Tuesday, September 23, 2014

"Who comes next?": How to Keep A Healthy and Productive Customers Portfolio

"Who comes next?"
We all know that selling is a complex activity that involves hundreds of different factors, both on the seller’s and the buyer’s sides.

Many of these factors are perfectly objective, such as product features, pricing conditions or delivery mechanisms to put products on consumer’s hands.

But yet, many of these factors (and perhaps as much or even more important than the others) are simply subjective, only present on peoples’ minds.

In some instances we call them "buying signals", just to be able to identify them, and they do refer to all those things the client does, or says, which demonstrates an interest on their side to doing business with your company.

As "buying signals" increase, we get more closely tied to each business opportunity.

Perhaps it all starts when you get a request to submit a proposal, or when prospects call you back after twenty unsuccessful attempts to contact them on your side, or when prospects ask you questions about the product you’re selling or the technology you use, or it might simply be the moment a customer invites you to visit them at their office for a business presentation.

It’s not what your client actually said but what you thought he told you. 

Once the sales process is on the go, product information, data and figures go from one place to the other, questions and answers go back and forth from your office to that of your prospect, then we salespeople have to start trying to interpret all the data we get from our different prospects to assess whether it will all happily convert into a new business for our company, and better yet if we get to know when.

And that’s exactly when the selling issue becomes complex: How do you know if the client actually says what it says and it’s not simply lip-servicing you? How do you know if there is a real intention to actual finalize the purchase? So many how’s and so little answers...

And the problem is that sellers most of the time, don’t do the appropriate questions they should make for fear of losing the business or damaging the relationship and end up losing the prospect. However, there is a “rule-of-thumb” we all must keep always in mind.

Time spent in a customer who will not buy, could be dedicated to one who will. 

And that's why you have to ask the right questions at the right moment, to see if the time you are investing in a prospect will actually end up becoming a commercial transaction (of any kind and amount) and therefore turning into a mutually beneficial relationship for both parties involved.

If you don’t ask these questions, then your customer base could simply become a huge database that doesn’t generate any money to your business. And that nobody wants!

“Who comes next?”

And although it sounds like an speech template for cashiers in fast food restaurants, it’s a skill you should develop if you want to grow a healthy and productive customers portfolio.

"Who comes next?" refers to your ability to decide, from your point of view as a company or as a sales agent, whether the prospect you've been dealing with will actually become a new customer for your business, meaning it will generate some kind of profit, and from there make the decision to continue to follow up or not.

Being able to say "Who comes next?" allows you to concentrate your efforts on the opportunities that are really worth your time. 

Word of advice: You don’t have to be rude or impolite to tell a potential customer that you’re no longer interested in doing business with him, quite the opposite.

It’s simply a matter of strategy: Once you've decided that it’s not a prospect that will help you achieve your sales and business goals, you just flip the page over, move on and focus your time and efforts on somebody else.

Remember that the most valuable and scarce resource in life is time, therefore, you should only invest it in good things, both for your business, for your sales and even for your personal life.

Why you’d want to have 500 thousand records in your database, if you are only doing business with 50 of them?

You should learn to say "Who comes next?". You’ll immediately notice how your contacts with customers will be much more positive and productive, and you’ll be able to achieve your best numbers on sales.

Image credit: artqu / 123RF Stock Photo 

You should also read on this blog
How Not To Become A Prisoner of Hope

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