Starting a new business is simple. There is no mystery. There is no magic. It’s all about doing the groundwork right. This is where these practical ideas come in.
Before we start, two things:
It’s not about finding new business. This is not an introduction to general sales management or other business topics. Instead, it is a set of recommendations for practitioners. Ideally, you already own a business that can take advantage of it.
Second, remember these are ideas with lots of lists and bullet points. Take some notes along the way to get the most out of it!
In those notes, you’ll find out:
The reason why many new business salespeople fail;
How to craft a compelling sales story; and
How to execute your plan of attack.
Examine whether your behaviors, attitudes, and attributes match what is necessary for new business sales success.
Imagine you are facing a paradoxical situation: your relationship management is top-notch! You are great at problem-solving! Your customer service is outstanding! Your customer retention rate is excellent! And, when it comes to new business, you still can’t do it well.
Many new business salespeople fail even if they are very good at selling. Why? Well, they all have something in common. It is a set of behaviors, attitudes, and attributes. Here’s the questionnaire for you — let’s see if you ticked any boxes.
The first question is: Are you spending too much time waiting?
When are those new marketing materials coming out?
When will the new website go live?
Don’t wait for these things to happen. Be proactive with your target customers and get out there now. Never sit on your laurels waiting for one of your plumbing deals to close.
Keep working on your list.
Can you tell your sales story effectively?
Has the target customer been selected?
Are you joining late when other players have already taken the lead?
Also, ask yourself: Are you overly pessimistic or negative?
Have you ever had something terrible happen to you on the phone or in person?
Do you adapt to your potential client’s style?
Are your sales calls effective?
But you also have to ask questions about your personality: Are you overly analytical, or can you act even if you don’t have all the facts and figures?
Finally: Can you overcome the daily risks, rejections, and conflicts you encounter when starting a business?
To be successful, you have to answer honestly, as this can be a good starting point for figuring out what you need to change.
First, choose your target, deploy your weapons, and finally, attack!
You can begin now that you have completed the questionnaire about your weaknesses. Where do you start? You can start with a new business development framework.
So what is the role of this framework? Well, it’s based on three metaphors from war.
First, you need to choose your goal. After all, how do you start a new business if you don’t know who your target is? We will pay more attention to this in the next thought.
Second, you have to craft and deploy weapons. You have a variety of weapons to choose from, but you must learn to use them expertly. In Ideas 4 and 5, we’ll cover the three main weapons at your disposal.
Third, once you know who your target is and what weapon you will use, you need to plan and execute your attack.
If you’re unsuccessful in starting a new business, you can bet one of those factors is wrong.
In this case, you should ask some questions. Are our targets poorly chosen? Is there a need for more focus on these goals? Are our weapons good enough? Have we deployed these weapons inappropriately? Or do we need to plan more or execute our plans better?
But if the answer to all these questions is “no,” you’re doing fine. Congratulations, you have a three-point selling plan. This means: You’ve simplified new sales!
Choosing your goals is the key to success.
Let’s start with the first point of planning: the goal. Imagine you are planning a new sales campaign to grow your business. Now there are two questions to ask: Where will you find a job? Who should you chase after?
Set your goals strategically so you can spend your time effectively. Ask yourself big questions. Who are your best customers? What do they like Can you find other similar clients?
When you do this, you also have to involve senior management. Make sure everyone is singing the same song because even if you are the best new business salesperson ever, you will need the right opportunity to succeed!
So how to choose the main line?
The first rule is: to revise and amend a limited list of clients. When you don’t get your first “kill,” don’t change direction. Focus on a vertical market or a specific type of account until you become an expert in the field.
You will need a one-page concise checklist. This will improve the activity — it doesn’t matter if it’s handwritten, color-coded, typed, or written on the board. And make your listing actionable; your business needs the right number of accounts. Whether it is a few or a hundred depends on what you sell and the sales cycle.
The third rule is to stay focused on your activity. Divide your accounts into four categories: (1) the largest dollar spending accounts; (2) the most nurturing in terms of opportunity; (3) the most likely to lose your job; (4) others that don’t fall into the other three categories.
