Too often, sales teams wait until the end of a fiscal period before they shift into high gear, and ‘push the pedal’ all the way to the floor, in an effort to boost results. Since the day of reckoning is surely coming, however, why wait until your back is against the wall to ramp up sales productivity?
It would be optimistic to hope enough deals would simply materialize out of thin air to make your numbers before year-end. It’s more likely that whatever business you close in the coming months will be a direct result of the level of effort you put forth in the coming weeks–to cultivate new prospects, nurture qualified opportunities, and ultimately, bring deals to fruition.
So, why delay? Crunch time is…NOW!
With half the calendar year already behind us, and the finish line now in sight, here are three specific execution strategies worth considering:
1.) Re-Think Your Account Penetration Strategy
How many voice-mails have you deleted, or email solicitations have you trashed, in the last few weeks without listening to the entire message, or reading past the very first sentence? A bunch? That’s because traditional ‘cold calling’ tactics are no longer cutting it, and continuing to sound just like everyone else who is knocking on your same door list of target accounts has become somewhat of a futile exercise.
Fortunately for those who are willing to step outside the box of traditional sales thinking, there is an antidote for customer standoffishness—curiosity.
If a key decision maker in an important target account is not the least bit curious about who you are or what you can do for them, it’s highly unlikely that you will get an audience with them. On the other hand, as prospective buyers become more curious about how you can add value, that’s the ticket to securing a precious slice of their time and their attention.
So, what are you doing to ‘leverage curiosity’ in the sales process? If the answer to that question isn’t clear, whether you prefer books, audio, or on-site training, I’ve spent the last 20+ years teaching sales teams how to gain an ‘unfair’ advantage in terms of penetrating more new opportunities.
2.) True Differentiation is Highly Intangible
Simply claiming to offer the best products is no longer enough if you sell into highly competitive markets. You must also find ways to differentiate yourself from everyone else who is out there claiming that, “We’re better.”
Trouble is, important sales attributes like credibility, integrity, and thought leadership are not just something that can be indiscriminately claimed. They must be earned, which is why it’s crucial for salespeople to understand how to convey more intangible value than the competition, throughout the sales process.
3.) Secure Smaller Commitments on the Way to the Larger Sale
Strategic deals generally require a series of smaller sub-steps on the way to consummating a mutually beneficial business transaction. As a result, your ability to secure those initial and secondary commitments are often just as important as wrapping up the final deal.
What’s the best way to secure these smaller commitments? One option is to try and push customers to move forward. Another is to beg. The best option to move your opportunities forward is to use of superior closing technique.
What does an effective closing question sound like? Here’s just one of many examples:
Salesperson: “Mr. Customer, would it make sense to get the appropriate people together in front of a flipchart (or WebEx), so we can map out your options, how they would impact your business, and the associated costs?”
If you treat the mid-summer months as “crunch time,” and focus on increasing your sales effectiveness in each of these areas, the seeds you sow in the near-term should put you in a strong position to far exceed your numbers by year-end.