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"Gone Fishing" for Sales Prospects

Posted by Alex Cole on Fri, Nov 15, 2019

I’m sure the majority of people have heard the Chinese proverb “Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime.”

This, of course, means it’s more worthwhile to teach someone to do something (for themselves) than to do it for them (on an ongoing basis).  Well, I’ve created a new proverb. A sales proverb, if you will:

“Give a salesperson a prospect, and you strengthen their pipeline for a day. Teach a salesperson to prospect, and you strengthen their pipeline for their career.”

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Makes sense, doesn’t it?

A lot of the companies we partner with supply their new, or tenured, salespeople with leads consistently. In theory, this sounds great but it can cause problems long term. If you are feeding leads to your salespeople on a regular basis, we encourage you to continue to do so. However, your salespeople can’t, and shouldn’t, rely on them as their main resource for potential business.

They should be capable of replicating the process and generating their own opportunities! If they produce solely off of inbound marketing leads, the salesperson will just survive and not thrive within your organization. If they don’t know how to effectively create, cultivate and generate leads, they will only do what is required of them to sell and close the leads they’re given.  They also won’t try to uncover other opportunities and in the end, the sales manager (you), and the salesperson, will be disappointed with their performance.

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And, it’s not just a matter of teaching them how to prospect but how to prospect effectively. Anyone can go out and get a list of names but how they contact those names, what they say, what questions they ask- all play a role in effectively “fishing” for leads.

So how can you help your salespeople?

Start by setting a new lead expectation. Making it mandatory to produce fresh opportunities on a weekly basis will force your salespeople to go out and make the dials. Next, identify your “Zebra” or ideal prospect persona. For a better understanding of the concept and best practices on identifying “Zebras” watch this short Sales Guy Unplugged video.

Don’t let your salespeople call on anyone other than those that fit the personas identified!  After, research the best ways to reach your ideal prospect. Is it via email or phone call? Is LinkedIn, Facebook or Twitter their preferred social media platform?

Knowing how and where to reach your target persona will positively impact your salespeople’s’ ability to hunt, qualify and discover potential new business.

A salesperson's job, although difficult to do, is not difficult to understand. There are 3 major components:

  1. Go out in the marketplace and uncover opportunities.
  2. Qualify those opportunities.
  3. Close for the business.

Don’t let your salespeople get by on just using your internal leads- fishing for prospects is 33% of their job!

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Need more help? Download our free E-Book “Why is Qualifying a Prospect so #%&@ Hard”.   

Additional Resources:

Sales Productivity Tools

Must-Ask Questions Worksheet

Topics: hiring salespeople, Sales Management Training, hire better salespeople, consultative selling, increase sales leads,, sales effectiveness training, banking sales training, consultative sales coaching, sales training courses, online sales training, hire better people, insurance sales training, train the trainer

How to Attract New Leads with an Effective Marketing Message

Posted by Tony Cole on Wed, Nov 01, 2017

In today’s world of marketing and sales, a significant key to unlimited leads is a company’s ability to get potential buyers to find them.  There is an entire industry dedicated to inbound marketing and one of the leaders in the industry is HubSpot. 

If you go to their site you will find an endless number of ‘free’ products and services to use to help you drive potential buyers to your site, your blog, and the variety of social networks you might be using.  My good friend Pete Caputo also has a company, Databox, that provides a dashboard to help you make sense of all your data.  All of this is important but the systems and processes don’t stand-alone when it comes to having impact on internet traffic to your company.

What is still needed is powerful messaging.  Messaging that captures the attention of the market.  Messaging that helps the market become aware of one of two things:

  • A problem or potential problem they where unaware of
  • A growth opportunity or positive outcome that is available

Mark Roberge, in his book The Sales Acceleration Formula, describes this first step in the prospects buying process as the ‘awareness stage’.  Effective marketing helps create that awareness.  But there are multiple stimuli that could cause someone to buy, change behavior or take action:

  1. A neighbor raves about a new movie – you go see the movie
  2. A friend suffers severe water damage in their 25-year-old home, hires a company to repair the damage and relates the story to you– you call the company to inspect your basement to head off potential problems.
  3. A co-worker talks about completing a financial plan that will help them secure their future – you want to know who they are working with and you call that advisor to set up an appointment.

These leads for the movie, the basement sealant company and the financial advisor take place as a result of great reviews by current clients.  This informal introction has been, is today and probably will always be the best way to get GREAT leads.  But what else should you be doing, must you be doing to generate leads that don’t come from introductions and referrals?

