by Kerry Heaps
There are times during the year that everyone hits a slump with sales. It may be during the holidays, local economy or due to your own personal issues. Whatever the reason, the solution is the same, keep your pipeline full, ALWAYS.
Here are the top 5 tips that can help keep your sales on track year round.
1. Talk to 5 people a day. Not everyone enjoys cold calling (in person, on the phone or online), make an effort each day to introduce your business to 5 people. If it’s in person, give them your business card, strike a conversation up with the person in line at Starbucks, ask them “May I share my card with you?” It’s that simple. They may not be your ideal client but you never know who they know that could be a great prospect for you. Even if you do this just three days a week, that is fifteen new contacts that you didn’t have before. If you don’t like cold calling then visit some networking groups each week or attend a local business expo. There is a perfect opportunity to meet 5 people at each event. Make sure you take detailed notes on the back of their business card, this will help you during your follow-up process. If you would rather call on the phone, find 5 businesses in your area that you’d like to work with, online programs such as Lead411, you can get contact names for each business. Lastly, if you prefer to reach out online, Twitter for example, look for 5 potential new contacts that would make an awesome prospect for you. Send them a friend request, follow them or send them a direct message and introduce yourself. Start building those relationships today.
2. Surveys and Giveaways. Another great way to keep your pipeline full is to conduct surveys. People love to share their opinion, positive or negative. This can be done via email, at events or online. Surveys are a very non-threatening way for your prospects to tell you what they need without having to talk with you directly. You can do an email survey with four or five questions and they can reply back to you. If you want to give them a small gift for completing it, all the better. People love free stuff! It could be a gift card, free book, coupon, the possibilities are endless. Prior to starting my own business, I was in corporate recruiting. One successful method of meeting with hiring managers was to email or fax a survey form, they would complete it and I’d get the results. One of the questions was about their free gift, would you prefer to have a dozen donuts or bagels brought to your office? I’d call them to schedule the time and I always got to have a conversation with them, after all I brought them food and everyone loves snacks!
3. Help your current prospects and clients get business. This is a great way to generate business from clients who have not utilized your products or services due to their lack of business. Call your current clients, find out how their business is going, ask them what types of businesses or people make good prospects for them and help them find it. While working in corporate recruiting one of the clients I really wanted to see on the books again was an accounting firm. I made an appointment with my contact and asked her what was going on with her company. It turned out they lost one of their largest clients. I asked her if she was able to get some smaller companies as clients would that encourage her to hire more help, she said of course. I went back to the office and was on the phone for two hours, I came up with five prospects for her sale representative to meet with, within a few months they had four new clients and I was able to have them as a current client once again.
4. Schedule 5-10 appointments per month. The above tip is part of this one as well. Make an effort to schedule appointments with new prospects and with old prospects and current clients. Most business does come from the current clients you have, meet with them at least once or twice a year and find out what is going on internally. You never know if there are going to be opportunities for you or others that you refer business. Most people make the mistake of not prospecting once they get busy and they have tons of new customers. Always be making new connections and meeting with potential clients, you may be busy now, but what about next month or next year.
5. Establish yourself as an expert with Media interviews. Always schedule time on your calendar for media interviews. Just like appointments, you should have a press quota each month. Be featured in someone’s blog, write an article for an industry publication or be interviewed on a podcast or local radio program. You never know where the next client is coming from and it could be a year from now someone reads that post or listens to a recording of the show and contacts you. This also helps to establish you as an expert in your field and you can use this in your next presentation, it’s a great addition to hand your prospect a copy of the latest article you penned and could be a determining factor in the sales process.
Kerry Heaps is the Publisher of Strictly Marketing Magazine and host of Strictly Marketing Talk Radio. The magazine and radio show offer advice from leading marketing experts. The magazine recently launched a sister site called Strictly Women in Marketing, an online community for women in marketing and women business owners to gain more media coverage with access to on online media directory and several marketing tools and personalized assessments.
Melissa Stewart is the founder of SheOwnsIt.com. She is a Purveyor of Possibility, Entrepreneur Advocate and Coffee Addict. She believes that behind every successful woman is her story. What’s your story?