Welcome to an environment where consumer forums and business discussion pages have turned into a whirlwind of flame threads and anonymous slander attempts, a time when sales teams fight tooth and nail for every contact that might lead to a potential sale. Most people are heartily sick of the folks in ties that wave products and promise magic, of the constant emails that can deliver immortality if you just make one $100 deposit.
So I guess I shouldn’t be surprised at the kind of cutthroat competition you find out there and the extraordinary lengths people will go to close a deal before anyone else can make an offer.
Are there solutions? Always.
It’s a ‘cat eat mouse’ world out there and here’s how to keep your business firmly on the feline side.
1. Find A Lead Generator.
Most sales staff spend at least 40% of their time prospecting. You’ll have to make sure your team doesn’t.
To get around this, use sales intelligence metrics or get in touch with a good lead generation agency or a mailing list provider. These services may cost you a little, but they’ll help you spend more time closing deals and less time finding leads. And that means better profits and superior ROI.
2. Narrow Your Focus.
Cut down on the number of leads you follow up on and focus on delivering more value to each customer. If that means devoting more time to each sale or hiring a larger sales force to help capture every lead, so be it.
The idea is to target highly viable prospects and to increase the amount of time and effort you put into closing each deal. Often, this will raise your company’s reputation for customer service, adding brand value and leaving a trail of satisfied clients.
3. Don’t Wait For Them. Go To Them.
Sitting by the phone, waiting for someone to seek you out isn’t going to help your cause. We’re moving towards an era of super-connectivity where lead generation is a fully-fledged online industry. You need to start leveraging the power of the network to find prospects.
Get out there, find out what’s on people minds and use it to get noticed. Social media, content marketing and a million other virtual avenues are wide open and are helping millions mint some crazy money.
4. Don’t Be Too Pushy!
Forcing your products on to people that don’t really want/need them is the definition of lose-lose. Here’s why,
– If you lose the sale, it’s a waste of time and effort. Plus it you’ll develop a reputation as a pushy sort of vendor that takes a hard sell approach – not something you want to cultivate.
– If you close the sale, the client without a need for your product will view it as a poor investment, further eroding your image and the reputation of the industry as a whole.
Leverage the data you have on hand to isolate a profile of your best customers and break it down to your sales force. Any salesman worth his salt should be able understand and recognize an ideal prospect.
Gear up and get savvy.
Whether you’ve a sales force making 10,000 calls a day or a mailing software that sends out twice as many emails every hour, you’ve still got to be different. 80% of the competition has the creativity and initiative of a snail and won’t be going far beyond cold calls and email blasts. Do you want to count yourself among them? No? Then differentiate.
Train your sales team to gain trust and connect with people over social networks and online forums. This may seem like a tedious affair, but customers garnered in this manner are infinitely more valuable than the garden-variety, cold-call sale.
6. Make Them Come Back.
Repeat business is a great way to maintain a strong foothold on the market. It also raises your brand profile. Besides, if all your sales are one-off purchases, you’re doing something wrong.
Set up an account management division to help you get some of those old customers back. Offer incentives, discount packages, special deals for regular customers, slashed rates for subscribers, etc. These schemes will help bring clients back into the fold – provided of course, that your product really is worth a second purchase.
7. Stay Informed. Stay Dominant.
Keep yourself and your team informed about industry events and developments that are likely to affect your top customers. This can help you isolate predictive trends, helping you adapt smoothly to changing market conditions.
Also, try and find out as much as possible about your current customers. If you know exactly what their requirements are before they outline them for you, you can position your product to meet those needs. Plus, you’ll make some great pitches and gain valuable insight into what really motivates people to purchase your product.