Posts Tagged ‘ideal customer’
Ever wonder why so many people are venturing into being solo entrepreneurs or SMB owners? Beyond the obvious advantage of being your own boss, my sense is these folks have witnessed great salespeople who make selling look easy.
Just hop over to LinkedIn and scan a few profile summaries. Immediately you will see a difference between those who understand sales and those who think they understand sales.
Sales is simple. Someone called a buyer has a want or need and someone else called a seller has a product or service to fit that want or need. Pretty easy, well not so much so.
Social selling has only reinforced this notion that selling is easy. Sure you can buy Twitter followers or make a zillion posts on Facebook and when you measure the results, what do you discover?
People buy from people they know and trust. To create that knowing and trusting persona takes time, energy, money and emotions. Great salespeople are willing to make those investments.
Just as in leadership, great sales people are made not born. They develop over time. These forward thinking sales leaders are self directed toward continuous improvement themselves by honing their knowledge, talents and sales skills.
Through the years I have had the opportunity to meet truly great salespeople who understood “sales is the transference of feelings.” (Zig Ziglar). From them I learned what to do and what not to do.
My sense of selling is authentic, laid back and I have crystal clarity as to who my ideal target market is. Yes some of my clients do not fit my ideal customer profile, however over time more often than not they do grow into that role.
If you want to have sales success, then look to follow, listen and learn from those who have sales success. Be willing to accept their is no quick fix for sales success and you will be nearly half way to your own success.
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Every day is a new day and a day filled with incredible sales opportunities. The only limitation is your beliefs that restrict your actions.
Of course to take advantage of all those sales opportunities may require some pre-advanced or predetermined thinking. These reflective thoughts support your ongoing efforts for clarity.
Much is written about what makes for a successful salesperson. After some 40 years in sales, collaborating with other successful sales people and just observing sales behaviors in general, I truly believe all top sales performers have this one trait among all others:
They gain this clarity by the following supporting actions:
- They have a plan for sales growth
- They know their ideal customer
- Their marketing message is extremely directed and focused
- They continually work to hone their sales skills through ongoing self-improvement
- They leverage their reach by establishing communities
- They invest time to know their numbers
- They do not seek the quick fix
All of these actions reinforce and work with gaining new sales opportunities.
Have you consider to change your results, your must change your beliefs and therefore your actions?
Questions To Ask Yourself Each Morning
What would happen if you asked yourself just these three questions each morning?
- What is the one action I have postponed taking?
- What is the one action I must take today?
- What one person can I make smile today?
Questions to Ask Yourself Each Evening
Then before you close your office door for the day, ask yourself these questions:
- Did I take that one postponed action?
- How did I feel by taking action?
- Did I take that one must do action today?
- What where the results from that action?
- Who did I make smile today?
- Why was that important for that person?
Years ago a colleague said “We drive by more sales than we will ever have.” Today, I believe “We drive by more sales opportunities than we will ever have because we fail to stop the car.”
CLICK HERE to schedule a brief call with Leanne to discover how you can generate more sales opportunities.Share on Facebook
Top sales performers who I know are the least comfortable people. They are always going beyond their comfort zones, stretching themselves especially when it comes to sales prospecting.
I was reminded of this consistent characteristic when I read Mike Weinberg’s posting, Stop Over Analyzing Your List and Get in Front of Your Strategic Target Prospects Now!. Mike explained how many salespeople waste time over analyzing their sales leads instead of getting our and having sales conversations with strategic target prospects.
This over analysis is really a disguised comfort behavior. These salespeople wrap themselves in a comfort blanket of data and are lulled into non sales activity.
The other key point in Mike’s posting is in the title “strategic target prospects.” Numerous salespeople do not have a crystal clear definition of their ideal customer. Nor is this definition aligned to any strategic organizational goals.
Strategic comes from the word strategy. The origins of the word strategy are Greek and mean for a general to deceive his enemies. Staying in the office analyzing a list is not strategic.
