what's trending in the field of Selling
Most successful salespeople and account managers are pretty good at retaining clients. Staying in touch, being responsive and solving problems are all key skills. But today that's table stakes in the era of remote business.
Today we need to add value beyond the fray AND add new clients each year. "New" could be brand new logos or new clients within existing client companies with multiple buying centers.
Why do we need to source new business if most of our work comes from referral?
For new business salespeople focused every day on client acquisition this is an easy question to answer. But what's emerging in many organizations is a seller/doer model where the subject matter expert or consultant is not only doing the work but also responsible for selling it. In this case client work can become the enemy of new business and vice versa. Here are a few reasons why it's important if you operate in this model to always be on the lookout for new revenue opportunities:
• Clients often define their problems narrowly
• Waiting for the next SOW is risky and unplanned
• The client’s frame of a problem is often insular (culture, internal group think)
• Your firm can likely support the client in other areas of their business
• Current sales usually lead to more of the same in terms of size and scope
But there is a way to do this without being pitchy, or salesy.
Here are nine proven strategies that can help you create a viable pipeline of new clients while tending to current relationships:
1. Act like a thinking partner
The term trusted advisor is still a viable label. But as a thinking partner, clients start relying on you for advice and counsel and don't make big decisions without consulting you. Thinking partners are also value creators - always ready with a hypothesis of value for their client's industry and industry subsegment relative to the work that they do. Thinking partners are insanely curious (intellectually so) and strive to make peer-to-peer connections across both of their organizations.
2. Make an educated guess as to ideal prospect and client need
This is where salespeople typically say "we are not fortunetellers." But this isn't an about predicting the future, it's about creating a hypothesis of value based on industry trends and client roles that links your firm’s capability to likely needs. Yes, this is the hard part. But as a thinking partner it's OK to be only directionally correct in your outreach and engagement because this let's ideal clients and prospects know that you're well-versed in their issues, you are curious, and you truly want to help.
3. Articulate a clear, compelling value proposition
This is a tricky one because so many of us in sales and service roles struggle with what to say and to whom. But at Bill Walton Sales Training we have found if you can answer these four questions you are on your way to articulating a great value proposition:
a. Who do you work with and who do you serve?
b. What problems do you solve and what needs do you address?
c. How would you describe the value and impact that you and your organization are delivering to your clients?
d. What is the secret sauce or special ingredient to delivering that unique value that your clients or customers appreciate and pay you handsomely for?
4. Engage in digital marketing and social media for professional interaction
When we say utilize social media, we don't mean create dance videos or post selfies. What we do mean is to share relevant thought pieces, articles, points of view, and research trends unique to the persona(s) you're looking to attract. With LinkedIn for example, you want to first connect with ideal prospects, engage on their content and ask for the same, and THEN suggest an offline conversation. Build a credible LinkedIn profile and ensure your bio on all platforms complies with your organization's social media policy.
5. Sell meetings, not products or services.
For many reasons, seller/doers in their roles always feel like they are not doing enough to service and to sell. As a result, most business development becomes transactional and tactical because we are "fitting it in." But if are you're operating like a thinking partner, have thought through a hypothesis of value and can thus articulate why you're reaching out, you're in great shape. Focus more on selling a conversation vs. selling a thing. Another way of thinking about this - sell the verb, not the noun. Compile a short list of reasons to meet based on what you're seeing, what your current work is revealing, and what you see lacking across the stakeholder population for a particular persona.
For more information or to make Bill Walton Sales Training insights a reality for your organization, send us a note at email@example.com.
Bill Walton Sales Training has over 60 years of collective Fortune 500 company experience in Sales, Sales Training and Field Sales Management. Our specialty is preparing individuals and organizations to present their value propositions in a way that results in higher close ratios. Our team are un-blurring the lines of differentiation between their client's fiercest competitors.