There are two key elements to transforming into a rock star sales performer. Sure, there are several critical skills needed, scores of best practices, and thousands of techniques that impact sales performance. Ultimately, sales leaders know that success boils down to two things, preparation and execution.
Recognizance in Sales: Preparing for Contact
A sure-fire way to gain the advantage in sales is performing due diligence before you even make the first call. Having the right information can be the difference between getting in the door and not making it past the gatekeeper. The more you know about your sales prospects, the better prepared you'll be when it's time to have the business conversation. Knowing about the company, industry standards, and key staff members will show you have done your homework and are eager to earn their business. Here are three tips for performing your best recognizance before reaching out to your prospects.
Know the Company
Visit every page of the prospect's website. Scroll through their social media pages. Watch their videos. Try to have an understanding of what the company brand represents, how they sell their products or services, and what their culture includes. Find out how they started and where their locations are. Learn the profile of the company so when you have your first conversation, you can speak intelligently about it. If you have to ask questions about where the corporate offices are located or what the flagship product is, you'll be viewed as unprepared.
Know the Industry
Take the time to review the prospect's company details as well as the competitive landscape and trends impacting the industry. Browse for competitors and note differences and similarities. The goal is to understand fundamental industry standards including how companies generate revenue, who are the industry influencers, and recent, relevant news. Some industries have guidelines they follow strictly or face significant fines or worse. Others have unwritten codes of conduct when competing. Understand as much as you can to position yourself best as an industry partner for your potential clients.
Know the People
LinkedIn can be your best resource for finding names of strategic contacts within your prospect's company. You may not always find the right person, but you'll more than likely find resources to further your attempts. It may help to read posted news or blogs or third-party articles to give you leverage during your conversations as well. Make sure you're spelling names and titles correctly. Once you know the players, you can map this information back to your own sales enablement or marketing automation platforms (i.e., Salesforce, HubSpot, Marketo, and others) and put together a nice profile in order to make your conversations more relevant and fruitful.
Execution: Sales Leaders Are Doers, Plain and Simple
Now that we've covered the importance of preparation, you're ready to begin the execution. Being a 'doer' requires a disciplined time management strategy and a consistent motivation to keep your efforts moving forward. Here are three keys to a productive execution of your sales plan.
Schedule the Time
It's easy to get roped into maintenance tasks or daily office nuances and next thing you know, you've run out of time in the day. Sales execution will be effective only if you're able to manage your time efficiently and schedule a routine that allows you to follow through with your plan properly. Be mindful of the best times to call, email, or visit your prospects. Depending on the industry, mornings may be less hectic for your clients, for example. Use your calendar reminders for important deadlines or follow-ups, and when it's time to connect with prospects, avoid other distractions. Schedule time each week to effectively manage your cold calls, follow-ups, and client satisfaction calls.
Attitude is Everything
Sales leaders know and understand the fundamental skill of being able to accept rejection. Dedicating your attitude to the sales process will help protect your mindset. Sales is a numbers game and ultimately boils down to knowing how many rejections you need to hear before moving forward with a conversion. Connecting with each prospect on a social or professional level can sometimes allow sales teams to lose the mental toughness required to forge through the declines. Bringing your focus back to the numbers and the process can help reinforce your mindset. Remind yourself of how many calls you need to make to get a conversation. How many conversations it takes before securing a sale. Work the numbers and preserve your attitude.
Stay the Course
You've invested the time to prepare and devised a strategy for yourself. Often, sales teams lose sight of the original plan, which is easy to do. In an effort to be flexible, or out of a subconscious reaction to falling back into sales comfort zones, they stray from the original plan and find themselves losing momentum. While it is essential as a sales leader to be authentic, somewhat flexible with prospects, and adaptable throughout the sales cycle, it's not productive to get sidetracked from your original plan. Consistency is key.
Some salespeople are phenomenal at preparation but lack the confidence and discipline to follow through to a successful sale. Others are masters at doing, but because of proper due diligence, they blaze through prospects without conversions. The key is developing the perfect balance of gathering intel, preparing the plan, and executing the plan. The best sales leaders are titans at understanding this balance.
Take a look at your strategy. Do you spend too much time researching, preparing, and documenting? Do you go into each new prospect conversation blindly and hope to wing it on personality alone? Find your balance and hone your skills. To learn more about how you can use email signatures as part of mastering your recognizance or perfecting your execution strategy, contact us for a chat.