Do you work your sales funnel using a consistent process or are you all over the map, chasing the newest, shiniest idea to get contacts to respond to you? If you have abandoned the idea of a repeatable, scalable process, you might want to take a step back and re-think your approach, because while you’ll always need to fine tune a process, in a world that refuses to stand still, fine tuning is a lot less disruptive than starting from scratch with every opportunity.
Back when you only needed to pick up the phone once or twice and almost guarantee that you’d be successful in reaching and talking with a person, the only real process you needed was a way to remember to make that second call and a few well thought out techniques for getting past the odd gatekeeper. We complained so much then and had no idea just how easy it was.
Some people still seem to think it’s that easy, which is the only way I can explain the staggering statistic that 46% of sales people will only make one attempt to reach out to a new contact. I guess that just explains the part of the market with a lot of turnover. Still, given that no one is arguing anymore that we need at least five unique attempts to make contact with a new prospect, I’m scratching my head about why 82% of sales people never make it past four tries. Sorry guys. That’s just not good enough.
Maybe the problem is that with so much attention placed on bouncing from one shiny new idea to the next, we aren’t grasping that sales is and has always been a process. Place one foot in front of the other and move the sale forward. What we’ve failed to do though is transfer that concept to the earliest parts of the sales cycle – namely our initial introduction. For those sales people who have the benefit of a fabulous marketing team that can drive interested, maybe even ready to talk leads to your doorstep, that isn’t a deal breaker. But most companies aren’t able to keep their sales teams supplied with leads.
It might sound odd, but most sales departments out in the cold, cruel world are still responsible to creating their own pipeline. So for all those struggling reps, it’s time to prospect with a process that will make it easy for you to reach out the many times it will take to make a real connection to a new, possible customer.
This is where you need to start:
- Choose the methods you want to use – phone, email, letter mail, post/note cards. Choose a few and don’t be afraid to repeat your methods, but don’t stick with one thing only.
- Choose your messages – Intro statements, value propositions, invitations to archived webinars, links to blog posts, relevant industry stats – Use a variety of messages in a logical flow. Map them out ahead of time.
- Schedule your deliveries- If you can map out your messaging and choose your methods in advance, creating a schedule is a snap. Don’t make your attempts too close together. Reaching out every day, or every other day won’t get you what you want.
- Clone your system to allow for messaging that will appeal to different audiences. One great way to segment is by value proposition since your messaging should be supportive of a unique proposition.
- Measure your success! Keep track of contacts who respond. How long did it take and what did they respond to?