Guest Post by Jean Wright
It’s a new year and time to turn those promises made by prospects last year into sales for this year. It’s also a time to make new contacts and nurture your relationships early on to give the momentum you need to carry you through the year.
Turn a “Put-off” into a Sale
You’re on the sales call, make the presentation, ask for the sale and overcome objections. As happens from time to time, no matter how well prepared you are, before the close the client puts off or delays the decision. Some of the best put-offs are heard toward the end of the year.
A put-off by a prospect could be something like “I’m too busy right now, call me in a few months” or “Call me in 3 months when I begin making my budget plans for next year.” Most companies will have made those budget preparations before the end of the year, but some may be on a different schedule so you may still have an opportunity.
No matter what time of year it is, listen to those cues and make a note of them on your calendar. Any put-offs like these require you to determine a future date that is mutually agreed upon to reconnect. Make that call and help them get re-acquainted with your product or establish a meeting time to talk things over.
A number of developments may have occurred since you last spoke, i.e. there may be a new decision maker at the company; your contact may have left the company; the company may be expanding and now there is a fresh opportunity for a sale.
A put-off isn’t always the end of the road. Things can change in a very short time, and if you follow up as planned, you may still get the deal after all. Sometimes your prospect can’t reveal the reason for the delay because something is happening internally at the company. Later, when you re-connect and their plans are revealed, the outcome may be in your favor and you’ll get the sale. Persistence pays off.
Network Like a Pro!
The best compliment you can receive about being “known” for what you do is when someone seeks you out at a networking event and says “I was told I had to meet you.” People want to find connections either for their own personal gain, or because they have been looking for your product or service and heard that you can help them. That instantly identifies you as an expert on something: An expert connector, an expert in the field you represent, or someone that other people look up to.
A new year brings many new opportunities. People set new goals and are enthusiastic about the year ahead. As you plan your networking, aim to attending a variety of networking events that will expose you to different people. Select quality over quantity. Get to know the right people, not the most people. After the event, follow up the next day. Set up meetings to continue the conversations. If your follow-up doesn’t lead to a sale, ask for a referral. They likely know someone who needs your services!
Fill Your Funnel
If you are following up on those promises from put-offs, and attending at least one networking event a week, you are filling your funnel for future business. As it fills, sort through the leads you’ve collected and determine which are worth pursuing and which are a waste of time.
Strive to build relationships with people who are connectors and can help you be more successful. This leads to building a solid reputation for yourself so you can earn their trust. Recognition as a trusted sales professional should be your goal.
About Jean Wright:
Jean has been working in sales and marketing positions for most of her career. She has a degree in Communication Arts from Marywood University.
Since moving to Frederick in 1993, Jean has worked as a local sales director for a national home-based business company, as development director for a private school; sold memberships to local businesses for the Frederick County Chamber of Commerce; was employed as a local general manager for a global company; and is currently an account executive at Frederick Magazine.
While general manager at Regus, Frederick, she achieved 3rd and 4th quarter business center “Top 5% Global Customer Service” satisfaction ratings.
As a Chamber Membership Representative, Jean was ranked in the top 15 nationally by the American Chamber of Commerce Executives national sales program for sales dollars and memberships sold.
Jean is also a Leadership Frederick County Class of 2013 graduate, president of the The Women’s Business Network of Frederick, and a member of the marketing committee of The Community Foundation of Frederick County. She is a contributing member of The Spring Ridge Friends and Neighbors Club, which she founded 25 years ago.
Jean is currently working on her first book about her career in sales.
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