You must have your own message that stands alone; a message that when read, heard or seen causes the awareness that takes a buyer from passive to active. The question becomes – “What must that message say to procure this transition?”

Let me start with something that George Emmons, former president at Key Community Bank, described as a ‘blinding glimpse of the obvious’.

There isn’t a single marketing message that will tell a prospective new buyer:

  • The company’s products are very expensive,
  • Should you need support after purchasing, the support will be poor,
  • Should the product fail to perform or should it break, there is no guarantee,
  • The people you will be talking to are not competent, are biased in the approach and do not have experience

When I have this discussion in my keynotes and training programs everyone starts to chuckle and at least smile because they all know it to be true.

No one communicates to the market place the negative aspects of their products. Everyone has:

  • Top of the line products,
  • Great pricing,
  • Un-paralleled service,
  • Guaranteed or your money back,
  • A professional and courteous sales associates who cares only about you and your family

With that as the back drop the question can become “What is the one thing I can do to get the market’s attention?” 

The answer? “Deliver a message that doesn’t look, act or sound like everyone else’s message.  Communicate in such a way so that people instantly think ‘This is different’.”

  • The elevator pitch
  • The value proposition
  • The 30-second commercial
  • The unique sales approach
  • The brand promise

The message has many names, but it should communicate, in a brief, appealing and effective manner, how the company and product will work for the end user.

Apple – “We make great computers. They are beautifully designed and easy to use.”

The Late John Savage (Insurance professional) – “I deliver buckets of money when people need it the most”.

Geico – “15 minutes or less can save you 15% or more on your car insurance.”

Anthony Cole Training Group – “We provide answers to the most common business question – How do we grow sales?”

Your compelling message should elicit one of the three following responses.

“Tell me more.”

“How do you do that?”

“That’s me (us). How can I fix it?”

The best way to create a powerful message is to listen to your message as a prospective buyer.  When you deliver your message to you, do you look, act or sound like everyone else?   If so –change the message.  You want it to cause people to react—“Tell me more.” “How do you do that?” “That’s our problem. How can I fix it?”

If your message is not having this effect, change it. 

If you’d like more information, send me a text or call at 513-226-3913 – Provide your name and refer to USA (Unique Selling Approach). I’ll be happy to help.

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Topics: unique selling approach, increase sales leads,

You Can't Handle the Truth

Posted by Mark Trinkle on Fri, Sep 08, 2017

At some point that title won’t make me think of the great Jack Nicholson and his role as Colonel Nathan Jessup in the 1992 movie “A Few Good Men” … but it is safe to say that point in time is a long way off for me. It is one of my all time favorite movies.  For now, that famous line from Colonel Jessup has me thinking about how selling has changed so dramatically even within the last few years.

So, if you can handle the truth, here is the truth:  selling has changed…but salespeople have not.

There are two significant changes that have swept over the sales landscape:

  1. The buyer is initiating the sales process…what HubSpot refers to as the buyer’s journey.
  2. The buyer is further along in their thinking than ever before.

The first change brings to mind the 2011 Google eBook titled “ZMOT”.  ZMOT is an acronym standing for the Zero Moment of Truth and is defined as the exact moment in the sales cycle that is between the stimulus (how the prospect became aware of a product) and the first moment of truth (a P&G term referring to the decision to make a purchase).  In short, ZMOT refers to the point in time where the buyer is researching a product or service offering and the seller is completely unaware of the buyer’s actions.

Here is a quote from the Google book:

“If you’re available at the Zero Moment of Truth, your customers will find you at the very moment they’re thinking about buying, and also when they’re thinking about thinking about buying.” (ZMOT, 2011)

So, it all comes down to three simple questions:

  1. Is your company winning or losing at the Zero Moment of Truth?
  2. How do you know that?
  3. What are you going to do about it?

It is inarguable that more and more buyers are finding and researching options online before they ever talk to a salesperson.  Some estimates have YouTube doing 3,000,000,000 searches each month and uploading 100 hours of video every 60 seconds.  And if they can’t find you…when they are looking for you…even if you don’t know they are looking are for you…. you are losing the Zero Moment of Truth.

As Colonel Jessup would ask “We live in a world full of prospects…who’s going to call them?  You?  They may have already passed their Zero Moment of Truth."

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Topics: sales prospects, sales leads, generating leads, increase sales leads,, how to prospect

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    About our Blog

    Founder and CLO Tony Cole has been working with financial firms for more than 25 years to help them close their sales opportunity gap.  He is a master at using science based data and finely honed coaching strategies to help build effective sales teams.  Don’t miss his weekly sales management blog insights.

     

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