Shine a light on sales prospects to brighten the days ahead

When it comes to sales, most businesses labor under two major mandates: 1) Keep selling to existing customers, and 2) Find new ones.

To accomplish the former, your sales staff probably gets some help from the marketing and customer service departments. Succeeding at the latter may be more difficult. Yet perhaps the most discernible way a sales department can help boost a company’s bottom line is to win over prospects consistently and manageably.

Laser focus on lead generation

Does your marketing department help you generate leads by doing things such as maintaining an easily searchable database of potential customers for your products or services? If not, it’s probably time to refine or possibly even overhaul your lead generation process.

Customer relationship management (CRM) software can help. When salespeople have a clear picture of a likely buyer, they’ll be able to better focus their efforts. If you haven’t invested in CRM software, or significantly upgraded yours in a while, this is something to strongly consider.

Reduce wasted time and effort

There’s really no aspect of a business that can’t be improved by waste reduction. Effective salespeople spend their time with prospects who are the most likely to buy from them, not with those who might maybe buy something someday but will take a monumental effort to win over.

A worthy prospect generally has clearly discernible and fulfillable needs, a readily available decision maker, strong and verifiable financials, and a timely need or desire to buy. Apply these qualifications to any person or entity with whom you’re considering doing business. If a sale appears highly doubtful from the get-go, it’s probably best to move on.

Ask the right questions, then listen

When talking with prospects, your sales team must know what draws buyers to your company. Sales staffers who make great presentations but don’t ask effective questions about prospects’ needs are typically doomed to mediocrity.

They say the most effective salespeople spend 20% of their time talking and 80% listening. Whether these percentages are completely accurate is hard to say but, after making their initial pitch, a good salesperson actively listens to the prospect’s responses and then asks insightful questions based on solid research.

Be a problem solver

Your sales staff needs to know — going in — how your product or service can solve a prospect’s problem or accomplish a goal. Without a clear offer of a solution, what motivation does the prospect really have to spend money?

Preparation is key. Be sure you’re adequately investing in industry and market research, as well as the continued education of your sales team, to position yourself as a problem solver for your customer base.

The sales are out there

Businesses face great challenges right now in the form of inflation, rising interest rates and persistent supply chain slowdowns. Nonetheless, the economy soldiers on and there are customers out there looking to buy. Contact us for help quantifying your sales process so you can identify feasible ways to improve it.

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