Tuesday, October 23, 2012

8 Easy Tweaks to Win More Customers

Spend a few minutes a day on these simple activities and you can double or triple your win rate.

Contrary to popular belief, winning more customers need not be difficult or time consuming. These simple activities take a total of about 30 minutes a day but can double or even triple your win rate.

1. Solicit More Referrals

The easiest kind of customer to acquire is one who found out about you from an existing customer. Make a list of your current customers, contact one each day (by phone, email or texting) and ask if they know somebody who could use your products or services. If the answer is yes, ask the customer to make the introduction.
Time required: 10 minutes a day.

2. Prioritize Your Prospect List

Most lists of prospects (especially purchased ones) have "junk" contacts that are likely to be sales dead ends because the contact has the wrong job title or the company is in the wrong industry. Every second spent selling to such "prospects" is a second wasted, so only contact prospect who you're sure fit the right profile.
Time required:
15 minutes a month.


3. Shorten Your Messages

Most sales and marketing messages are too long. Effective sales message consist of two short sentences: 1) a statement of what your offering means to a customer, and 2) why your product is different from the competition. Make each sentence shorter by eliminating adjectives, adverbs, opinions and biz-blab.
Time required:
1 hour total (one time).


4. Research Your Competition

Unless you want to be consistently outsold, you'd best know as much (or more) about your competitors than your customers know.  Make it a daily habit to check the website of a competitor to see what's changed (new products, financial news, open job positions, etc.) Rotate through your list of competitors and you'll never be blindsided.
Time required: 5 minutes a day.


5. Improve Your Listening Skills

Whenever a customer is speaking, listen to what the customer is actually saying, rather than waiting to pounce on the first opening to pitch your offering. Think about what the customer just said, repeat it back in summary, then add your own opinion and observations. This is easily learned, but takes a little practice.
Time required:
30 minutes (of practice) total.


6. Disqualify Leads More Quickly

Early in a customer conversation, don't look for signs that the prospect is interested.  Instead look for signs that the prospect won't buy. For example, ask "How will you handle this problem if you don't buy a solution?" A response like "We'd probably struggle along for a few more years" means you're wasting your time.
Time required:
1 minute per customer meeting.


7. Track Customer Milestones

Rather than tracking your own selling milestones, track the decisions that your customer must make in order to finally decide to buy. Arrange your schedule so that you provide the customer with what's needed to help the customer make the right decision. This is the opposite of the "hard sell" which always turns customers off.
Time required:
10 minutes a day.


8. Ritualize Your Follow-through

Many deals are lost simply because the seller dropped the ball. Whenever you make a commitment, log it in your schedule, and make certain that you do it, no matter what. Turn follow-through into your own personal religion, and your customers will gradually realize that you're always to be trusted.
Time required:
5 minutes a day.