-takers”) wait by the phone, hoping it will ring. Some will wait by the computer, hoping the next incoming email is their ticket to riches. When asked about prospecting, they make excuses about being too busy, “putting out fires” with existing accounts. Or they say they have too much paperwork and reporting to do, or blame poor marketing materials. Order-takers are great at rationalizing poor prospecting performance.”
Simon has some good questions you should ask as a small business owner.
1.If you are a business owner or partner, how well have you done making rain?
2.If you have a sales team reporting up to you, which team members are real hunters, and which are order-takers?
3.Do you know the difference?
4.Which ones are better compensated?
5.Are changes in order?
Having a list of activities that incorporates a sales and marketing approach can improve the chances of converting prospects to customers. This plan will also help work out what approach is more successful so you can do more activities that work. Be it cold calling, emailing, success stories or bundling offers, this planned approach is an under valued approach that can ensure that your prospects can followed up and given the information and incentive to buy.
As a small business owner how do you create activities that move potential prospects down your sales pipeline.
Here are some suggestions:
1. Do some follow up with anyone you have formed a relationship with. Send them an email with some valuable information. Phone then and ask them if they have a need for your product/ service.
2. Focus on some prospects that are likely to have a need and then offer them a taste of your product or service to move them to an interested prospect.
3. Send the interested prospect a proposal and follow up with a call.
4. Invite your prospect out for a coffee.
5. Start networking at a local event to find more prospects
Here are some other tactics from CJ Hayden from the Raintoday website.
- Write articles. Putting your expertise in writing and sharing it with publications your target audience reads is a powerful—and very professional—way to let more people know about your unique talents. Submit your articles to magazines, newsletters, ezines, blogs, or websites that serve your niche and watch your visibility grow. If you aren’t a strong writer, hire professional help to edit or even ghost write your compositions.
- Speak at conferences or events. Appearing as a speaker allows you to broadcast your expertise to three different audiences: the people who attend your talk, the people who are invited by the sponsoring organization but can’t attend, and the people you tell about it before and after. If standing in front of a room makes you too nervous, serve on a panel of experts instead. You’ll get to sit behind a table and speak from notes.
- Do media interviews. Being interviewed for magazines, newspapers, blogs, radio stations, or television programs can spread the word quickly about your capabilities. Landing interviews is not that hard to do if you remember to start small. Begin by approaching easy targets like association newsletters, neighborhood newspapers, lesser-known bloggers, or local cable programs and talk radio.
- Tell stories. One of the secrets to effective articles, talks, and interviews is to tell stories about your clients. When you describe your clients’ challenges and accomplishments, you reveal the value of your role in helping them without having to boast about it. You can use the same technique in sales presentations to prospective clients to boost your credibility without appearing arrogant.
- Ask for and use testimonials. Whenever you do a good job for a client, ask them to write a simple thank you note describing what you did to make them happy. Then make their kudos available on your website, brochure, or other marketing materials. Let your clients tell others about your brilliance, and you won’t have to say it yourself.
- Build a portfolio. Artists and writers aren’t the only ones who should capture their best work in a portfolio. You can collect photos, graphs, spreadsheets, reports, project schedules, program outlines, and other evidence of your accomplishments and display them on your website, in a marketing kit, or in a PowerPoint presentation. You don’t have to sell people on your abilities when they see for themselves what you can do.
- Create products. Packaging your work into merchandise that prospective clients can take home and sample gives them a compelling way to discover your real value. Products like ebooks, audio recordings, and home study courses allow you to showcase your expertise and increase your credibility. They can often be advertised more widely than your services, giving you yet another avenue for getting your name known.