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Archive for January, 2011

The Cornerstones of an Effective Sales Strategy

Thursday, January 20th, 2011

Below are four keys to an effective sales strategy:


1.    Knowing how you help your customers (Value Proposition)

It is very helpful to clearly define the value that you bring to your clients. The better you can communicate this and the more quantifiable you can get, the more effective your strategy will be.  Taking this one step further, building tools to use during a sales process to help estimate the return on investment can be very effective and could be the difference.


2.    Knowing how you differ from you competition (Differentiation)

Fully understand and embrace how you are different from your competition.  This could either be your strengths or your competitions weakness and every person in the sales organization should know this inside and out.  Sales professionals often focus on learning about their own products and features.  But for consistent results, it is just as important to know how you differ every sales person must be able to clearly articulate this to prospects.


3.    What customers benefit the most from your products and services (Target Market)

Your products and services likely fit better with some prospects more than others.  This fit will be determined by understanding those that stand to benefit most from doing business with you.  This group becomes your sweet spot and your ideal prospects.


4.    What is the best way to communicate with your prospects

A key step to building out an effective sales strategy is to map out how to effectively communicate with prospects to find new business.  This will be greatly impacted by the product being sold and the type of customer being sold to, but will ideally be a mix of cold calling, email marketing, networking, social media, door-to-door, referrals, repeat business, etc.  The answer and best fit will always be different, but there is certainty in the fact that an effective sales strategy will utilize multiple forms of communication in order to effectively get a prospect’s attention.

Those are four key areas where attention and thoroughness can be placed to build a solid foundation to build on.  Once you clearly know how differ, the benefit you deliver, who you need to focus on, and how you are going to communicate, a strong sales strategy of sales resources, sales processes, sales training, and sales material can all be built and put in place to drive an effective sales strategy.


Launch Pad Solutions
helps companies to improve sales strategy through sales consulting.

 

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Dealing with Approach Anxiety for Effective Cold Calling

Saturday, January 15th, 2011

It is very common for sales people of any level of experience to dread making cold calls.  If effective cold calling is not incredibly complex, why is it that we can dread doing it so much?  The answer to that question can be traced back to a concept called approach anxiety.

Approach anxiety is the feeling that people experience when they are considering approaching somebody that they do not have a relationship with.  This could occur in a number of different scenarios, but the most common would be for a man who is interested in talking to woman that he does not know.  This man may feel fear and a pit in his stomach before he approaches the woman.  In many cases, this feeling can be so intense that it prevents him from ever approaching the person he is interested in.

Just as approach anxiety can affect and prevent a man from approaching a woman, it can impact effective cold calling.  Even though the worst thing that can happen is for someone to say they aren’t interested, we fear the rejection and that can sometimes generate anxiety.  This anxiety creates resistance and dread when it comes time to start cold calling.

Below are simple things to do to deal with approach anxiety and drive effective cold:

Preparation
Think about when you were in school and you took a test where you were not prepared as much as you wanted to be and one where you knew the information inside and out.  It is likely that you had anxiety when you were unprepared and you probably had a high level of confidence and comfort when you were prepared.  Preparing for cold calls can give you that same comfort and confidence.  This would include having a script, knowing your product, knowing your customer, knowing your competition, and preparing for the objections you are likely to receive.

Affirmations
Believing in yourself, believing in the company you work for, and believing in the product you are selling can not only decrease anxiety, but it can also drive effective cold calling.  Making a list of affirmations that help you have a high level of confidence and read these before you cold call can help to decrease anxiety.

Routine
Getting into a routine can help decrease anxiety and drive effective cold calling.  A routine that may decrease the anxiety is to go over some affirmations, review some product and customer information, then outline some notes on what you are going to discuss, then make some warm calls to low levels or people that are more approachable.  This process can help the person to warm up and defuse anxiety.

Track Activity
Track your activity for calls made, people connected with, leads created, etc.  Tracking activity is important for many reasons, but when it comes to approach anxiety and effective cold calling, it can help to give you a feeling of productiveness and that can help to create momentum and defuse any resistance to making cold calls.

Launch Pad Solutions, LLC helps to drive sales excellence through the delivery of sales training.



 

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Using Content to Improve SEO – Search Engine Optimization

Thursday, January 13th, 2011

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is process that people and businesses are using to improve and increase the amount of traffic that search engines send to a website.  The more traffic that you can get search engines send to your way, the more you can drive growth and increasing sales.

The key thing to understand is that search engines want to provide the most credible and informative results for their users web searches and one of the methods they use to determine how credible and informative a site is by analyzing the amount and quality of content on the website.  With that being the case, there are clear things that can be done to use content to improve SEO.


The Content, the Better

The traditional web marketing philosophies revolved around having very clean web pages.  To achieve this, businesses were building pages that had as few words as possible and lots of graphics.  And while that approach creates web pages that are very appealing to the human eye, those types of pages are not very appealing to search engines.

Search engines want to direct users to informative sites so search engine will value a page that has a lot of text and content as more valuable than one that is very clean with images and less words.  To improve SEO, try to have as much content and applicable text on each web page as possible.


Add Content Regularly

Search engines also factor in how often content is being added to the website.  The more regularly and often that content is being added a website increases the odds of the website being more credible and informative.  Using a blog and adding articles is a good way to regularly add content and improve SEO.


