I get a ton of emails from people seeking insight or asking me to solve sales dilemmas. Here are a couple that may relate to your job, your life and, most important, your sales thought process right now:
Jeffrey, I’m interested in your insight and guidance. I think selling is the best job in the world, but there’s one aspect I’m struggle with. It’s the feeling of being out of control, and being the master of my own destiny. I tend to work on more complex deals that have large decision making groups, and therefore can be quite a long cycle. I used to sell smaller deals where I could track progress more meaningfully, but now I find myself doing 1 x $1M deals rather than 10 x $100k deals where the risk was spread. Any tips on how to stay sane while waiting for big decisions? How do I regain and maintain a feeling that I’m in control of my results? Best regards, Paul
Paul, Managing your time is not the answer. Prioritizing your accounts in the order that they are likely to close is a better way to view the process. But there are several elements involved, and several decisions you have to make:
1. Why would you give up your bread and butter and just shoot for the moon?
Instead, allocate half your time to sure money and half your time to the big prize. This will leave you in control of your short-term destiny, and allow you to mark a clearer path toward the bigger deal.
2. All committees have a daddy. The person that leads the committee, or even the person that he or she reports to, are the two people that you should be establishing relationships with because they control the outcome. If you simply go in and make a presentation to a committee, they’ll be forever lost in the shuffle of indecision, proposals, and fighting price with competitors (three of the worst, if not dumbest, elements in making a large sale).
3. Direct contact is not an option. Stop emailing people and waiting for replies. Phone numbers, cell phone numbers, early morning coffee, late afternoon casual conversations, gathering personal data, and sending important business information will help establish you as a resource, rather than being looked at as a vendor.
3.5 Your level of frustration is only a symptom. Your problem is you haven’t identified the real decision maker, how the decision will be made, and what the real motive is to purchase. Until you know those three things, your frustration will most likely fall into poverty. Not good. Best regards, Jeffrey
Jeffrey, My name is John and I am a house call veterinarian in Syracuse, NY. I have read several of your books and I love your iPhone app! I am having some difficulty growing my business and I KNOW you are the perfect person to help me!
I have been in business for just over four years. Things are steady and stable, but we are not growing the way I know we could and should be. In fact, SOMEHOW, it seems that regardless of our marketing efforts, referrals, etc. we ALWAYS come out JUST AHEAD of being behind in the financial department. It drives me crazy as everybody we meet tells us how great we are and what an unusual and helpful service we provide, yet we are STILL booking no more than one week ahead at a time. I have tried practically EVERY type of advertising (newspaper, TV, radio, billboards, handouts/fliers) with no great outcome. We are a luxury service (and prefer it that way). We have run out of great ideas to try that won’t cost a ton of money. Please help! John
John, Before you let your business go to the dogs, you might want to try less advertising and more promotion.
Begin with your Facebook business page. Post stories and videos of your existing customers and their experiences with you. Tag the customer and tag the photo. Your customer will begin to send that story to all of their friends. Also start a YouTube channel. Make sure all the videos are posted there as well – with all the appropriate tags. Without taking advantage of business social media, especially Facebook, your doomed to waiting for response.
The second thing you have to do is contact every existing customer and talk to them about why they use you. Capture all of those reasons and begin to use them in all of your messaging and promotions.
Third, start a weekly email magazine that features one of your customers every week.
Fourth, subscribe to Ace of Sales. Every time you have a customer, take a photo of their pet and using the Ace of Sales email program, include a photo of their pet along when you send them a thank you note for their business.
With all the promotion that you do, you will begin to have positive word-of-mouth messages and positive internet messages sent out about you and ultimately sent back to you. Advertising alone will not get you the response that you need in today’s world. You have to dedicate the time and the resources to social media promotion and other forms of proactive outreach. You have all the assets you need to succeed in your business, you just haven’t utilized them in the proper way. Best regards, Jeffrey