If a prospect has no need for what you buy then there is no reason to sell him
The aim is intelligent persuasion, not prospect bashing. We need to know ourselves that the client has needs for the product or service. It is impossible to sell a meat chopper to a florist.
Notice that I use the word “need”, but often the client does not understand his needs. It may be a new product or a new application the client did not know of: or maybe the prospect failed to appreciate the benefits brought by the use of a product or service. These are naturally the reasons that client’s do not buy products or services without the intervention of good communication, hence intelligent persuasion.
Many sales people think that if only they could complete a deal with a large company they would have done a great deal for themselves and their company Wrong.
Many large companies have the power to squeeze the very lowest of prices
A sale that is not profitable is a bad sale. Naturally one has to balance credibility of a top client on the company portfolio and the large volumes involved BUT against the time of sales and production, the service demanded and the profit, who wins?
There are only so many hours in one day. The sales person can only call or visit or communicate to a limited number of prospects. Who will make those hours and those conversations the most profitable and effective towards his objectives?
Small companies may be easy to close but are often more pedantic and time consuming. Large companies are often long negotiated sales with all the disadvantages as outlined previously. Middle companies (SME’s) are often seen as the best routes but tend to be busier people, as what might expect in a growing and developing business where many personnel often have a need to multi task.
The successful salesman must evaluate and make these decisions.
Some companies have seasonal products, hampers, diaries etc. Some have specific times to sell, greeting cards, summer cruises, others have specific exercises at special times of the year for differing applications – marquees for winter events, summer brings shows and events. Some have budgets to spend at certain times.
There are many categories that need to be approached at the right times e.g. Garden Centres, Seed Merchants, Training Cos, Theme Parks, Exhibition Orgs, House Builders, Car Dealers, Coach Hire Cos etc
The successful salesman should evaluate this and act accordingly.
Can you pin your prospect down? Is he the Scarlet Pimpernel as a strategy or just a busy person? There is a fine balance between the time consumed in chasing a prospect or alternatively the time spent being productively on other potential prospects. Our sales person must decide if the original target is likely to provide good results and thus invest his efforts and time. My own view is to time manage on an ever decreasing basis. Commence with a full assault involving speaking to his P.A or sending him a professional communication spiced with incentivised curiosity/ motivation. If this fails to work then begin to make more irregular calls decreasing over a period of time. Successful sales people cannot waste their time.
How long can one spend chasing the invisible buyers?
Finally maybe one of the best answers lies in past history. Who provided the most effective business in the last few years?
What type of business, when, were they repeat orders, why did they buy (trade?)
How much time did we spend?
AND vice versa, how many clients fall into the markets we have identified as effective but have not been contacted, developed etc
The successful salesman knows the answers.
So, in our next section, let us start by analysing, identifying, preparing, focusing, planning and selecting the most important elements in finding the right markets to sell to.