Tip of the Month for January 2004
FIVE STEPS TO NEW BUSINESS SUCCESS
If you want to make 2004 your most successful year in terms of new business, read on. Here are five tips to make your sales pitch efforts more focused and more productive. Like most good ideas, these suggestions are simple, but they do require some thought and planning upfront.
- Keep your sales message simple and straightforward. Every employee (not just those who are sales persons) should be able to deliver a quick 30-second message that describes what the company does, and how its products/services are valuable to its customers. Lengthy mission statements may look nice framed in the lobby, but your sales pitch must be short and to the point. If it is long and complicated, odds are that prospective customers may not have a clue what your company is selling.
- Identify what makes your products/services different and determine why they will be of particular value to your sales prospect. You may make the best widget in the world, but if your prospects can’t see how your widgets will help their business, you won’t make the sale. People don’t value what they don’t need.
- People do business with people—not with companies. Referrals and repeat business are the hallmarks of a successful enterprise. Treat your customers and prospective customers with respect and courtesy. Keep clients informed; be truthful and own up promptly if your company makes an error. Don’t take existing client relationships for granted. Make a note of their specific likes and dislikes, hobbies and special interests. Remember in our high tech world that the personal touch stands out. Send hand-written notes of congratulation for achievements and of appreciation for sales orders or referrals.
- Remember time is the most valuable commodity. And so, be respectful of your customers’ time and make sure that you make, and keep, appointments with them. Be punctual. Begin and end your presentations on time. Before you start, ask how much time they have to meet with you and tailor your sales pitch to meet their time constraints.
- Be true to yourself. It is sometimes tempting to try to be all things to all people. If you are a small business, you cannot offer the range of services that your larger competitors do. However, you can offer clients specialized capabilities and a more personal level of client service. Focus on your company’s assets and don’t waste your time chasing business that exceeds your service offerings.