March 19, 2018 // Dan Harsh
Have you ever stopped to think about where and how you get the sales you do? Where do your sales come from? How much of your sales come from existing customers? How much of your sales come from your top one or two sales reps? How much of your sales come from companies that you have never done business with before?
We have worked in the truck sales industry for many years. We have had the opportunity to work with many companies. One thing we hear from companies all the time is, “I am confident that my sales reps can close a deal, I just need more opportunities to close.”
Sales isn’t just about closing a sale. In fact, sometimes that is the easiest part of the sales process. Finding a prospect that is in the market, finding a prospect that is ready to buy, finding a prospect that is willing to give you an opportunity to sell to them is often the most difficult part of the sales process. Not only can it be the most difficult part of the sales process, it is most often the part of the sales process that sales reps like the least.
One of the large OEMs we worked with had a “walkaround” test that each sales rep had to pass. During the test, the sales rep had to walk the V.P. of Sales around the truck as if the VP was a prospect. The sales rep had to fluently and accurately discuss all aspects, features, benefits, and specifications of the truck. They also needed to answer any question the VP may ask. The purpose of the “walkaround” was to ensure the sales reps were completely knowledgeable of the truck and be able to answer any questions a prospect may present to them. The thought was if they knew their product inside and out then they were qualified to sell.
Over time, the OEM began to realize that they had many sales reps that were qualified to present a truck. They were qualified to answer any question that may be presented to them. However, the area that they weren’t qualified to do and the area that they were not good at was finding prospects that were in the market to buy a truck. It really didn’t matter how good they were at being able to present a truck if they couldn’t find a prospective buyer to present to.
Selling trucks is one thing, finding qualified truck buyers is another. When you evaluate your sales operation, it is important to identify the key areas that really drive sales. In it’s simplest form you need buyers. You need people who want or need your product or service. Buyers can come from the following:
• Past customers of yours who like your product/service and continually come back for more
• Customers in the market that use your competitor’s products/services
• New people in the market who need your product/service
• Referrals, advertising, website, etc.
Obviously, there are many areas where you can find new potential buyers. We cannot sit back and rely on our existing customers to always be there. We must be proactive in always finding new customers. Sales was once defined as “Finding and closing new business from new customers 100% of the time.” Think about that definition for a moment. If we accept that definition, how much sales do you have going on inside your organization? This means all the sales you get from existing customers isn’t sales, that would fall under account management. Something to think about.
How much emphasis do you put on finding new business from new customers? Maybe the better question is, how effective are you at finding new business from new customers? A successful sales organization must include taking care of existing customers. It must also include an effective process for finding new customers.
Prospecting and finding new customers is a full-time job. It can’t be done by occasionally picking up the phone and making a few calls. It can’t solely be accomplished by placing ads in industry publications or hoping people go to your website. No, finding new customers requires a dedicated approach and a skillset much different from selling the prospect.
We believe new business development, lead generation, and prospecting for new business needs to separate from all other parts of your sales organization. We believe finding new prospective buyers is as important as any other part of your sales process. Just because someone is a good closer or good in front of a customer, doesn’t mean they are good at finding new customers. Some people are “farmers” and some are “hunters.” Both are needed, and both are equally important. If you can’t find the customers there is no need to close them. We must find them first.
Don’t sit back and allow sales to simply go through the motions. Setup your sales process with an efficient and effective new business development and prospecting process. Concept has been providing new business development and lead generation services since 2002. We understand the value of finding and closing new business from new customers 100% of the time can bring to an organization.
Setting up an effective new business development program doesn’t have to cost you additional dollars. In fact, you may be able to implement a process for fewer dollars than you are spending now. Learn more about how we help companies just like yours.