How Fast can you Close Deals?

When I’m asked a question like this I immediately start to wonder if this prospect is the right fit.  Why are they asking this question?  I get it, you’re looking for Return on Investment, I understand completely, you’re putting out money and you want to know the value of what you’ll receive in return and here’s the answer…I don’t know yet.

Let’s face it sales can be a bit of a crap shoot.  Anyone who guarantees you increases in sales/revenue at “x”% is without question lying.  A couple things we need to consider:

 

  • What’s your currently sales cycle?  Why is it that long?  Are there challenges that contribute to the length of the cycle or is it just that long?
  • Who is your potential buyer?  And why?  How do you connect with the potential buyer currently?
  • Do you have a presentation or marketing materials?
  • How do you price?
  • Who’s your competition?  What do they do really well?  What’s unique about you?

Many of these questions may seem silly but here’s why I ask:  We can typically shorten the time it takes to get to a decision maker but the sales cycle is the sales cycle.  You should not expect any major changes to the amount of time it takes someone to close a deal just because you’ve hired an outsourcing firm.  That being said it’s not uncommon for us to close deals in half the time it takes you but for others it may take longer.  It depends on the complexity of the deal, the process necessary to get the deal complete (RFP, multiple decision makers, large vs small deal, etc).  We find that many of our clients don’t have a strong grasp of their target market or they target someone they want to be a client but will never be one.  We find that many of our clients have little marketing materials that are usable while others have too much and it can become confusing for the prospect.  We don’t rely on marketing material but it can be a good conversation starter so it’s certainly helpful if done right.

When we ask you about your competition there’s nothing that drives me more insane then hearing you say “Well, our people are smarter and our service is better.”  As if your competition would actually say, even if it were true, that they hire below average staff and their service stinks.  This is the equivalent of telling your prospect “blahblahblahblahblah”.  What makes you unique, if you don’t know, it’s time to figure it out or you can forget competing – you’re essentially making yourself a commodity and now it’s all about price.

Pricing.  Oh pricing, it can be the devil in this relationship.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve taken a prospect into a decision maker for a deal that would double the revenue of their company only for them to price the project so far out of the realm of possibility that the prospect is literally in shock.  They loved you, you came highly recommended, they felt you could deliver and make them shine like the rock star they are and you blew it with cocky aggressive pricing and then you blamed me for losing the deal.  Here’s the deal, when it comes to closing with outsourced business development, it’s a partnership.  You rely on us to ensure you have a qualified lead, a decision maker with a budget and a strong connection either personally or professionally.  We rely on you to showcase your value, deliver high quality and always on time, and to price competitively.  We can go to bat for you if you’re within reason but if you’re off the mark, there’s nothing we can do to help.  In fact we’ve probably damaged that relationship by bringing you in the door.

So how fast can we close deals?  I don’t know, it’s different for every client.  Some happen within the first 2 months while others can take a year or two.  If you’re not viewing business development as an investment in your company’s future then perhaps it’s not right for you at this time.  If you’re counting every dollar and every minute that goes by you’re not seeing the forest through the trees.  Business development is about building the relationships that are going to change your business and when was the last time you built a long lasting, happy client relationship over night?

Telemarketing: Is it an effective Sales Method?

If you are looking to increase your company’s sales you’ve probably considered telemarketing.  It’s been a viable option for as long as you can remember but is it still viable?  Will you get business opportunities or just throw away money?  Here are a couple of things you need to ask yourself first:

  • Who do we typically target?  Are they easy to reach?  Do they have a gatekeeper?
  • What do we sell?  Is it a commodity where it’s all about the latest and greatest or lowest price or is it a service based on trust and relationships?
  • How long is your sales cycle?
  • What are your expected outcomes?
  • How will you be paying for such a service?

