Written by: Andrew Lisa
A lot of businesses spent the last several years hanging on for dear life while trying to weather the recession. When a business is in survival mode, it’s not looking to expand. But for many, 2015 will be the first year in a long time that they can again prioritize expansion and the search for new clients. Are you a little rusty? Here are some tips for drumming up new business.
Preparation is the single-most important ingredient to landing new clients.
Be Ready Before You Pick Up the Phone
As discussed in the article “Who’s Getting in Your Way of Gaining Commitments,” plan before you call! The single most destructive element of a sales call gone wrong is a lack of planning. Prepare questions, try to anticipate questions and be prepared with statistics, market research and testimonials to nudge potential customers who are sitting on the fence. Be sure to establish your objectives before you dial, and make sure you have real-life examples about how your product or service is already helping other customers or businesses.
The same holds true when preparing for a job interview. Have brief stories in mind of how you previously helped others where you are currently or previously employed.
Follow Through, Follow Up
Leads don’t become sales on their own. It is crucial to walk the fine line between abandoning a promising prospect and being annoying and overbearing. Once you get off the phone with a potential client, you should immediately start thinking about how to get back on the phone with him or her. A good way to stoke a follow-up call is to embed a reason for more contact into the original call. Make a promise to deliver some statistics regarding the potential client’s industry, and then follow up with with the information you promised to deliver. You will ensure a second phone call while appearing to be diligent and reliable for delivering what you said you’d deliver.
Do Your Homework
The single most important thing you can do is research and preparation. Know the potential client’s industry, know the trends and, most importantly, know the fears of those in the business. Gain an intimate understanding of what your hopeful client does, how they operate and who they rely on for logistical concerns such as scheduling, supply chain, deliveries and support. Only then can you establish yourself as a credible partner who understands the needs and concerns of the client you’re hoping to land.
Get them back on the phone – always follow up!
Be prepared. It can’t be overstated enough, yet so many cold calls are placed by salespeople whose level or planning is totally frozen. Make sure you’ve determined what you want from each call, as well as how to get it, before picking up the phone. But be prepared in a general sense, as well. Make sure you’ve done enough homework on your target client to avoid coming off as amateurish or ill prepared. Finally, always chase the sale – follow up until the deal is closed!
Andrew Lisa is a freelance business writer. He covers marketing, sales and analytics.
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