Follow up on leads that look like your best customers. You’ll instantly gain their trust because you have relevant stories and customer references.
When planning your account, you can leave a little extra room for what you call your “dream client” — a VIP account that can get you through the year or change your company’s future. But make your choice, say, four or five at the most. Never forget to work on your list of criteria.
Your sales story is an essential weapon in your arsenal.
You are a fighter pilot. Your job is to exceed your sales goals. For this, you need to secure your new account. You’ve locked down a limited, focused, written, and actionable list of goals. Now, it’s time to load up your fighter jet to perform your mission. So what’s in your armory?
One weapon at your disposal is networking — building your relationships, using social media to research and contact targets, emails, phone calls, voicemails, marketing materials, white papers, face-to-face sales calls, case studies, samples, demos, trade shows, entertainment, presentations, proposals, and reference materials.
That’s a long list. However, we overlooked a key aspect: your most important weapon is your sales story! How do you go about crafting your perfect story? It contains three components — order is essential.
Remember, it’s not about you: your story must be customer-centric. What matters is what you can do for your customers, not how great your company and product are. Don’t talk about yourself. Be sure to talk about the client’s pain, the problem you’re trying to solve, the opportunity you’re giving them, and the outcome you’ll help them achieve. Engage your potential customers. Let them see how this works for them. If your prospect doesn’t relate to any of these questions, there’s no need to talk to them, and you can move on to the next question.
Describe what you do and what you offer — whether it’s a service, solution, or product.
Make sure your story sets you apart. Not just different — better than anyone else. This, in turn, helps to justify your premiums.
At this point, you can also create a power statement. A strong statement begins with a title that makes context. For example: “This bookstore in Berlin and New York City is the world’s leading service for trivia content.” Then guide why customers turn to you and outline the problems they solved, the pain they eliminated, and the results they achieved. Add your product, then list your differentiators. Keep things simple.
This statement will give you the confidence to talk to anyone about your company’s business.
Don’t use your sales voice on the phone; plan for a successful meeting.
You are at home, and you want to relax. But you can’t because the phone is ringing. You pick up the phone. It’s telemarketing. You picture a caller wearing headphones and sitting at a desk reading a text. You could tell by the tone of his voice that he was a salesman. Then it hits you: that’s me. This is how I sound when I make an unintentional phone call — or, as business people love it, an unsolicited sales call.
So when you call your target, stop promoting your sales pitch. Speak casually in a normal tone. As far as scripts go, it’s better to outline your call with a few critical phrases than to read a script.
Remember the strength statement? Now is the time to use it. But when you use it, make sure it sounds conversational. Then, get ready to invite your prospects to meet. Not once, not twice, but three times! “No” is not accepted. Don’t hang up on the phone. A third question may be when the resistance of the wire breaks down.
But what happens when you successfully schedule a meeting? There are four steps to follow.
Keep it simple. Bring a mat and paper, not a projector. You do not need to be present at this time.
If you can sit next to a prospect or at a 90-degree angle to them, do so. Sitting across from a potential client can make you feel like an adversary — a message you don’t want to convey.
Make sure you have a plan and follow it. By default, you don’t fit the leadership agenda.
Listen to as much as you can. You have two ears and one mouth. Use them in this ratio.
Follow a clear structure when visiting clients.
Let’s talk about how you should schedule client visits. There are seven stages. If you’re talking to an existing client, you have an additional stage for a total of eight.
First, build rapport. Spend as much time on this as the prospect would like. If you only get a one-word response to a friendly question, move on to the next stage.
Sharing your agenda is the most important part of the call. It shows that you are professional, and if you ask your prospect what they want from the meeting, it reinforces that the meeting is about them, not you.
Third — and this only applies to existing customers — resolve any outstanding issues they have.
Fourth, spend the next three minutes expressing the full version of your power statement. Pay attention to the potential client’s reaction when talking about pain and problems — these are often signs that you are hitting the right buttons.
