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Bill Conner, Business Consultant » Selling

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The Prospecting Hierarchy, Part Three: Referral Partners

Thursday, March 25th, 2010

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Developing a Referral Partner is the highest level to obtain in prospecting. This level is characterized by formalizing the prospecting relationship between referral partners. Referral partners work together to grow each others business.

A group of referral partners could be formed to hold a meeting at least monthly for members to discuss their prospecting efforts and to share referral prospects. There should be reciprocal agreements among members of the group.

A member contacts a potential client for another member to inform the prospect they will be contacted by their referral partner and request the prospect provide time for their colleague. The referred partner should provide feedback to the referring partner as to the result of his meeting with the prospect.

The success rate for this prospecting process is very high and is the most advantageous in the prospecting hierarchy.

The Prospecting Hierarchy, Part Two Relationship Sources

Thursday, March 25th, 2010

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I wrote in my last post about Direct Sources in prospecting where you approach the prospect directly, without a recommendation. In The Prospecting Hierarchy, Relationship Sources, defined as an approach to a prospect with a recommendation, will provide much better results.

A Target List is the first level in relationship sources. A Target List is a list of prospects or companies with whom you want to do business. You show your list to potential referral sources to obtain a referral.

The next step, Referrals, is more advantageous. A referral source recommends you to a prospect for a match. This is considered an informal referral and requires the prospect to create action. You must contact the prospect using your referral source’s name to create a bond with the prospect. You should be developing prospects from your present Customer Base.

The next level is where you are “mining” your client base to reach prospects within the company of your client. You may be working with the sales department in a firm and you prospect with the human resource department by using your past relationship with the sales department.

The next step in Relationship Sources is to create Centers of Influence. Centers of Influence have influence with possible prospects for you and they use it to refer effectively over time.

The highest level Relationship Sources is a Referral Partner. This will be discussed in my next post. Keep in mind, using Relationship Sources in prospecting is advantageous because you show a customer service orientation within your business, create a good impression before you meet, build trust quickly, and obtain more success in sales.

The Prospecting Hierarchy, Part One: Direct Sources

Thursday, March 25th, 2010

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Understanding the various sources that might produce prospects is essential to developing sales. We group the sources in two categories. Direct Sources is when we approach prospects without a recommendation. Cold Calling is at the bottom of the prospecting hierarchy because we use a list or make contact with prospects without any prior contact. This approach provides a large list, but creates a high rejection rate which causes stress and career burnout. Using marketing/advertising is the next step in the direct source process. Your prospect may have heard of your business or firm, but has little knowledge of you as an individual. Networking and lead sharing creates a better avenue of success as we become involved in meeting other people, but these groups usually have no formal recommendation process to enhance opportunities. An opportunity to give a speech to a group creates prospects within an audience, but does not provide a recommendation situation. Finally you have people you know that you can approach. This is the highest level of a direct source, but success depends solely on your relationship with the prospect. Prospects coming from direct sources are more skeptical of your approach, will more readily reject your overtures, will create a sales orientation versus a customer service atmosphere, and will provide less time to give quality service to your prospect.

The Life Blood of Sales: Prospecting

Thursday, March 25th, 2010

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In our pipeline of sales we can sell more to our existing clients and sell to new prospects to grow our sales numbers. This article discusses a process to obtain new clients through prospecting.

After you have created a list of prospects start by doing research on each of your prospects. The research stage consists of learning as much as possible about your prospects. Obtaining information about your prospects is essential to know their hot buttons, how they solve problems, who they know, and what they value. The use of viewing prospects websites, contacting your business partners to obtain information, talking to current clients who know your prospects, and using your referral networks.

Contacting your prospects begins after your research is done. The best way to arrange a meeting is through referral partners. The partners should be able to arrange an appointment for you with your prospects.

The next option for contact is a telephone call. The key is getting an appointment - not to make a sale. When you make the call to your prospects use a present client’s name as a bridge in communication. Try to provide a couple of options to your prospects for a meeting. You must be persistent, remembering your only purpose for the call is to get an appointment.

“Tis the Season to Increase Sales”

Sunday, December 27th, 2009

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The last two weeks of the year are an excellent time to reflect on the pass year sales effort and plan for 2010 sales. We make resolutions to improve our physical being which is great, but I want you to make resolutions to grow professionally in your sales. I would recommend the following for consideration.

Sales Goals

Using the old adage “Plan Your Work and Work Your Plan” decide to write down 2 to 3 sales goals for 2010 that meet the acronym SMART.

S–Specific: Ask Who?, Where?, Why? What? When?
M–Measurable: How much?, How many? By when?
A–Attainable: What was done in the past? What conditions exist that will enable you the reach the goal by the target date?
R–Realistic: Have considered resources and time restraints? Do you believe the goal can be accomplished?
T–Tangible: What measurements have been set? How will things look and feel when the goal is met?
The idea “What is in it for ME” is very important. Write down what benefits YOU will obtain in achieving your goals.

“Overcome” Write down obstacles to you achieving each of your goals and the solutions you are going to use to overcome the obstacles.
Become an “Action Jackson” by setting specific action steps for achieving your goals with dates of accomplishments.
“Celebrate” Create tracking mechanisms to determine your progress and rewards for your success.
This process will take time but the benefits will be astounding.

Time Management

The second area to develop for progress in sales is in the area of time management. I would recommend two initial steps for success.

First: Monthly Planning

Set aside time at the end of each month (at least an hour) to plan the next month. Block time to work on your sales goals for the next month. Document your appointments and time blocking on your monthly calendar. Track your monthly progress.

Second: Daily Planning

Take 10 to 15 minutes to plan your day. This should be done the night before. Transfer all appointments, commitments, and blocked time to you daily list. Close out each day, record your accomplishments, track results, and celebrate success.

To quote Zig Zigler: “I believe you can get everything in life you want if you help enough other people get what they want.”

New Assessment

Saturday, January 13th, 2007

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Announcement!! Bill Conner Consultant has a new assessment tool from HRDQ. Selling Skills Inventory. Do you want to know if you are selling to your prospects in the “Relationship Mode”? This assessment will let you know your selling aptitude and enable you to learn your selling skills strengths and weaknesses and then learn how to promote your positives and correct your negative skills!!

To learn more, contact Bill Conner, Business Consultant.