Over the last 20 years, I have worked with a lot of salespeople and CEOs that also sell.
In that time I think one of the biggest issues of all time is that people think they are good at closing the deal (or their team is good at closing the deal), but they just do not have enough people to speak to.
I can say that I personally have been through professional sales training and actually train people on sales. Early on most salespeople are not as good as they think they are, I certainly wasn’t, but that is another topic. I know my lack of “professional” sales skills and lack of a sales process ended up doing 1 of 2 things… it either scared people off because I came on too strong when I got the first sign of interest, or I was wasting my time on a small circle of contacts that I had that I knew needed my solutions but were not buying them so I kept after them for years trying to get the timing right. I can tell you… just because they have a “NEED” doesn’t mean they are a qualified or ideal customer in the waiting. At the end of the day, this is lazy and counting on “HOPE” that these people will one day come around.
I get it, I made these mistakes myself, so I understand why people do them, but it is time to address these issues and start to work on fixing them.
All salespeople need to work on prospecting. Sadly most focus on closing techniques or scripts or other tactics but never master building a pipeline.
You see prospecting is the habit of continually getting in front of people daily. If you are a salesperson or a business owner selling your wares, you need to find a way to do daily prospecting. You need to be out in the marketplace adding value to people’s lives in some way. You could be doing social-selling and adding value on Facebook, Twitter, or Linkedin for 1 hour a day or you could be doing in-person networking events, or daily cold-calling for an hour a day.
The point here is this… you need to build the habit of daily prospecting early on or if you are in that state of having too little business currently.
Ideally, you want to get to the point where you build a pipeline filled hundreds or thousands of targeted leads. This can be done via a website where you use content marketing and offer ebooks to generate leads, it could be done by offering weekly webinars, or by building a community of followers in a LinkedIn or Facebook group. The goal is to build a following and an email list.
Keep in mind although groups on social media are great, your goal is to build an asset that adds value to your business. Anything on a social platform is not your asset. Anytime you build on someone else’s platform (LinkedIn or Facebook, etc.) you are held captive to their rules and regulations. This means they could change their algorithms or preferences and a once thriving community might start to struggle or at least not be scalable any longer. So it is important to make sure when you do build on someone else’s platform, you are only putting part of your resources into that platform and still putting a majority into building your own platforms.
What platforms you use depends on what your strengths are or the strengths of your sale’s team are. If you have the ability to build highly targeted lists and you or your team are good at banging on the phone then create a systematized cold-calling platform. If your teams sucks at or hates cold calling, then try social-selling.
My point here is you need to find the daily and habitual habits that make good connections. You need to find a way to master prospecting at all cost.
Depending upon your industry or ideal target may also depend on which prospecting method will work. Keep in mind the better you know your ideal customers, the easier it will be to know WHERE they hang out and then BE THERE. The more you understand their problems, the easier it will be to SPEAK THEIR LANGUAGE and address their problems.
Sales is really nothing more than communication to find out if YOU CAN HELP prospects.
It is not about persuasion and manipulation or tricking someone into buying what you sell. A professional salesperson is looking to build rapport and find compelling reasons a prospect would want and need your help to reach a goal they define. This is the closing part though. Your goal is to define what your own sales goals are and how many qualified sales conversations you need to have in order to hit your monthly goal.
How does one do this? Well, let’s first start with a monthly sales goal. Let’s use $10K a month as an example. If you are going to close $10K in business how many qualified sales conversations will you need to have a month? What if we use practical numbers. Let’s say you have a 20% close rate and what you are selling averages $1K per month. So you need 10 customers every month to hit your monthly goal. This means you need to have 50 real sales conversations each month to close 10 of them. Typically I would say you need 100 leads or 100 touches every month in order to get 50 qualified sales conversation.
So the breakdown looks like this…
- Lead Generation or Lead Touch or Targeted Cold Call Goal = 100
- Lead to Qualified Sales Conversation Conversion = 50
- Qualified Sales Conversation to Closed Customer Conversion = 10
- Closed Customer Average Value Per Month = $1000
- Total Monthly Revenue Generated = $10,000
Why is going through this process important?
Well, you now have a starting point to measure your sales success against, but more importantly for the main topic of this article, you now know your monthly goal is to generate 100 touches or leads every month. From here you can start creating a plan for how can you generate 100 leads or 100 touches? Create a strategy of cold calling, networking, social-selling touches, online lead generation or whatever.
Now, to be honest, these numbers will change for your industry, skill set, average sale, and monthly goal, but the concept works for everyone. Once you start with your monthly goal you can start doing whatever it takes to hit 100 touches/leads. Maybe these numbers are perfect for you or you add your own numbers and they just work on the first run, but chances are more likely this is just a foundation for accountability. Over time, using a systematic approach like this will help define what the REAL numbers are. The great thing about this is once you have the real numbers dialed in you can replicate things month over month. This is going to excite any CEO or Salesperson.
What habits will it take to hit your monthly sales goal? Was this breakdown helpful to get you focused on how to define your daily/weekly habits? Does it make sense how important daily/weekly habits are for hitting your sales goals? What would you like to know related to this topic? Do you think this will help you get enough people to talk to or are you still confused how to do that?
Photo by Richo.Fan