The fifth stage of the call is an opportunity to ask questions. For example: “What outcome do you need to achieve?” “Who is the decision maker?” “What is the time scale?” “Who are the competitors?” etc.
Then, it’s your turn to sell. Let your potential customers know what your solution will do for them. Use the prospect’s words and play them back.
In the seventh stage, you can determine whether your solution meets the customer’s needs. Smile and nod slightly when you ask if it’s appropriate.
Finally, ask a simple question: “What do you think is an appropriate next step?” Listen, respond appropriately, and reach for your calendar. Your prospects will do the same, and you’re on your way to success.
Avoid raising your client’s defensive shield, and remember to sell, not show.
Think about the last time you were in the store and an eager salesperson walked up to you. Do you feel comfortable? Most likely, you are not. Chances are your hair is standing on end — it’s a perfectly normal reaction.
It would help if you didn’t think it was your fault when your prospect showed resistance. But this is your problem to solve. How do you do it? There are four steps.
Start by examining your beliefs. Do you believe that your prospects are better off working with you and that you care about their business? Sincere people will be rewarded. On the other hand, any sign of dishonesty will send their defensive shields up.
Then think about your voice — the rhythm and intonation of your speech. As I said before, speaking in a normal, friendly, casual way pays off.
Think about how you feel about your prospects. Try to be optimistic because if your prospects feel negative, they will resist your approach.
Finally, also consider the words you will use. Your potential customers are sifting through your language to see if you understand that it’s all about them rather than you.
Before we get into final thoughts, a word about the introduction, many people think that “showing equals selling,” but that’s not true. “Showing” and “selling” don’t go well together. Nobody wants to be bombarded with facts. Do you know what is better? Create a conversation!
Before you make a presentation to a client, make sure you have an early meeting to get their input. If that’s not possible, turn the first 15 minutes of your presentation into a discovery session where you ask questions and have the client answer them.
And keep your presentations short: four slides should suffice—slide one, title. The second slide is your proposed agenda. On the third slide, a few reasons why customers turn to your company. The fourth slide your understanding of the customer situation. That’s all. Afterward, ask for advice. The more you learn at this stage, the better you can tailor your final pitch to your client’s specific needs.
Take the time to do prospecting for a successful attack, and keep your pipeline balanced.
Showdown! You have chosen your target, and your weapons are in place. Now is the time to attack. You arrive at the office and realize: you have an existing account to work on. Then there’s the sales meeting you have to attend. Meet with a manager. Product and program managers interrupt you need details. Meanwhile, the kids are sick, your parents need your help, your heat isn’t working, and you need to watch the news. . .
This is how most new business salespeople spend their day. No “free half hours” allow you to quickly sift through your prospect list. So what to do?
The answer is simple: time blocking. Make an appointment with yourself to take action on your priorities, including setting aside time for prospecting. Ask yourself how much time new business development takes and cross that time off. Maybe 90 minutes twice a week is enough; you need up to eight or nine two-hour blocks — it all depends on you and your goals. But here’s the critical thing: stick to a hurdle after setting it. Stay focused during your time slot — no emails, messages, or calls.
This is your time for prospecting.
We’ve covered a lot of ground, but at the end of the day, the new sales process boils down to three things: targets, weapons, and attacks. Do these things well, and you will be on your way to success.
Here are some more actionable suggestions:
Remember, your manners matter!
Make friends with receptionists, administrative assistants, and other janitors. These people are usually the ones who stand between you and the potential client. Be friendly and smile at them, even on the phone. If your phone goes unanswered, be bold about asking them for help; they might have some valuable advice for you. Most importantly, when you meet face-to-face, take the time to talk to them and make them feel important and appreciated.
3 آراء على “Learn How to Succeed in New Business Sales”
Dr. Mohamed, I really appreciate your insights
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مقالة رائعة جدا.. من أفضل ما قرأت بداية هذا العام الجديد 🌸
وفقك الله دكتور محمد
I believe that sales and business development are the most important department inside every company