Challenges of Telemarketing and Cold Calling

  • Battling Perception:  According to a Nielsen poll, less than 10% of consumers trust telemarketers.  If you are selling a service based on trust and building relationships using a telemarketer creates a major conflict for your prospect.  If your sales pitch is, “I can save you ‘x’% on something you buy everyday” – that might get you in the door but be prepared to do battle with internet pricing.
  • Time vs. Reward: The goal of the average telemarketer is to call 100-125 people a day with the hopes of generating 8-10 interested parties. That’s right, 8-10 people out of 125. Cold calling is a numbers game with no real winner. If any other aspect of your business had a success rate of less than 10%, would you continue with it, or would you pull the plug?
  • The Internet: Telemarketing and cold calling were effective methods before the advent of the Internet. Back then, consumers needed someone to tell them what products and services were out there. Now, consumers have all of this knowledge available to them at the click of a mouse. Because of this, today’s customer is more knowledgeable than ever before. They know what they want. They have done all their research online. They don’t necessarily want a telemarketer giving them a sales pitch over the phone.
  • Building Relationships: Effective sales representatives are all about building long-term relationships. Telemarketers are all about quick turnaround. One of these salespeople has a higher probability of multiple transactions. We will let you guess which one we are talking about…
  • Do Not Call Lists: The National Do Not Call Registry allows consumers to remove their names from marketing lists, thus shrinking the overall reach of telemarketers. Millions of people have already added their names to the registry.
  • Caller ID: Ask yourself the following question: do you pick up the phone when you’re home at night and you don’t recognize the number? If not, then why should you expect a prospect to?
  • Weak Leads: How do you keep from getting appointments set simply because the prospect wants a telemarketer to stop calling them?

Telemarketing used to be highly successful but the way people buy has changed.

Springboard Business Development: Our stand on telemarketing

We aren’t telemarketers: we don’t believe it works – but then again, our clients are service providers who make sales based on building trust and relationships. To us, Business Development is about building long term happy client relationships.  It’s our job to help you increase your name recognition and exposure in the markets you serve, create partnerships that feed opportunities for years to come, open doors to the decision makers that need your services, and of course, help you to close the deal.  We believe relationships are the key to growing a service type business; we believe in making our connections face to face.

If you do decide to give telemarketing a go, here are a few things you need to ask:

  • Who will be training the telemarketing team?  How often will they call and when do they stop calling?  You’d be amazed to find out how many appointments are given just to get the telemarketers to stop calling.  The problem comes when you arrive to meet the prospect and they tell you they aren’t interested in anything you’re selling – they just wanted to the calls to stop.  You’ve wasted time and money.
  • What are you paying for?  Is it total calls, time, appointments set or qualified prospects?  Most likely you are calling for total calls or time so there’s no need to qualify the prospects or ensure they truly want to meet you

Ultimately your decision is about value of time and money, the type of sale, and your typical buyer. Don’t forget, this isn’t a selling process – it’s a buying process.  It’s not about you or what you’re selling, it’s about the buyer, the problem they need to solve, and what solving it means to them.  In a call focused on scheduling an appointment you just can’t get what’s necessary to move the buying process forward…at least that’s our opinion. We’d love to hear yours.

If you have any questions about Outsourced Business Development, please contact Springboard Business Development by calling 410-832-7560 or click here today!

Located in Baltimore, Maryland, Springboard offers outsourced sales solutions for businesses in the professional services arena. Our approach to business development makes it easy to find new clients without the financial burden of an in-house business developer.

At Springboard we know sales!

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Five Ways to Tell You are Losing a Sale

We have said it before and we will say it again, sales is definitely not an exact science. But while there is no one way in which to go about a sale, there are some fairly common warning signs to tell you are losing a sale. These telltale signs that you are losing a sale include:

1. You Aren’t Dealing With A Decision Maker: If you aren’t put in touch with a decision maker after a few conversations, this is not a good sign. So do your best to get in contact with someone that actually has the authority to buy your product or service. Otherwise, you are wasting your time. And time is everything to a salesperson.

2. There is No Deadline for a Decision: One way to firm up deadlines is to offer limited-time discounts/offers to create a sense of urgency. If this doesn’t work, move on. You cannot waste your time on a pointless sales meeting.

3. You are Asked for a Proposal and Not a Conversation: It is hard to give someone your sales pitch if you do not meet with them face to face. After all, business is all about forming meaningful relationships. Find anyway you can to get your foot in the door and have a face-to-face conversation. This may be hard, but you have to try.

4. Your Price is Too High: What makes your product or service worth so much? If your competitors are offering the same product/service at a lower price and you cannot justify your high prices with superior service, then consider changing your price tag or losing sales.

5. Your Client Seems Indifferent: This is never a good sign. If your potential client begins to lose interest and stops asking engaging questions, you may be out of a sale.

Of course, if you do lose a sale, you should use that opportunity to grow as a salesperson. How? Checkout one of our past blogs: Learning from Lost Sales: Turning a Negative into a Positive.

Then again, you could always just outsource your sales needs to a professional business development firm, like Springboard!