Update Content Regularly

Web pages that are monitored and regularly updated are valued higher by search engines versus pages that are published and never touched again.  As a result, by modifying or updating existing web pages regularly, the search engines will have the perception that the site is actively being monitored and updated.  This makes the site more credible and informative than a site that is does not have existing pages updated.


Total Amount of Content

Search engines will evaluate the total number of web pages for a domain when they measure how credible and informative a website is.  A website that has 500 total pages will be valued higher than a similar site that only has 20 total pages.  Focus on increasing the total number of pages and improve SEO for a domain is by having a blog, articles, or forum attached to website.
By utilizing some of these tactics, search engines can hold a website in higher regard.  That results in higher ranking in for users web searches and this can lead to an increase in web traffic.  An increase in web traffic is one of the most cost effective ways to increase sales.

Launch Pad Solutions provides sales consulting helping businesses to drive positive results.



 

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Prepare for Objections for Effective Cold Calling

Tuesday, January 11th, 2011

There is one guarantee while cold calling and that is that we will encounter objections.  Objections are like little stop signs, and periodically during a cold call, the prospect will hold one up to try to end the call.  By being prepared for the objections and having the best response ready, you can improve your skill at effective cold calling.

An objection during a cold calling is essentially the other person’s attempt to take the call in the direction of their choosing.  And when someone answers a cold call, the most likely direction that they would like the call to drive it to its end.

Below are examples of some of the most common objections:

What is this call in regard to?
I am not interested.
I do not have time right now.
He does not talk to vendors.
Talk to my assistant.
I am already using something for that.
We do not have money to spend right now.

The reason that objections will occur is that when people answer a call where they feel like somebody is trying to sell something, their guard will increase and they will look for reasons to end the call.  It is similar to when people go through a stack of mail.  As we look at each piece of mail, we typically look for clues that allow us to identify it as junk so that we can quickly throw it away.

The same process is used when we get an unexpected call.  We instantly look for reasons to label it as a cold call and then look for reasons to end it.  As soon as we see reasons to end the call, we throw up an objection.  If the cold caller is not prepared, the call will end and there will affect the level of effective cold calling.One effective cold calling technique to do when we get an objection is to redirect.

This approach is to concede to the fact that it is not likely that we will overturn an objection in a cold call that lasts just a few minutes.  In addition, to try to address a prospect’s objection will give it life and attention.  And to try to change the prospect’s mind could be perceived as challenging and confrontational.  Thus, it can be effective to redirect by asking a question that keeps the conversation going and possibly goes into another direction.

The good thing about objections is that there are only so many that you can come across.  There may be a different set of objections for different products, but at the end of the day there are only so many things a prospect can say to try to abruptly end a cold call.  For effective cold calling, it can be helpful to list out the objections that you run into and then compose the best response that you can think of.


Launch Pad Solutions, LLC
helps drive sales effectiveness by providing sales professionals and organizations with sales training.



 

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Sales Prospecting is More Than Cold Calling

Monday, January 3rd, 2011

People often use the term prospecting and cold calling interchangeably.  And it maybe semantics but actually cold calling is just one component of sales prospecting as prospecting is actually a larger process that includes many different steps.


Step One:  Profiling

This is the act of building out the profile of the ideal customers that would fit best for what you have to sell.  Profiling involves identifying the customers that are most likely to buy and benefit from the products and services that you sell.  Factors you will want to look at are the size of companies that are ideal in terms of the industry they operate, revenue or employees, their geographic location, etc.

You are basically identifying where your sweet spot is in terms of customers to go after so that the time you spend prospecting is focused in the area that delivers the best return.


Step Two:  Targeting

Targeting is to build a list of all of the potential prospects that fall under the profile that you built in step one.  There are many resources to use to build this list but one example is Hoovers.  If you subscribe to Hoovers, you can go onto their site and easily plug in the company size, location, industry, etc., and you will then have a fairly comprehensive list of all of your prospects.


Step Three:  Suspecting

The next step in the sales prospecting process is Suspecting.  Suspecting is the act of going through the comprehensive list of prospects and identifying a pool of suspects. .  Information that you might want to use to identify suspects is any information on what the company is doing or has done that may exist in your customer relationship management system.


Step Four:  Researching

After Suspecting in the sales prospecting process is to Researching.  This is a customer information gathering process with the goal of getting to a point where you are able to pre-qualify them as prospects.  The type of information that you might want to gather is the state of the company (growing, shrinking, or maintaining), identify contacts and who is responsible for what, and identifying what their current processes and systems are.


Step Five: Identification

Identification is the next step in the sales prospecting process.  This is where you take the information found during the research phase and either classify the company being researched as a prospect or remove them from the list.  If the company is identified to be a prospect, their name should be put onto a target list.


Step Six:  Contact

The final step in the sales prospecting process is to contact the prospect.  This part of the process is a whole other subject in itself, but to highlight some key points:  contact should be made at the top or executive level, contact should be made in a mix of ways from calling, emailing, physical mail, etc., and the goal of the initial contact should not be to sell but more to secure an appointment.

Source:  Jake Atwood, President at Ovation Sales Group & BuzzBuilder Pro


Launch Pad Solutions
helps sales professionals and sales organizations to drive sales effectiveness through sales training.



 

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