Harper Morgan
How to win new customers...

How to win new customers...

Posted on Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Asking how to do this is a bit like asking ‘what is the meaning of life?’. Simple stuff at its core – but it can get complicated along the way…
The central principles are:

Define your key added-value deliverables
Be very clear about what it is you are really selling. I don’t mean just the products or services (as important as they are) – but what they can potentially do for your customer. Think carefully about your deliverables and where they are advantageous versus the competition – i.e. where do you have competitive advantage? (bearing in mind that this could be different depending on who the competitor is).

Identify where you are most likely to succeed with new business opportunities
Make a list of the factors which determine where you should seek out your new business and apply some form of ‘weighting’ to allow you to prioritise. At the top of your list should be a question which allows you to define those most likely to be receptive to your ‘story’.

Understand your prospect’s world so you can identify with them
Do your homework on the organisations you plan to approach. What is going on in their world? What’s topical and ‘hot’? What is likely to be on their business agenda?

Consider where your strongest propositions lie
Do some preliminary thinking about the proposition/s you have in your portfolio (see first principle above) which potentially connects with your understanding of what’s likely to be on their agenda.

Where do you first make contact?
Also as part of your homework, consider who the most appropriate first stage contact is.
Remember that:

  • This very often isn’t who the organisation points at the outside world and uses as its ‘filter’
  • Further downstream in your dialogue it will be much easier to be delegated downwards than vice versa.

What message is threaded through your initial communication?
Decide how you will approach the organisation with the ‘lead’ proposition threaded into your communication:

  • Linkedin communication
  • Phone in direct
  • Call PA first
  • Work with partner
  • E-mail/letter in first instance ready for telephone follow-up
  • Seek out introduction from a networked contact
    - In relation to the last point above, it has been our consistent experience that people in selling in the UK give nowhere near enough thought to how they can get an introduction
    - Do you know someone who works there or has worked there?
    - Do you know someone in a complementary business?
    - Can you find out something about their business/market which allows you to make a connection?

What impact do conversion ratios have on the way you plan sales activity?
Do some conversion rate-based arithmetic which ensures that you plan enough activity to achieve your target.

Matching their needs to your deliverables…
When you are with your prospect, put the emphasis on making the connection between your knowledge of what’s happening in their world, his/her needs (as identified by your questions), and your potential deliverables.

Hey presto – the meaning of life…!!

Managing future sales results...

Managing future sales results...

Posted on Wednesday, March 14, 2018

In a recent issue of Director magazine, Philip Sadler attributes the UK’s positive economic outlook for the 21st century to the fact that ‘some learning has been going on’.

He is of course, correct to say this, but I fear that UK industry still has much to learn about the noble art (or is it science?) of selling.

Whilst the salaries offered for senior sales and sales management professionals in places such as the Appointments section of the Sunday Times prove that there are exceptions to the rule, I believe that in the UK today, the profession is still widely misunderstood, undervalued and shrouded in hype.

The snapshot which follows is an attempt to separate the reality from the mythology and nonsense.
Consistent success in selling can be distilled down to the planning and on going management of the three elements of sales activity which produce results:

1. Direction

In relation to the company’s marketing policies (and how well have these been articulated throughout the organisation?):

  • Which products / services are the best bets for the future, and thus require the most sales emphasis?
  • Which customers / potential customers will yield the best results for the future, and which ‘selection criteria’ have been assembled to ensure that the most applicable organisations are targeted for sales attention?
  • At what level(s) within the customer’s hierarchy do you need to be selling to be most likely to secure directly a buying decision?

2. Quantity

Plan the raw effort required.

  • Know the broad stages of your ‘sales cycle’ – from initial appointment-seeking telephone call, to successful conversion.
  • Know your ‘success (conversion) rates’ at each stage.
  • Use your regularly updated knowledge of both to plan the action needed.

3. Quality

Know your products in hard-edged ‘customer deliverable’ terms.

  • Which opportunities do they help your customers to exploit?
  • Which threats do they help your customers to offset?
  • Be aware of how this varies by customer type.
  • Know how your deliverables stack up against those of your key competitors. Plan and execute your questions and overall sales approach around this analysis, and use it as the springboard for selling the real value of what you do for customers, and where applicable, as the justification for resisting price pressure.

It is simple, really, then. Forget the hype and concentrate on carefully planning and managing the three elements of sales activity which will produce your successful sales results of the future.