Welcome to Focus on Sales part 4, where we’re looking at the next foolproof tip to be a great salesperson: Tip 38 Get clients to come to you.
Going out there and finding clients is an essential part of any salesperson’s or entrepreneur’s skill set. It’s like with fishing – you have to drive to a lake or river, climb in a boat, row out to where the fish are and dangle your lure. But once you’re there, you have to wait for the fish to take the bait, choose your lure over the live insects buzzing around, or other small bits of food traversing the underwater world.
With sales, you have to get your product or service out there, get talking to the market, finding clients. But once you’re out there, what’s your lure, your bait, as a salesperson? What’s going to get clients to not just choose you, but actively come to you when they need a product or service like yours?
1. Learn to use social media properly
It’s pretty amazing when you stop and think about it – the way the internet and cellphone technology has permeated our lives in just the last twenty or so years. In the early nineties, it was still pretty novel and people were using dial-up almost exclusively to connect. People who are currently in their mid-to late thirties and older grew up in a world where hanging around waiting for a phonecall was an everyday reality and where written communication consisted almost exclusively of sending an actually letter in the post.
Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Intstagram – none of these things existed at all 15 years ago and even at that time, it took some companies quite a lot of convincing that they even needed a website. Nowadays, it seems almost a no-brainer, but so many people have no idea how to effectively use their website and social media to their best benefit, especially when it comes to sales.
But think about it – after you’ve dropped your introductory email, sent your opening desk-drop or made that first appointment, what do you think your prospective client is going to do? Wait around for you to come and tell them how amazing your product is? Listen in rapt attention while you explain the brilliance of your service? No. They’re going to hop online and try and find out everything they can about your product, your service… and you. If you are selling a fantastic product but your Facebook profile is full of racist rants, sorry, that sale is gone. If your service will revolutionize the way they operate, but your Twitter feed is all retweets of vapid-celeb-of-the-week pearls of wisdom, you’re not going to come across as someone to take seriously. Your online persona needs to be clean, professional and properly managed, so take some time to learn how.
2. Marketing is not a four-letter word
Sales and Marketing have a long history together – and not all of it is very friendly. There is definite competition between the two and, especially in companies that have departments dedicated to both, there can be a great deal of competitiveness.
Who is actually responsible for the company making money? Is it the marketing team with their clever branding, awareness-building, advertising and innovative direct mailers, or is it the sales team, who are out there daily, making calls, visiting clients, convincing people one-on-one to take this company seriously, use their product or service and wrestling a sale from even the most difficult-to convince prospect. I’m sorry to break it to you, but it’s both. As important as it is to pound the pavement and do the hard sale, it’s just as important to build brand awareness and a company reputation.
As a salesperson, you don’t have to be “on” 24/7 – you don’t have to be making a hard sell at every opportunity, but it is important to market yourself, your company and your product as much as possible – without becoming annoying about it! Get out there and talk to people; you don’t have to deliver your sales pitch every time, but be willing to talk about what you do – even prepare a mini-pitch that explains your product or service in a nutshell and that doesn’t demand a close at the end. Leave it open to questions and be willing to answer them. Talk about what you do on social media, make sure people know what you do, and be available if they are looking for someone to help them.
Marketing is about more than just clever direct mailers – it’s about building your brand and even if you are just one salesperson in a team of twenty, your brand is you and you can market that.
3. Create a network
I’ve talked about networking before, and I’m going to do it again, because it’s just such a powerful tool. To get clients to come to you, people need to know you’re out there and while marketing is going to do a lot to create that awareness, you need a strong, reliable network of people who can send prospects to you.
There are several ways of doing this. You can create an online network through, again, social media; you can join groups and associations – they don’t really even need to be related to your field, the idea is to get out there and get known as the go-to person for whatever it is you sell. Unless you sell an extremely niche product in a very small market – in which case you probably have a captive sales audience – think about the wide variety of different types of people or companies that could use your product and realize that anyone, anywhere could be a useful contact.
Position yourself as an expert in your field. If anyone has a question about the type of service you offer, one of the people in your network should automatically say: “Hey, you know who you should speak to? This person I know who knows all about that.”
Networking is about more than just handing out your business card all over the show; it’s about listening to people, answering their questions and being willing to ask them questions about what they do. Become part of their network and they’ll be infinitely more willing to become part of yours. That’s how networks operate – they don’t comprise you at the head and all your minions running around doing your work for you; they are an interconnected web of people helping each other out.
Don’t try to make sales in a vacuum, rather open yourself up to the possibilities that come from being part of something bigger.
We hope you’re enjoying our Focus on Sales series. Don’t forget to let us know in the comments if you have any questions or if there’s something specific from our foolproof tips to being a great salesperson that you’d like us to focus on.