Sometimes there is confusion between an ideal customer and a qualified sales lead. With most sales leads not being ready to buy, going into analysis paralysis only helps to explain why many salespeople do not meet their sales goals. Being behind a desk is far more comfortable that potentially facing a ‘No” or a “Not now.”
There is an old African proverb about how every morning a gazelle wakes up and knows it must outrun the fastest lion. The lion wakes up knowing it must outrun the slowest gazelle. So come morning it does not matter whether you are a gazelle or a lion. What matter is you must start running.
When you are comfortable, you aren’t running. You are snuggled in the blanket of the status quo. If you want to increase sales, then get up, get out and start meeting your strategic target prospects as Mike calls them. Who knows you actually may enjoy this spurt of energy and eventually join the ranks of those top sales performers as well.Share on Facebook
Sales success today definitely requires leaving your ego at the door. Being humble, demonstrating humility is essential. This does not mean you as the salesperson is a doormat. No what it means is you are authentic because you are more focus on the potential ideal customer or sales lead than yourself.
Many of the top sales performers I personally know are grounded. This sense of being grounded is consistently displayed in how they collaborate with other colleagues. They are always focused on the wants and needs of their ideal customers or current customers. This focus generates sustainable sales success.
Being grounded requires strong internal positive core values or business ethics. Grounded individuals are not the “snake oil” salespeople.
Grounded also extends to having a sense of intentional balance between one’s personal and one’s professional worlds. Individuals who are unintentionally off balance appear not to be as grounded as those who have more balance.
Also I believe top sales performers do come from the earth. For me what this means they are people first and understand people buy from people.
Yes humility is not something that can be easily faked. Eventually, a strong ego will surface and crack the facade of humility.
Believe it or not, one’s internal temperamental bias can reveal one’s ego and therefore suggest one’s humility. A negative bias toward one’s self esteem reflects a good ego and suggests this person is open to criticism, another sign of being humble. Conversely, a positive internal bias suggests the individual is self-centered and dislikes any criticism.
Sales success has many factors and varies between individuals. The goal is to apply some or all of these tips to your own sales behavior and then monitor the results.
If you want to learn more about how to determine your own ego, CLICK HERE to schedule a time to speak with Leanne Hoagland-Smith.Share on Facebook
Do you remember the song “Looking for Love in All the Wrong Places?” Many SMB owners and sales professionals may have this as their theme song because they are sales prospecting in all the wrong places. These three gaps appear quite frequently.
Part of the reason for this misdirected activity is the lack of an ideal customer. This profile is the result of some intensive research that developed from the strategic plan. I have found “plan” as a verb is a four letter dirty word within the SMB marketplace.
The inability to have an ideal customer creates a Captain Wing It behavior. Actions are sprayed all over the place with a prayer that something sticks. This is reminiscent of the line “looking for love in too many places.”
#2 – Bad or Outdated Business Model Gap
Another reason is a bad or outdated business model. With the marketplace continually changing, so must business models adapt to these changes.
#3 – Dismal Marketing Messages Gap
Then there is the dismal marketing messages within their sales prospecting. These crazy busy people focus on the how of the solutions (products or services) being delivered and not the what (the results of those solutions).
Additionally, these messages are not emotionally compelling and usually lack a call to action.
This past week I delivered a 90 minute seminar to executive coaches and consultants on some key aspects within the book To Sell Is Human by Dan Pink. One of the activities was the one word sales equity. All participants were asked to share what they do in one word. This is not an easy activity.
- When you think of yourself in your current business role what one word comes to mind?
- When you want sales leads to think of you in just word word?
I encouraged those in attendance to return to their purpose and values statements to see if there was any one word.