Located in Baltimore, Maryland, Springboard offers outsourced sales solutions for businesses in the professional services arena. It’s simple, while you focus on you core business activities, we bring our sales expertise and connections to focus on your business development challenges.

Our approach to business development makes it easy to find new clients without the concerns of sales team turn-over, lack of sales expertise and payroll.

If you have any questions, contact Springboard Business Development by calling 410-832-7560 or click here today!

Follow us on FacebookTwitterGoogle+, and LinkedIn as well!

Sources:

Five Signs You’re Losing a Sale – And How to Save it

The Mental Game of Sales: Keeping a Positive Mindset can Change the Outcome of a Sales Meeting

All too often, salespeople are their own worst enemies. And to make matters worse, they don’t even know they are sabotaging their own sales. You may be wondering how this is possible, so let me tell you. It is actually quite simple. Salespeople out think their way out of a sale.

or example, if you focus on failing, catching a cold, dropping a ball or striking out, then don’t be surprised when those dreaded events actually happen. The same goes for sales. If you focus on losing a sale or fumbling through your sales pitch, then that will probably happen. You have doomed yourself before you even met with your potential client. And this type of sales behavior happens all the time! Below, you will find the top 10 ways in which salesmen and saleswomen think their ways out of sales:

1.     Trying too hard.

2.     Attempting to micro-manage.

3.     Self-instruction during their performance.

4.     Negative thoughts.

5.     Negative mental images.

6.     Negative beliefs.

7.     Preconceived beliefs.

8.     Self-limiting thoughts.

9.     Lack of self-trust.

10.    A busy mind.

On the other hand, if you stay positive and focus on making the sale, you will have already increased your odds of success. It is that simple.

Now don’t get me wrong, there is a lot more to sales than just having a positive attitude. But even the most fundamentally sound salesperson can ruin their chances of closing a deal if they dwell on the negative. It shows in your facial expressions, your body language and your speech. And if you don’t believe in yourself or your product, why should your customer?

So instead of dwelling on the negative side of sales, readjust your mental focus to a more positive place. Try practicing the following mental sales techniques:

Quiet The Mind: When your mind is calm and not racing from thought to thought, you can better focus on the task at hand – the sale.

Let It Happen: Let the sale come to you. Do not try to force it. So relax and let the sale unfold on its own. Do not try to micro-manage and control the situation.

So get out of your own way and start selling like you have never sold before!

If you have any questions, contact Springboard Business Development by calling 410-832-7560 or click here today!

At Springboard we offer outsourced sales solutions for businesses in the professional services arena. It’s simple, while you focus on delivery, we bring our sales expertise and connections to focus on your business development challenges.

Our approach to business development makes it easy to find new clients without the concerns of sales team turn-over, lack of sales expertise and payroll.

Follow us on Facebook and Twitter as well!

Sources:

The Mental Game of Sales Success

The Inner Game of Sales

Is Cold Calling an Outdated Sales Method?

Ask yourself the following question: would you rather spend the day making 100 cold calls, or spend the day with existing customers to earn referrals?

Sales today has experienced a fundamental shift in philosophy. No longer is sales transactional (cold calling), simply focused on one sale at a time. Instead, sales has become more about relationship building; getting to know your customer.

According to a Nielsen poll, less than 10% of consumers trust cold calls. Conversely, 90% of consumers trust their peers. So why are you spending the bulk of your time cold calling when you should be focusing on your current customer base? These clients are a great place to obtain referrals, referrals that are more effective than cold calls at bringing in new business.

Cold calling was an effective tool before the advent of the Internet. Before, people needed you to call them to tell them about your product. Now they can get all of this information off the web. Today’s customer is more knowledgeable than ever before. This is why the sales process had to evolve.

Customers know what they want. They have done all their research online. They don’t need you to give them a sales pitch about your product or service, because they already know everything they need to know about your product or service. What they need from you is an understanding. How will you and your company benefit them, and their company? Your potential client doesn’t need to be sold on your product; they need to be sold on you.

So what are you waiting for? Get out their and start building those meaningful relationships!

If you have any questions, contact Springboard Business Development by calling 410-832-7560 or click here today!

At Springboard we offer outsourced sales solutions for businesses in the professional services arena. It’s simple, while you focus on delivery, we bring our sales expertise and connections to focus on your business development challenges.

Our approach to business development makes it easy to find new clients without the concerns of sales team turn-over, lack of sales expertise and payroll.

Follow us on Facebook and Twitter as well!