Any sales process consists of three basic steps
Despite what some sales trainers might tell you, the sales process is relatively simple. The sales person has to complete three tasks:
- they have to find new prospects
- they have to engage these prospects and start a dialogue
- they have to convert engaged prospects into customers
The sales process starts with having enough new prospects. If you don’t have prospects you cannot engage and convert them. Your sales process will fail.
Finding the right prospects is becoming increasingly difficult
Traditionally, channel partners have relied, like many other organisations, on cold calling and list purchases. However, prospects are becoming much better at hiding their contact details from cold callers! They are also much better at having gatekeepers or refusing to answer the phone. So successful cold calling is becoming increasingly difficult.
Relying on purchasing lists is also becoming less effective. With the advent of General Data Protection Regulation or GDPR, many opt-ins will no longer be acceptable. This means that channel partners need to find new ways to find the right prospects. Here are two ways that still create good results.
Create a referral programme
According to Dale Carnegie, 91% of customers are happy to give a referral but only 11% of sales people actually ask for one. It should be a priority to implement a referral programme. You should be looking to ask for referrals:
- from customers after an install
- from any software or other technology partners
- when engineers call on service visits
- from visitors at events
But referrals are not the only way to find new prospects.
Use the LinkedIn search function
Remember that LinkedIn allows searching by keyword as well as the name of someone. You can also use the search filters to narrow down the location. If you are a premium member of LinkedIn you can use an even wider range of filters.
Remember, this is a great way to find organisations other than printing companies. You can use to it start working with a whole range of businesses that might need a press. For instance, in-plant organisations, councils, design agencies or fulfillment companies.
It is surprisingly easy to create a focused list like this: we have found 1,210 individual that are based in the London UK area and have the words print and fulfillment in their profiles. Once you have found the right people on LinkedIn you can connect with them and often start a dialogue quickly.
It’s time to get more creative with your prospecting
If you use these two strategies you will be well on the way to solving the challenges with the first of the three steps to successful sales.