February is upon us and some of us have already decided on or been given our sales targets for the year. Here at Cre8 we are always carefully considering and reviewing our own and our customer’s business development plans. We think of business development as sowing seeds…
Sales is all about sowing seeds, conducting activity that will produce your sales, be it in the short or longer term. When we sow the seeds, we focus on the activity, and this in turn produces the results. If we’re not sowing any seeds we’re not filling up our sales pipeline. Here are some of the ways we sow our seeds…
- Have at least 5 routes to market. By this we mean it’s a good idea not to rely on one method of generating business. 5 routes to market may include networking, telemarketing, LinkedIn, e-shots and a referral strategy, for example. By having more than one method of developing sales, you’re giving yourself a wider platform which equals more opportunities to reach a wider audience. Not everyone goes to networking events, and not everyone uses LinkedIn, so the broader your activities are the more of your target market you will reach.
- Rome was not built in a day. Few activities will generate sales immediately. Let’s face it, you don’t walk into a room, meet someone new and do business there and then! It takes time to build relationships and the trust that’s required with a new client. Recognise that you need to carry out activities consistently and in a sustained way, to generate the results you want.
- Even the no’s of today are the plants of tomorrow, so treat them as such. Let’s say you are carrying out telesales activity, and a prospect says no, it’s not for them, but this is a company you’d love to work with and you can see how your product or service can benefit them. Do not give up! Do not pester, but do not give up. Ask if you can keep in touch, send them your monthly newsletter, meet up with them at a networking event. Don’t over sell to them, but allow them to get to know you. If you take the NO and do nothing, nothing is what you’re going to get. If your product is good and will help the customer, when the time is right, if you’ve been sowing the seeds, you stand a good chance of turning the no into a yes. And, if it really isn’t right for that prospect but you’ve got to know them, it could result in referrals.
- Help, don’t sell! Always look for the prospect’s problem, and see if you can help them. This helping may not always be with you directly selling them something, you may be able to introduce someone else who can help them. If you’re helping others, you are sowing seeds and will reap what you sow. Besides which, everyone loves helping.
- Follow up, but gently does it! Keeping in touch with people, and maintaining good relationships is a major key to sowing seeds. Think how many times someone has passed on your details, how many times an enquiry has come from someone you met a long time ago. You need to have processes in place that allow you to keep in touch and follow up with people you’re connecting or meeting with.
If you are consistently carrying out activity and sowing seeds, the fruits of your labour cannot fail to materialise. Good luck! Please get in touch if you have any questions or there is anything we can help you with. 0121 347 6601.