Increase sales by adding companies with robust spending power to your pipeline.
IDENTIFY TOP TARGETS: Take a strategic approach so you can efficiently identify ideal large organizations. Start by looking for companies in industries that are traditionally avid buyers of promotional products, such as health care. Go online to search for organizations that have a strong position in their respective markets. Narrow the search further by focusing on companies that have a history of self-promotion, says David Blaise, owner of Blaise Drake & Co., a promo industry consulting firm.
Another related approach centers on concentrating your search within a niche in which you already have clients. "Past experience with businesses in these markets increases the chances you'll resonate with similar organizations," says Blaise.
KNOW YOUR VALUE-ADD: With targets identified, determine what contributions you can make to power the success of these companies. Some reps specialize in delivering unique promotional ideas. Others star in responsiveness or fast turn times – or have buying power that enables them to offer pricing the competition can't match. Know what your strengths are and then brainstorm a few specific ways you can leverage them for prospects' benefit.
MAKE POWERFUL CONNECTIONS: Once you have prospects to pursue, scour company websites and social media channels to find likely buyers within the firms, such as managers in marketing and human resources. See if anyone among your current network has a connection to the prospective organizations – someone who can help you get your foot in the door.
Lack connections? Introduce yourself with creative marketing initiatives, such as "lumpy mail." This themed promotional package should contain a product and short introductory letter. For instance, send a keychain flashlight with a note saying how you'd like to "light the way" toward greater success for the prospect. Include information that illustrates the unique value you offer. "Lumpy mail gives you a reason to call – to make sure they got the package," says Blaise. "They're more likely to answer questions that help you get them qualified or not quickly."
As you proceed, monitor the impact of your marketing efforts and tweak them to emphasize elements that are generating the most favorable responses from prospects.
PREPARE FOR COMMON OBJECTIONS: "Anticipate these objections and have your responses down cold," says Blaise. "If you respond clearly and confidently, you're more likely to be successful."
One objection is that the prospect is already working with another distributor. Blaise suggests a three-stop formula for overcoming this. First, ask if they have a contract with the competition. Most likely they don't, which presents you with opportunity. Then ask: "If I could come up with a great promotion you've never done before, would you work with me?" Even if the immediate answer is no, respectfully convey to the prospect that, if the competition ever has trouble fulfilling a need, the buyer can think of you as an option.
ACTIVATE YOUR ACUMEN: Once you have a meeting, it's time for your consultative selling skills to kick in. Start by anticipating what the particular buyer's aims may be. Say you're meeting with an HR director. There's a chance she's interested in attracting, retaining and rewarding quality personnel. Be primed to offer examples and testimonials of how you can help her achieve this aim. Still, be careful not to assume too much; actually ask the buyer if improved retention is an aim. Be sure to ask open-ended questions, too, that allow you to uncover the most important objectives specific to the buyer, as well as the demographics of the audiences she needs to influence. Then propose solutions that help prospects get the ROI they're after.
Watch this video where Steve Vislisel, creator of the Power of Partnership sales training program, delivers tips for resolving conflicts and closing more deals. http://goo.gl/eQ3oiw
The Sales Bible by Jeffrey Gitomer for advice on how to generate leads and close sales in any market environment.
❑ Identify at least two ideal companies you'd like to add to your client roster.
❑ Determine what specific benefits you can bring to these companies. Consider what objections they are likely to have and craft airtight responses to assuage those concerns.
❑ Watch the video and check out the book.