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The Center for Sales Strategy Blog

Referrals—Just Try Them!

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The other day I was talking with a sales manager who was lamenting that his people were having a very tough time getting appointments with quality prospects. We talked about all the ways we recommend salespeople warm up otherwise cold calls, but we ended up focusing on perhaps the most powerful way to get a warm reception — a referral from a current, satisfied client. The problem is, most salespeople simply do not ask for referrals because they are not accustomed to doing it. So we decided we would instruct everyone to ask five clients for a referral in the next week. Simple, yet new! You know what is going to happen here.  

Topics: referrals new business development Sales

To Improve Sales Performance, Remember To Switch Your Hat!

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To improve sales performance, remember to switch your hat... and only wear one at a time! Let's talk about the difference between educating and presenting. There is no doubt you are aware of the products, or capabilities, you have to sell. Most of your clients are aware of your "heritage" products, but when it comes to some of the more complex products you are capable of delivering, your clients and prospects need to be educated about what they are and—more importantly—how they can use the products to achieve their business goals.

Topics: new business development Needs Analysis Sales

Think Spring! A Sales Strategy to Nurture Leads

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Lead nurturing is a bit like gardening. Most often leads or new business prospects are not ready to buy immediately. If you take the time to nurture the leads you generate now, they will bloom like daffodils in the spring.

Topics: Setting Appointments new business development lead generation Sales

Prospecting is Dead… Long Live Prospecting

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Did you know that your chances of making a sale go up a gazillion percent when the prospect actually asks to be contacted by you? Of course you knew that! So how do you make this happen?

Topics: content marketing lead nurturing new business development inbound marketing

Generate More and Better Sales Leads in 7 Steps!

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According to a State of B2B Procurement study from the Acquity Group, 94 percent of business buyers do some form of online research before they meet with a salesperson. Your prospects are looking online before they agree to an appointment. And if they're finding information and assistance from your competitors instead of you, who do you think they're going to meet with?

Topics: internet marketing Setting Appointments new business development inbound marketing Sales

5 Ideas for Running Successful Sales Appointments

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When a sales manager asks, “What does the client or prospect expect from this meeting?” too often salespeople say something like, “I don’t really know, but I definitely need to ask them some questions about their business.”

We spend so much of our time working to get the appointment, and then we fail to make sure the appointment will produce a successful sales meeting. What a missed opportunity! 

Topics: setting expectations new business development Sales

Don't Delete Me! The Sales Email Subject Line

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If you depend on email to grab a prospect’s attention and nail down that elusive first appointment, you should spend as much time honing the subject line of that email as you spend fine-tuning the entire body of the message.

Your competition is doing exactly that. If you do a Google search on "email subject line research" you'll find that myriad studies and tests are being done each year. And make no mistake: The big-time emailers out there may not be trying to make an appointment to sit down with your prospect, but in the email Inbox, they’re your competition. 

Some marketing gurus tell us that writing a good subject line is like—and as important as—writing a newspaper headline. Fact is, the email environment is much tougher, much bloodier. When your prospect sits down with the daily paper, he has usually committed himself to 20 minutes or more of reading, perhaps with a cup of Joe or a glass of wine readily at hand. Not so when he’s reviewing the latest avalanche of messages to arrive in his Inbox! On email, he’s in constant triage mode, ready to hit the delete button, allowing himself only 2.7 seconds to determine if there’s a good reason he shouldn’t. 

Topics: Setting Appointments new business development lead generation Sales

Sales Contests Don't Work. Target Drives Work.

sales-contests-dont-work-target-drives-workHere's the deal. Sales contests don't work. At least not the same way they once did. Of course I've seen some sales contests work in my 20+ years in sales and sales management, but none with consistency, and none with the level of success I felt necessary for growing my business.

Topics: new business development Management Sales

Don't Call on the Person in Charge of Buying

calling-warm-leadsCall the person in charge of selling, not buying! Sound crazy? Not if you’re developing new business. The problem with calling on the person in charge of buying when you’re trying to develop new business is their focus is on your product, how expensive you are, and other technical aspects of your delivery. People in charge of buying are trained to compare products and dismiss you, or to pit you against your competitors to get the lowest price.

If you want a solid sales strategy, and you want to develop new business for your company, why not call on the person in charge of selling? There is a director that runs a smoking cessation clinic in your city. He has a quota to make. There is a regional manager for a group of health clubs in your market and she has numbers to meet. There might even be someone in charge of indirect distribution for one of your wireless providers–someone who has to figure out how to get more phones and more contracts out of mall kiosks and other retailers they sell to.

Topics: new business development sales strategy Sales

How to Solve the Stage Fright of New Business Development

stage-fright-salesperson“All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players…” 

- William Shakespeare

An account manager recently sent me a note with this cool compliment: “Thank you, thank you, thank you. I always feel so confident after we speak.”

That last line stopped me in my tracks and brought a smile to my face. Confidence is such an important aspect of what we all do. With it, great things can be accomplished; without it, few things will even be attempted. So I reflected on the conversation that led her to make that statement. Why did she reach out to me? And what, exactly, happened during our call?

Topics: new business development Sales sales process