Archive for December, 2014

Now is the Time to Call

Friday, December 19th, 2014

by Ginny Speaks

This time of year it is so easy to get caught up in the holiday mode and yes, we should enjoy the holiday parties, the cheer, the festivities, yet not get too relaxed and let these next few weeks go along without getting on the phone and making calls. Believe it or not, this is a great time to make calls to prospects because they are in their office and not on the road. Plus, most are in the holiday spirit. But before you dial make sure to do the following:

  • Check their social media presence
  • What are people saying about the brand, the company, and their services?
  • Use LinkedIn to find multiple decision makers
  • Check their Facebook page to see what is the major buzz
  • And check Twitter

Taking time to conduct this research before you call will help you locate pertinent information that you can craft into compelling questions to conduct a successful initial conversation. This research should also help you locate the following information that you should know before ever picking up the phone:

  • Headquarters contact information
  • Decision maker’s title/role
  • Fiscal year
  • Background information
  • Organizational structure
  • Marketing practices
  • New and major products or services
  • Sponsorships and corporate interests

So, make your list (and check it twice) of all those hard to reach prospects that you tried throughout the year and let your fingers do the dialing. You will be glad you did. You will be singing “merry merry to me” all the way to the bank. Have a blessed holiday season.

Contemplation and Moving Ahead to 2015

Friday, December 5th, 2014

by Susan Novicki

The end of the year should force us to we look back on what we’ve accomplished. Looking back, to help us look forward. Perhaps, equally as important is evaluating what didn’t work. Projects that failed, leads that never panned out, skills we need to sharpen or maybe it’s something else that is keeping you from fully experiencing success. Take time this month to contemplate and evaluate.

There is a sale manager that I worked with who used to say “The skills that made you successful for all these years may not be good enough to take you where you want to go”. I recently had a discussion with a client of ours that asked my opinion on why I thought some sales people struggled while others excelled?   We talked a few minutes about it, but the question caused me to think about what I’ve experienced this year working with a wide range of sales reps from across various media throughout the country.

Here are a few observations:

Successful Sellers Have a Plan.

Every salesperson should look at what they want to accomplish in 2015 and create a strategic plan to get there. This is not a budget given from their manager, but a plan on what it will take to achieve their goals. One rep I know saw a gap in a part of the city that was growing abundantly but few of the businesses in that area worked with his media. He targeted that area with a goal of adding one new client from that area each month.   A plan should be strategic and forward thinking, allowing time for adjustments and opportunities as they arise. Another rep looked at the success that she was having with a category of business and concentrated on opening up new business within that category. Whatever the case, it is important to create a plan and change it as you go – nothing is static and your plan should always be evolving as you are closing business.

“A goal without a plan is a wish”

– Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

Successful Sellers are Great Prospectors!

You have to do it and you have to track it! It’s frustrating to watch some sellers continue to prospect the same way over and over with little results. How about this? Try tracking leads for three months by simply keeping a log of all the prospecting calls made. At the end of the three months, give yourself a score by how many you closed or are still viable leads. Look for a pattern in those that close and those that don’t. So many times salespeople are going after “safe” leads that are probably too small to create any significant momentum to close. I find that often those that struggle with finding good leads tend to gravitate toward companies that are comfortable, but maybe not profitable.

“You can’t plow a field simply by turning it over

in your mind.” — Gordon B. Hinckley

Successful Sellers Understand the Roles of All Decision-Makers in a Target Company

Titles can be very deceiving.  And there can be multiple channels within a company with separate budgets. Focus on who are the internal and external influencers? Who signs the checks? Who can say no, but cannot say yes? Who makes deals happen? Who is going to be your “coach” to get the deal closed? Keep track of all of your points of contacts with a successful client and use that model in working new prospects.

Successful Sellers Ask Tough Questions

Doing a good needs analysis or CNA takes practice. If you’ve been in sales for any amount of time, this may seem obvious. However, to modify the statement earlier, “Asking the same questions that made you successful so far may not work in the future”. Ask tough questions that get to the pain and not those that you likely already know the answer. Now more than ever, media sellers need to be solutions partners with clients. It’s not about media! What is the most successful program that they have done to attain their initiatives? What has been the least successful? Dig deep in asking the questions and LISTEN to what they decision-maker is saying to you.

Successful Sellers Don’t Get Caught Up in the Minutia

This is perhaps the #1 reason I see sellers struggle. Focus on what matters and be cautious of getting caught up in small and trifling matters that do nothing to advance your success. There are hundreds of distractions each day that side track sellers, use up valuable time and reduce productivity. Find ways to avoid the minutia and keep moving forward.

It’s certainly not as simple as summing it up in a few points, but have a reality check with yourself. Look through your inventory of skills and address areas you can make changes.  Don’t waste too much time on the research before making the call. A little knowledge goes a long way. And most importantly, keep track for a week of how you spend your days – how much of the week is on closing business? How can you increase productivity and focus on your strategic plan and exceeding your goals?

For 2015, analyze 2014, create your strategy, update and change it frequently, prioritize your workload each week, and focus on smart activity to become incredibly successful and make lots more money.

“Unless commitment is made, there are only promises and hopes, but no plans.”

– Peter F Drucker