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By Ron S. LaVine, MBA
Finding new business can be a snap, if you know where to look and what to do with the information you find. Using the telephone along with publicly available information, you can turn data into dollars.
Understanding the importance of the “fact finding step” in the sales cycle is key to making more sales. We need information resources to enable us to determine who is responsible for decision making, where an account is now, where they want to be and how they plan to get there.
It is easy to mishandle this part of the sales cycle in an eagerness to sell. Finding data about a shift in the way an account does business is not enough. Understanding the potential effects of the change is key to finding revenue producing events.
Show Me the Money
Look for accounts in your territory who:
- Acquire, merge or joint venture with another company,
- Have been acquired by another company,
- Add additional equipment or hardware or facilities,
- Announce a change in staffing requirements or business, practices due to expansion, restructuring or relocation,
- Receive contract awards,
- Mention cost cutting initiatives,
- Outsource certain services to concentrate on core businesses,
- Are embarking on new projects,
- Issue an IPO to raise operating capital for buying more assets,
- Spin off a division into a new company with new ownership,
- May be affected by pending legislation or regulations.
Turning Data Into Dollars
Once a change occurs, ask yourself these questions: “How can my products fulfill a need or challenge as a result of the change-” “What additional services can my company provide to lessen the impact of the shift-“
When the change effects a company who is your customer, ask yourself: “How can I expand the use of or prevent the replacement of my services-” For instance, you read an account plans to expand their operations. When companies expand or restructure, typically the management re-evaluates human resources and capital assets to decide what stays, what goes and what-s needed. When preparing your sales strategy, keep in mind the big picture. An enterprise wide sale is far more valuable than an individual business unit sale.
Six Ways to Create More Sales
- Assembling a plan showing how the effects of the change relate to the benefits your products and services provide can position you for a sale.
- Taking note of changes or trends that may affect both you and your account’s industries will make you sound intelligent and increase the odds of a sale.
- Looking for stories about accounts using your competitor’s products and applying that application to your offerings is another way to make more sales.
- Keeping your account records up to date allows you to invest your time locating who is responsible for and capable of making a buying decision.
- Finding and calling up users of your competitor’s products is a way to replace or augment existing products. Be sure to explain up front, you are looking for ways to improve your products.
- What do you like about their products or services-
- Is there anything you dislike or have found unsatisfactory-
- If you had a wish list, what features would you like to see their product have-
Assuming your service provides missing features and benefits your competitors do not offer, you have yourself a potential sale.
Calling your customers pro-actively and assuring them of continuous service provides an opening to:
- Find out more about an account-s future strategic direction,
- Expand and cement contact relationships,
- Uncover potential evaluations, projects or initiatives,
- Locate the main or new users of your products,
- Gauge customer satisfaction and nip potential problems in the bud before they become unmanageable,
- Offer consulting services, education or documentation,
- Inquire about other business units that may need your products,
- Provide greater customer service, making it difficult for competitors to replace your products.
Understanding the effects of change can present an opportunity to persuade management to invest in new products, services or technologies.
Ten Free Sources of Business Sales Intelligence
- An account’s sales literature
- Employee telephone interviews
- Competitor user telephone interviews
- Free e-mail newsletters
- Online and hard copy business and finance publications
- State and federal government agencies such as the Office of Management and Budget or the General Services Administration (GSA).
- Using the Freedom of Information Act to obtain your competitor-s GSA schedules
- Classified advertisements
- Visit the SEC website
- Other suppliers who service your account
Finding information is easy. Systematically connecting the shift effects to the benefits your products provide is the challenge. Correlating specific benefits to specific contact wins will place you in a position to watch your sales climb. However, you must act upon the change, before your competitors do. Change is constant and change creates sales opportunities.
Copyright, 1997-2015, Ron S. La Vine, Accelerate Your Sales Results, Inc. >-Live Cold Call Training that gets Results!
Reprint permission granted in part or whole with the following credit:
“Reprinted with permission from Ron LaVine-s Sales Ideas Report E-mail Newsletter (SIREN). To subscribe, visit–http://www.accelerateyoursalesresults.com–or send a message to ronlavine-@-AYSalesResults.com-with “ADD” in the subject line, or call 1-818-991-6487.”