Most business coaches will talk to you about confidence in business, making your offering irresistable or how to succeed within a very short period of time.
Nearly all of them are right in their own way. Communication is a big part of growing a business. You need to be able to talk about your passion (hopefully your business is your passion) but you also need to be able to sell it.
What about the practical things you can do? Most of it is down to talk yourself up, get a coach to build your self-esteem and to challenge you to change your mind-set.
Even though all of them are right, there are a few things you could be doing that will automatically grow your sales, or that will help you stay in your prospects mind.
This article is not about how you sell your products or how to make your services more appealing to customers. I'll take it as a given that you know your products and services better than anybody else. I'm sure you can sell it and I'm also certain that you know how to make your offering irresistable to your clients.
But a few things can help your clients remember you even better.
Here are some actionable, simple steps you can take to grow your sales revenue today.
1. Make your Business Cards more awesome
Business cards - make sure your business card is unique and will help you stand out.
One thing that I actively promote is to have your picture on your business card.
Yes, I'm serious. Put your biggest smile on, get a professional picture taken and put it on your card.
This will help you in many ways. One for starters it will instantly trigger a memory of where your prospect met you for the first time. They will instantly know if they liked you or not.
If they didn't they will definitely not agree to a meeting and you're not wasting more time. But if they did like you, they will be more inclined to meet with you in person.
I'm sure many of you are going to regular networking events to meet new prospective customers. This will help you get up to 15% more meetings as clients are more interested to sit down with you.
We have measured with our clients the success rate from before and after and every single person has grown their meeting success rate by at least 10%. This resulted in more opportunities to sell and of course more closed deals. Try it, it will be worth your while.
2. Boost the impact of your Networking events
If you have never been to networking events, then this is another option to grow your client base.
Working with the chamber of commerce or a networking group could help you gain access to local business owners (SME's) but also to gain more referrals.
On average most businesses will gain between 2 - 15 referrals per month (depending on the business and how good your pitch is).
The most important aspect of networking is in the follow up. Sitting down with your network members on a one to one basis to really understand each others business will help both parties to refer more clients on to each other.
If you go to regular networking events but are not getting the referrals that you are hoping for, this could be for different reasons.
- One could be that the group is not strong enough or don't see networking as important. It happens and if that is the case then it might be time to move on and try a different group. Change is important and changing a networking group is equally important and should be looked at at least on an annual basis.
- The other reason is that your group may not understand you or your business in general. They might not have an interest in your business or think you are just one of many... This means your pitch is not right and you may lack some selling skills that are important to actually close deals. In this case a sales coach can definitely help you gain more referrals.
- Be specific and as precise as possible. If you can, ask for 3 - 5 referrals per week and prepare them in advance. Look up the businesses you would like to get introduced to and ask your group for help to get the referral. Your pitch could finish with something like this: "...today I'm looking for an introduction to business x, business y and business z. I would like to talk to x (decision maker relevant to your business such as HR Director, CEO, Marketing Manager etc.)".
3. Stand out in your Flyers and brochures
Flyers and brochures should be treated similar to your business card. Having a picture of yourself in a corner with your name shown will help you stand out more.
Think about it this way: People are less likely to throw away a business card, brochure or flyer if it has your picture on it. It's like dumping this person in the trash. Many people don't like that and would rather keep it than throwing it away.
If you want to invest a little bit of money, then having a magnetic business card attached to the flyer could work wonders. A magnetic card is something that barely anybody would throw away. Another way to stay in your prospects mind.
4. Stand out from the crowd with physical letters
Use a physical letter to send to your prospects. Make sure you do your research. But sending a letter to a potential client could work wonders.
Create a list of 100 businesses that you would really like to work with, find out who is in charge and send them a letter. Make sure you follow up on your letter with a phone call within 3 - 5 working days after sending it.
The success rate will be from 15 - 35% (we have seen with a few clients even up to 75% success rate of getting the meeting). It is a great door opener and if you personalise the letter to your prospects name and need, you will be able to create more closed deals than any of your competitors.
In today's technology world with everything happening on facebook, twitter and email it is vital to stand out. A simple technique to stand out is to go back to the old ways of doing business. Send a letter.
Not many businesses are doing this (I'm not talking about sending a flyer...this is a personalised letter addressed to the key decision maker...make it personal and it will be remembered and you get the meeting). I'm not saying that email or social media is not important but a healthy balance of new and old ways will help your business to sell more and grow immensely.
5. Most important of all: Follow up
The most important point to all of them is in the follow up. Follow up on leads, prospects you've met, networking, letters or emails you've sent anything really that could get you a meeting with a potential client.
Most people give up after 2 or 3 attempts to contact a potential customer. Stay with it and follow up at least 8 - 12 times before you throw in the towel. Unless you hear a clear "NO, I DON'T WANT TO DO BUSINESS WITH YOU" make sure you continue to stay in your potentials mind.
A follow up is not bugging your client by calling them 12 times in a row. A follow up strategy should be in place. Think about any type of contact you make that could bring you closer to a Yes or No. Don't be afraid to receive a clear no. At least then you know and are able to move on. But sending an email, a letter, a thank you card or small gift as well as calls all count as a follow up.
A simplyfied strategy could be:
- Send a sales or introductory letter
- Follow up with a phone call (did you get my letter...)
- Meet in person (or skype)
- Send a thank you note for the meeting (by email)
- Follow up to whatever was discussed during the meeting (could be sending or preparing an offer, a report etc.)
- If you prepare an offer, under no circumstances send it by email. Call your client and make sure you meet with them to discuss the offer or report that you have prepared.
- Meet up again to go through your report/ offering
- If the deal is not closed at this point, let your client know that you'll be following up within a few days and if next Friday (give them a few days) would be a good day to call them.
- Send a physical thank you note for the meeting
- Follow up as discussed on the specified day. Make sure you don't forget to follow up on the day that you promised to talk to them. This will already show how reliable you are.
- Should the client have not made up their mind yet, make sure you ask about their hesitation. It's not about pushing your customer but to understand why they are hesitating. What is the problem. Arrange another meeting with them if possible (most clients would agree to another meeting).
- Close the deal. If the contract or product is not signed or purchased at this point, or a decision has not been made yet, then something else is off and they just try to keep you warm. (Not in all cases of course, but many that I have come across will turn out to be an utter waste of time after this stage). Choose your battles but make sure that you put an ultimatum on your offering and that the price will go up after that date is reached or that you couldn't guarantee the availability of the product at a later stage. This is your last call to urgency. If you haven't received a definite no yet, ask your client straight out when they will definitely make a decision. If they give you a date, it would be (at least in my book) my last follow up.
Please note that even though this is a 12 step follow up strategy, in many cases you will not even reach stage 8 or 9. They might also not happen in exactly this order. It all depends on your own sales process and procedures in place. But it should give you a good idea of possible follow ups.
I hope you found this article a bit helpful. By using the above, you can make sure your likelihood to meet up with a prospect will increase by at least 35%.
Should you have any questions, please feel free to reach out.
Thank you for reading.
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