Sales prospecting is a process that begins within the strategic plan. This process or the steps within the process may change as the market evolves. Technology has prompted many of those changes such as email, texting to content marketing. If you want to increase sales, then revisit your sales prospecting and see where you may have any of these gaps.Share on Facebook
Sales leads happen in all seasons. Without sales leads, sales revenue is not generated to pay the vendors, the employees, the overhead, the government and most importantly you, the SMB owner. So what type of sales leads are you hunting?
There are 4 types of sales. First there are the rabbits. Rabbits are small sales and can found almost anywhere during the average course of a day. They are quick and easy, but last for only one meal or a day. Constant effort must be expended to keep the cash box full.
Next there are deer. These sales are seen once a week. Being a little larger, they fill the your cash register for a week or two.
If you want a larger sale that may last a month, you kill a bear. These sales take a little longer to track and kill because bear sightings are not as frequent as deer or rabbits.
The real big sales are elephants. Killing an elephant may only happen yearly because they are elusive animals and are not easily killed because of their size, not too mention their tough hides and long ivory tusks. A successful elephant kill means that you can eat for a year and your bank account is nice and healthy. However, since elephants are only sighted once a year, you may starve to death hunting an elephant.
The lesson of this story is not only where are you hunting, but what are you hunting? By reviewing your sales cycle (time from initial contact to closed sale), you can determine if you are hunting rabbits, deer, bears or elephants.
Just as no SMB should rely on one customer, it also makes sense not to rely on just one type of sales leads. When you invest the time to identify your ideal customer, then you can work smarter and work harder in your sales prospecting.Share on Facebook
Sales prospecting presents many dilemmas for salespeople. Some sales research suggests more salespeople are going rather than staying with prospects.
- 44% of salespeople give up after one follow-up (Source: Scripted)
- The average salesperson makes only two attempts to reach a sales prospect (Source:Sirius Decision)
Possibly part of the reason for more going than staying with this activity of sales prospecting is because there has been no time invested in strategic planning and identifying the ideal customer.
As one of my colleagues, Bill Napolitano, said “There are a lot of Captain Wing Its out in the SMB marketplace.” I further added this statement “who spray their actions all over the place and then pray something will stick.”
Unless salespeople have sales leads they will remain pocket poor. These leads must be nurtured because not everyone is ready to buy during that first encounter. Years ago I read that just 2% of all closed deals happen during the first contact.
By short changing the strategic planning process, one of the results is short changing sales prospecting because it leads to spraying and praying instead of targeted prospecting. Does it not make more sense to prospect strategically with the ideal customer in mind than anyone with a pulse?
If you believe anyone with a pulse is your best sales referral, then read this posting that has gathered over 10,000 views.
Currently there are two great books to help you with sales prospecting:
High Profit Prospecting by Mark Hunter. Mark provides some very applicable templates to catapult your prospecting efforts.
Fanatical Prospecting by Jeb Blount. Jeb also shares great tips and actionable prospecting ideas.
To be able to answer this question forthrightly will only happen after you have invested the time to think and plan (note both are verbs) and then determine your ideal customer.
Download this free Ideal-Customer-Profile-Template to support you in your sales prospecting efforts.
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When meeting with a new sales lead, we as salespeople must be extremely careful about our sales behaviors. How we interact with the potential ideal customer is the first step in building trust and demonstrating our knowledge.
Cliche Rapport Building
Your sales leads are busy people just like you. Wasting their time with cliche rapport building questions or comments does not strengthen the trust and knowledge factors. Also in this sales behavior is using “cliches” or acronyms to suggest you are truly knowledgeable.
Rushing into the Sales Pitch
Possibly the one sales behavior that is the most obvious and still is the most committed is rushing through the marketing phrase to making the sales pitch or sales presentation. Yesterday I saw this again when speaking to a realtor who wanted to list our home.
She did not take time to see the extra features or values our home had, but wanted to get down to her sales pitch of a competitive price. Translation for us a much cheaper price so she could sell the home fast even though we told her we were willing to be patient and wait for the right buyer.
