With better economic conditions coming soon, there couldn’t be a better time to brush up on your sales skills. The recent downturn has made companies think twice about who they are dealing with and has made them potentially more likely to switch suppliers. Perhaps to your firm?
Here are a few ideas to get you and your sales team fired up!
Don’t give up on your bottom 80%
The rule of thumb has generally been that top 20% of your customers generate 80% of your revenues. However, due the slump, don’t give up on your bottom 80% of your customers. Your best clients for 2010 might not have spent anything in 2009. Hopefully you’re still on their radar for when they are ready to spend again.
Map out a sales plan
It’s worth laying out a sales plan so your reps aren’t running off in all directions. Map out a timeline for every step in the sales cycle. Look at researching prospects, making initial contact, presenting the product and closing the deal.
Get the CEO some face time
I’ve always been a proponent of getting the CEO out in front of clients so he or she really knows what’s going on. It also sets a great example with the sales team. And nothing says “I really want your business” more than a CEO who makes the effort to meet with potential customers.
Listening vs. Boasting
Successful salespeople listen a lot more than they talk. They’re able to ask focused questions, such as “What is the greatest challenge you see your company facing in 2010” and listen closely to the answers. This will likely reveal the customer point of pain which you and your company can address. Or, on the flip side, get your potential clients to paint a picture of success and inquire what has stopped them from achieving it. Figure out what you can do to help them get there.
Be realistic on what you can deliver
Your salespeople might be landing business at prices lower than your cost. Talk to your team and make sure they know they can go this low, but no lower.
<pPIn a tough economy more companies consider switching suppliers – just the opening your firm needs. So talk to your sales team and make sure you’re all on the same page.