Archive for July, 2012

Get Ahead of the Money

Thursday, July 19th, 2012

by Kathrine Glass

We are more than halfway through the year! Yikes! Time flies and timing is everything, right? Right! So, what “times” do you need to be aware of in sales?

6-9 months out

You have probably heard your M&A consultant tell you many times that most companies are strategically planning 6-9 months out. So if you want to sell an event, project or just want to lay in money for a certain quarter, keep that in mind.

As of today, the sixth month mark puts you into 1st quarter 2013! Wow! For our clients, the M&A website has a 1st quarter lead list to help you start the year off strong. Take a look and start contacting prospects now.

Themes/categories of business to consider:

-  Healthy Beginnings

-  New Year’s Resolutions

-  Financial literacy

-  Women’s History

-  Heart Health

-  March Madness

Fiscal Year Beginning

How many times have you heard “sorry, our budgets are spent for the year” as an excuse for a prospect to not move forward with you? The good news is that there are some pretty big accounts whose fiscal year ended in June or will be ending July 31. While ideally you are working with accounts during their planning cycle and prior to budgeting, the opportunity to get money that has just been allocated is a viable option. Here are some companies that you might want to consider right now. (A complete list of companies with June and July fiscal endings is available to our clients on the M&A website under “Lead Lists.”)

-  June Year End Fiscal

  • Proctor & Gamble
  • Microsoft
  • S.C. Johnson
  • The Clorox Company
  • Coty

-  July Year End Fiscal

  • Cisco Systems
  • Campbell Soup Company
  • United Natural Foods
  • Intuit
  • Diamond Foods

Fiscal Year Endings

Knowing a company’s fiscal year will help you in your planning and prospecting. Most companies begin planning their budgets about 6 months from their fiscal year end and the majority of companies follow a traditional calendar year. They have to go to their corporate decision makers, make a case and try to secure the monies that they will have access to for the entire year. They have to demonstrate well thought out plans in order to secure the funding that they need. With a good relationship, you can work with the client to help them to develop those plans and lay in your programs as tactics.

Another important reason to know about a fiscal year ending is that sometimes dollars are left over from the year. The term “use it or lose it” definitely holds true in a corporate environment so get in there and try to scoop up the left overs!

Yes, timing is everything and planning well will set you up to have success throughout the year. Lay in your prospects and your property’s special projects and get ahead of the money! Good luck!

The Stall: A Decision Not to Make a Decision

Friday, July 6th, 2012

by Ginny Speaks

This post is a repost from a article I read in a selling skills newsletter.   The information is adapted from the book, The Best Seller, which the American Management Association calls “the finest book ever written on selling.” The author, D. Forbes Ley, MBA, is executive director of the Sales Success Institute.

Prospect: “I’d like to think it over.”

You’ve just been hit by THE STALL.

The good news is that the prospect does have some desire for your product (after all, he came this far in the sales process with you). The bad news is something is stopping him from buying now.

What are the odds?

If you accept these stalls, hoping they’ll buy at a later date, you will lose 95% of your prospects. Rarely do they “think it over,” and only 50% of them actually “shop around.”

A stall signals conflict

The conflict is the agony of indecision between the desire to have your product, versus the feelings of uncertainty and anxiety. When the desire to have your product or service is great enough they will usually buy. Stalls normally mean your prospects do not have enough reason to buy NOW – they don’t sense a need or have an urgency badly enough. You obviously need to do something, but what?

Focus on the positive emotions

One of the most undeveloped selling strategies is keying in on the prospect’s positive emotions about your product or service. Removing an objection (a negative) can neutralize a block in the decision process. However, that’s not enough. The prospect will buy only when he or she feels a strong positive benefit. Your job is to discover what those benefits are and help the customer focus on them. You might do that by asking questions such as:

  • How would you benefit from our product or service?
  • What do you find attractive about our product or service?
  • What advantage do you see in our offer?

By asking such questions, you will have a clearer understanding of your prospects’ motivation and be in a better position to move them toward a positive decision.

What’s your next move?

Try to find out why the prospect needs more time to “think about it.” You might ask:

  • What do we need to do to earn your business?
  • What is blocking you from going forward?

When prospects identify their reasons for not making a positive decision, you have an opportunity to deal with them. It is the combination of focusing on their positive thoughts of your offer as well as identifying their blocks that offers the best opportunity to overcome stalls.

Rebuild the prospect’s desire.

You may find prospects want the product and are convince of its benefit, but they don’t see why they should buy now. They may not be feeling any urgency! It’s up to you to create the sense of urgency by selling their problem back to them. Build the desire by reminding them of the problem and all of its possible consequences. Get agreement on how bad it really is, and then rescue them with your solution – building on the positive benefits they identified earlier.

Legitimate Stall

Of course there are times where you are legitimately stalled. For example, I experienced this with a sales rep just a few weeks ago. We just finished presenting an integrated program that put an automotive brand in front of the Hispanic community with the opportunity to provide a full month of test drives at a prestigious Hispanic Heritage Festival. The proposal addressed every need and request from the initial homework assignment. When the rep finished the presentation, the Regional Marketing contact said, ” this sound good, yet I need to give this some thought and figure out how I can make it work for the dealers.”   The rep in response (as taught in our training) asked the 1-10 question — “I completely understand, let me ask you this … on a scale of 1-10 where do you see the strength of this proposal?” He replied “an 8″ and then asked us to send him a hard copy of the proposal.” So, with that awesome news, we thanked him and told him he would have the proposal in his in-box later that day. But wait, that is not all. Do you remember him making the statement “I need to figure out how I can make this work for the dealers?” Well, we did. So, in our email back to him with the hard copy of the proposal, we made some suggestions for him to think about on how he could incorporate the dealers into the program.   We are in the process of closing this deal because asking additional questions flushed out the decision maker’s reason for the stall.