Speed Kills. This may have negative connotations in sports like auto-racing or billiards, but in sales – it’s a positive. I once set a personal record and closed at $300,000 deal in 2-1/2 days. As with all sales, luck played a role. But even more important was SPEED! I had an excellent team on this pursuit with just the right skills and experience, but what really set us apart from the competition was a drive to understand and respond to the client. It started with the client asking us for a personal visit with 12 hours notice. We jumped right in, took them up on that offer, and proceeded to have a great introductory meeting. We then responded in kind and told the client that we would like a proposal review the very next day. They were impressed that we heard their urgency and answered the call. Needless to say that meeting went very well and we won. Moral of the story? My competitors may have had a better solution (doubt it), but we moved so quickly they did not have time to breathe. Speed Kills!
I’m writing this blog entry in response to a challenge from one of my favorite sources for great marketing advice for services firms, RainToday. The folks at RainToday write a great blog, and one to which you should subscribe: http://www.raintodayblog.com. This month they are laying down the “Selling Service Challenge.” They are asking readers to “share your real-world B2B sales challenges or successes…” For my topic, I’m picking a challenge and an opportunity that is guaranteed to multiply your pipeline – Getting everyone at your firm selling.
You set sales goals for your sales reps. You work these goals with the sales team aggressively. But, when is the last time you checked in with your non-sales staff on the topic of business development? There are typically orders of magnitude more non-sales than sales staff in a services organization. In my firm, for example, the ratio is 20:1. Even a small uptick in the effectiveness of this larger group to identify and qualify opportunities on which the sales team can then follow-up can have a substantial top-line impact.
I recently had the pleasure of addressing a group of associates at my firm’s new employee orientation. In this “Sales for the Non-Sales Professional” session we reviewed “principles of networking,” “signals to listen for while at clients,” an “elevator pitch” on my firm’s offerings, and finally a “questioning framework” they could use to guide them through some initial client conversations in the hopes of seeking out some early stage opportunities. We were not talking about forcing non-sales folks to sell. But we were discussing ways to stoke the sales funnel. 10 consultants walked into orientation that morning, 10 Lead-Seekers left.
At your next all hands meeting, why not have some sales training for non-sales professionals? Multiply your “feet on the street.” Do the math – it’s worth it!