Nineteenth-century Danish physicist Hans Christian Oersted gave the world a legacy of discoveries, including one that all of us in sales today can appreciate. Hear me out here, I promise this will be worth it! Oersted discovered electromagnetism, which we can all credit as the basis for many of the comforts of modern life.
However, there's another angle to Oersted's story that I find compelling. Electromagnetism, his most celebrated accomplishment, was something that happened more or less by accident one day while preparing a lecture. He took the time to make note of a curious relationship between a compass needle and a battery. And the rest is, well, history!
So what does this have to do with sales? Glad you asked.
Among the many lessons we can learn from Oersted, his story teaches us that it pays to work a little harder, and that we can learn a lot about attraction simply by taking the time to notice the world around us. In the sales profession, that means taking a good look at your existing and new clients and asking questions, such as: "What is it that attracts more clients in less time, and how can I fine-tune the way I achieve this in my own organization?"
No time like now to do the right thing
Challenging times have a way of revealing the soft spots in the selling strategy of any organization. After all, when times are good and the phone is ringing steadily, most are just too busy to take time to notice any kind of weakness. It's only when the incoming leads slow to a trickle that people start asking "hey, where did everyone go?"
Even if you haven't found this to be the case in your industry, don't wait another day to do the right thing. Think like Oersted. As questions about how things work in your business, and how they can be improved. You can do this by building a client-attraction system. That starts by identifying two things: who out there is buying, and who among your existing clients can you sell more to. Both are vital to maintaining your prospecting sales funnel (and take note, successful salespeople keep theirs filled to the brim…always!)
Determine who is buying
Sure, there are sectors of the economy that are struggling these days, but there are also segments that are succeeding (here at Engage Selling we're enjoying our best years ever).
That's why it's really important to roll up your sleeves and do some digging in your current client database. Do some independent research—or even hire someone to do it for you—so you can determine which industries are performing well. Seek out articles about top performing companies. Take a look at your top-ten percent of sales in your database, create a demographic profile of what they look like, act like, sound like what markets are they in, what regions are they in, and what industries are they in. Next, follow the money. Develop a game plan for how you can sell more to that industry.
Don't forget your existing customers
Three or four years ago, it might have been enough to have a sales strategy built primarily on selling to new customers. Things have changed. As I have pointed out in a previous article, one of the key trends we're seeing in today's economy is that customers are entrenching existing business relationships. In other words, they're sticking with who they know.
Capitalize on this by focusing on your existing base of customers, and make it your number-one goal to sell more to them. Not in the next sales quarter, do it now. The immediate benefit that you'll kickstart your sales right away, but it's also worth remembering that it is always cheaper to sell to those existing customers than it is to have to find new ones. It means you'll be spending fewer resources and less time to sell more—and that's a recipe for success in any economy.
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Make sure you check out Colleen's latest book, Nonstop Sales Boom for powerful strategies to drive consistent sales growth quarter after quarter, year after year.
Colleen Francis, Sales Expert, is Founder and President of Engage Selling Solutions (www.EngageSelling.com). Armed with skills developed from years of experience, Colleen helps clients realize immediate results, achieve lasting success and permanently raise their bottom line.
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