Her sales presentation and what she did differently was similar to all the other realtors we have had sales conversations with. Actually earlier in the week, we did have a realtor who did not rush the sales conversation and his sales behaviors built far more trust than many of the other ones we have met.
“I’m So Busy Impression”
Another common sales behavior is to share how busy you are as a salesperson. “I am in a hurry because I have to meet with this client or that appointment.” Possibly you are quite busy. Then it is imperative that when you schedule the appointment to let the person know the length of the meeting. Rushing in and rushing out does not speak well for your sales behaviors. Buyers are more educated and I believe more cynical today.
After nearly 40 years in sales, I believe it is the small things we say and do that kill most deals rather than the big things. The big things we notice right away and correct. Those smaller sales behaviors slip through the cracks and go unnoticed and therein lies the barrier to increase sales.
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With 99% of sales leads not converting per Forrester or if you like 87% not converting per LinkedIn, the ability to increase sales is suffering. Does this make sense given today’s salespeople have more tools, improved technology and even better development (forget training)?
You think you have:
- Identified your ideal customer
- Researched the customer’s industry
- Kept abreast of current market trends
- Begun to develop good to great relationships with your customers
- Met (personally) all the key decision makers
And yet, your goal to increase sales still falls short. You must continually hunt for new sales leads because the ones in your funnel do not convert.
Forrester research also revealed this:
74% of buyers choose a solution provider who has worked with them to provide clarity of vision in walking a path of value
Now some believe this statement refers to value creation and I am not sure. Given the continued failed rate of execution for many business strategies, this ability to bring clarity by uniting the solution to the vision of the strategy makes sense. From this clarity comes the ability to walk the path of strategy execution which is side by side to the path of value.
What this also means is the salesperson has actively listened to what is important to the buyer beyond the business strategies and goals. He or she can restate in simpler terms what was just said in such as way clarity comes first. Many times in sales conversations I will say “This is what I heard you say.” Then I restate what I heard. In doing so, I have removed some of the verbal limitations and barriers within the sales lead’s conversation. Many times, the sales lead will tell me, “Yes that is what I mean. You said it much better and simpler” or “Yes, you got it!”
Clarity or rather lack of clarity is probably the most common sales obstacle and probably the most often ignored one. Just imagine what would happen to your goal to increase sales, if you could just convert 10% more sales leads through this simple action of clarity?Share on Facebook
Have you ever thought about this concept of “sales ground?” I hadn’t either until just recently when someone said “they don’t want to sell on your terms?”
Salespeople have two grounds where they travel in their selling activities.
Territory – The Most Common Ground
Years ago a trusted colleague by the name of Michael Sleppin said for “you must have a Sherwood Forest large enough to hunt in and small enough to defend.” This observation is quite true for many SMB salespeople who for the most part sell locally. Of course with social media and depending upon your solutions (products or services), that sales territory may be much larger than just local.
Buyer’s Terms – The Less Common Ground
Each buyer has her or his own sales ground or terms. You as the salesperson must meet them initially on their terms especially if the sales lead is truly qualified and meets your ideal customer profile.
Sales Coaching Tip: Terms extends beyond payment, delivery to attitudes and beliefs.
Probably some professional salespeople have never considered the sales lead’s terms in this context. Yet to ignore their terms initially may be a reason why personal and business revenue are not growing.
My father, a professional salesperson, said to me “Always meet your customers or potential customers on their terms first… Your goal is to have a conversation, the opportunity to develop a relationship… Remember not to have tight shorts because the person said something that struck a nerve and you took offense…”
His words helped me as the first inside saleswoman in the Chicagoland area selling pipe, valves and fittings nearly 4 decades ago. Had I been offended when male customers told me “I want to speak to a man” (his terms) I never would have been successful in sales.
If you are having unsuccessful sales efforts, schedule a quick call with Leanne by clicking HEREShare on Facebook