During the month of October, we're encouraging Wearables readers to participate in one or both of our 30-Day Challenges. (Find the Shop Challenge here.) Our sales challenge was compiled with the expert help of David Blaise, Lisa Peskin, Scott Edinger, Dave Mattson and Kristine Shreve. Use the checklist below to take the challenge, and share your progress on social media using the hashtag #30DaysOfSales, and email your results to Senior Editor Theresa Hegel at firstname.lastname@example.org for possible inclusion in an upcoming issue of the magazine. Good luck!
Maximize your connections.
1. Perfect your 30-second “commercial.” A good introduction references other organizations you've worked with and how you've been able to help them solve their problems, as well as provides a brief description of your ideal prospect or who you'd like to meet.
2. Set up a meeting, either by phone or in person, with your top existing customers and ask them for referrals or references.
3. Pick five customers and look at their LinkedIn connections. Identify people you’d like to be introduced or referred to.
4. Write yourself an introduction letter. Send that letter to those five customers you’ve identified above and ask them to make the introduction to their contacts by forwarding the letter.
5. Find out what associations your customers belong to, then schedule a meeting with those associations or attend one of their events.
6. Ask your existing customers who else they do business with, and schedule a "tele-coffee" with these vendors, such as graphic designers, marketing companies or others that you don’t compete with directly. Form a strategic alliance to exchange leads.
Good, old-fashioned sales prospecting.
7. Knock on doors. Stop by and drop off materials to five companies.
8. Identify another 20 to 25 businesses you’d like to sell to over the next 30-60 days.
9. Now that you have the list of businesses, determine who within that business you need to speak with. If you’re targeting a college, for instance, will you contact admissions, or alumni groups? Who’s in charge of that department of group can often be determined through a phone call or online search.
10. Determine your avenue of approach. The first contact is critical and will say something about you and your business. Choose whether that contact will be via email, or regular mail, or a promotional gift.
11. Make that first contact, and promise to follow up in the next few days.
12. Keep that promise to follow up. The customer might not need what you’re selling, but they’re more likely to engage if you’ve impressed them with your first contact.
13. Qualify their responses. During follow-up, ask questions to determine if your contacts were the correct people and where they are in the buying process. Segment them into the following categories: unqualified (they’re not the right person); generally receptive (they like your ideas, but may not be ready to buy); having a specific date or next step in mind; ready to buy; or unresponsive.
14. Plan future follow-ups. For those who have a specific date or next step, put that on your calendar. If they’re generally responsive, follow up regularly, either via mailing lists or some other correspondence. If they’re unresponsive or unqualified, remove them from your list.
15. Look at the numbers. Of the people you put through this process, how many are ready to buy? Examine your metrics. If you didn’t find the right people, what did you do wrong? How can you find the right people?
Crunch the numbers.
16. Do an analysis of the sources of your business to determine where your sales are coming from. Look at the breakdown of your business; how much is repeat business? How much is additional business from repeat customers? Then, identify opportunities for upselling to your customers.
17. Track net new conversations. Don’t concentrate on the sale itself, but on the number of unique conversations you or your sales force is having every week. Set a target for the number of new conversations you want to have.
18. Challenge your sales force to a contest. Pick two or three metrics from the beginning of the sales process that you want to focus on, and create a contest to increase those numbers.
19. Publish your findings. Keep a leaderboard to let team members know where they stand. It’ll get the competitive juices flowing and lead to better overall results.
20. Start holding morning meetings. Set aside 15 minutes every morning to discuss the day’s goals and identify any big sales in the pipeline.
Optimize your social media.
21. Identify your niche. What markets do you sell to? What’s your specialty? And, what would you like to specialize in? Do this before you do anything else on social media.
22. Draw up a profile of your ideal customer. What do they want or need? What are their habits? Where would this person go online?
23. Follow your competition. It allows you to see who they’re following and who’s talking to them, both of whom may be relevant for your business. It also provides insight on what your competitors are doing and opportunities on outperforming them.
24. Set social media goals. Determine how many engagements you wish to have a month, or how many new followers you have, or how many new posts you wish to have every week.
25. Cut followers. If you have people posting useless or nonsensical items on your page, block them. If you’re following accounts that are not useful, stop following them. If you have requests from people who are not part of your target market, delete them.
Change your mindset.
26. Establish a peer relationship with your next sales call. Remember, you’re a peer of the customer. Even if you’re not on the same level on an organization chart, during that call, you’re a learned peer with value to offer your customer.
27. Plan to create value. Before your call, think of how you can bring value to this particular buyer. How can you help them see a problem they didn’t know they had, or an opportunity they hadn’t considered? This may mean steering them away from a particular product or service that they’re asking for into something that’s a better fit for them.
28. Don't plan what you're going to say. Plan, instead, what you’re going to ask. This may require homework on the customer to determine what business they’re in and how you may be able to help them.
29. Rethink closing the deal. Summarize the content of the conversation and give them options to advance the sales cycle. That could mean signing a contract, but that could mean another avenue – such as scheduling a follow-up call.
30. Finally, be enthusiastic about the possibility of a partnership. Be positive. Enthusiasm is contagious.