“Let’s do lunch” is a phrase or continuance tactic that most sales people have uttered more than once at the end of a sales call during their career. I’m secure enough to admit that over the years I have in fact created several original continuances –soon to be clichés– to convey the same message. “Call me sometime”, “let’s get together in the new year” or often: “take some time to think about it and I’ll follow up”. A sales message focused on vague next steps is certain to net you vague results. There is a BIG difference between potential and actual, wouldn’t you agree? I’ll call you next Tuesday at 3pm is an actual plan.
Objective – Aim – Intent – Purpose – whatever your organization calls it, is what separates good sales people from those that can’t seem to get their fair share. I like to think of it as starting your “new” revenue generating cycle with the end in mind. What really needs to happen as a result of your efforts to move this opportunity forward?
Here are 6 tips that have helped me create revenue and can shorten the sales cycle:
- Prospecting vs. Sales. There’s a difference! When prospecting you are not selling. Your focus should be on generating interest when prospecting. Keep that in mind as your goal. Getting a prospect to agree to an appointment, or even getting the prospect to introduce you to the right person within their organization, are both good tangible goals.
- Stay focused on results; not attempts. If you have given out an entire box of business cards at a trade show and have no appointments set that have a clear “what the customer will do”, you have only killed another tree.
- Know what you want to achieve going in. Have a focused agenda (plan) of what you want to accomplish “today” in order to move this process forward.
- Give and Get – make sure both you AND your customer are willing to commit to next steps. If you are doing all the delivering and your customer isn’t willing to participate, you have not done your job. If they are trying to keep the next steps vague – not committing to a next time to talk or meet, or make a decision, you need to find out why – it should be a big red flag.
- Build your knowledge base. Identifying situational criteria or filling in the holes or unknowns on the frontend will remove many of the concerns/resistance that could surface later in the process.
- Always try to get a referral. An internal referral is best – the deeper your relationship goes within an organization the better.
Two closing thoughts…Sales or Prospecting calls, face to face or on the telephone without a clear objective are a waste of your time and the company’s money. Second, please document your success strategies or “best sales/prospecting practices” and share/post them with your team!