Getting In Front of More of the Right Kind of People

Getting In Front of More of the Right Kind of People 150 150 Phil Jones

Time and time again I stand in front of audiences full of Sales Professionals and business owners and ask for a show of hands to the question “Who would like more customers?” and see a room full of raised hands. When further questioned to how much more? the room responds with words like “Lots” or “As much as I can get.”

What continues to surprise me is that regardless of the size of the business, the number 1 challenge to sales people is that they just wished they could get in front of more of the right kind of people. I have literally stacks of proven ideas to get you in front of more of the right kind of people however it is the constant oversight of the basics that I see continually preventing us reaching the success we are all capable of.

We all want more business and we know that activity drives out results, however it is having a winning strategy that allows high levels of activity to deliver high quality results. Lets just take a step back and consider how being brilliant at the basics can give us the winning edge, stand out from our competitors and get in front of more of the right people.

1. Stop looking for a needle in a hay stack

Striving for more and having huge ambition are qualities that have fueled the sales profession since the start of time. This enthusiasm is also a huge barrier to us creating the opportunities that are available to us. Too many sales people are simply out striving for more, without having complete clarity for what more looks like. This results in any success being created purely from their massive activity levels.

Surely before you rush out into the market it makes huge sense to step back and decide exactly what your ideal customer looks like. As sales people we have the privilege of being able to choose our customers, the big mistake is that most do not execute that choice. I see every future customer as no more than a missing person. Instead of looking for anybody and everybody, get laser focused on exactly what your ideal customer looks like; to the point that you could describe them to a stranger like you would a missing person. Once you have that focused description in your mind you will see opportunity more often, get more of the right kind of customers and be more targeted in all of your activity.

The additional benefit you gain once you can explain each of your target markets is that you can utilise the support of others to help find them. Just like a missing person , you can describe them to everyone you meet and let them introduce you to people or opt in to be a potential customer themselves.

What I am not saying is that you will only deal with people that fit your perfect description but simply being more targeted on your activity means you get lucky more often. I view it as just like playing darts. Every time that you throw a dart you are aiming for something specific. You don’t always hit it yet each time you miss you still contribute to your score.

2. Asking for the one thing that everyone loves to give

What I have learnt about decision makers is that they are typically busy people, massively value their time and often have a significant ego. Given the fact that they are also often very well protected by gatekeepers; crafting the perfect message to catch their attention at the right time can be a huge challenge and mean that you never get your opportunity.

There is one thing that every important person loves to give and can allow you to be sat in front of the most guarded of people with relative ease. This simple technique has resulted in me winning appointments with countless CEO’s, Sales Directors, Celebrities, Sports Personalities and multi millionaire business owners. The technique in question is simply asking these people to share their opinion on something.

Very often we are simply looking for the smallest of opening to get in front of these important people and that gives us the chance to start a relationship and carve out an opportunity. Everybody loves to be asked for their opinion as it shows that you respect them. Keeping the remainder of your request vague triggers the emotion of intrigue and means that they have to see you just to find out what its all about. I am sure you all have something that you could seek the opinion of your most wanted prospect.

3. What I learnt from a fudge shop

A short while ago I was shopping in Stratford upon Avon when one of my little girls needed to use the bathroom. As the girls went off to use the ladies I was left doing the one thing that I hate the most; waiting. This resulted in me scanning the cobbled streets on a Saturday morning looking for something to occupy my mind when I was then surprised to see a small boutique fudge shop absolutely teeming with customers.

It was remarkably busy and was certainly the busiest shop on the street and I was trying to work it out. I was certain that all those people had not woken up that morning and made a special trip just for the purchase of fudge. I continued to watch and moments later the shop emptied and then out came an attractive girl with a tray of samples, stopping passers by and enticing them back into the shop. Minutes later the shop was full again and I had joined the crowd to see inside. A few minutes later I left the store £6.80 lighter with 3 bags of fudge.

This taught me a number of things. It reminded me of the ability to sell things to people that they had not already decided to buy, the power of creating a crowd but above all else it demonstrates that if you show people what you do as opposed to tell people what you do you attract far more potential customers. You see if the shop had a sign saying that it produced “The finest fudge in town” it would have attracted far less. It was the fact that it stepped out and demonstrated the quality of its produce that attracted the crowds.

4. Bin the brochure

Sticking with the theme of showing your potential customers rather than telling them what we do, it continues to surprise me why so many company brochures and websites do no more than tell the potential customer what is done. Lets be honest and ask ourselves how often the leaving of a brochure has resulted in a customer ringing us up at a later date being ready to take the next step?

If we want a tool to help us get through doors then it must be of value to the recipient; something that they can use, will be around a while and ideally demonstrates your expertise. In my business this is easy as I use my books and cd’s for this purpose but what could it be in your business?

Think about the challenges your target customers have and look to provide them with a tool that will help them overcome this challenge, show that you know your stuff and also demonstrate that they may need some help to overcome this. I have seen marketing companies use SEO guides, Engineering companies provide technical explanation guides, Catering companies provide useful tips on arranging your event and countless others. By demonstrating your expertise and providing something of value then when they realise they need your service you are the only company in question.

5. How a TV detective taught me something magical.

You may or may not be familiar with the television detective of the past called Columbo. He was famous for one set of words that he would produce as leaving a conversation, when the suspects guard was down and would allow him the chance to gain the key piece of information he needed to solve the crime. As he was leaving he would simply say “Just one more thing…” and it was this that allowed him to have the full attention of his suspect in a vulnerable position and ask the killer question.

We often find ourselves in conversation with either key prospects or people who could lead us to our key prospects yet find it difficult to get the conversation we would like. Just imagine how you could create “Columbo moments” in these conversations and then either introduce your key opportunity or ask for an introduction into the key person within the organisation you are prospecting.

6. If you don’t ask….

We all know how that sentence finishes yet quite often the reason that we are not getting the opportunities that we would like is that we are not asking for them. It is highly unlikely that we will gain more appointments with key decision makers than the appointments that we ask for. With many people looking to avoid confrontation and hide behind email and direct mail to gain the attention of their prospects you can achieve a lot by just picking up the phone. In doing so we must be precious of the fact that their time is precious.

We are looking to sell the appointment and not our product or service. Keep the conversation short, give as little away as possible and be certain that it is just a short meeting. The goal is to make it very easy for them to say yes. Ask for their opinion, say that the meeting will just be 10 to 15 minutes and then confirm that with the time you are asking for the meeting. By asking for a meeting at ten to the hour, quarter to the hour, ten past the hour or quarter past the hour you will have far better conversion rates than asking for appointments on the hour.

By offering just 2 dates that you are available followed by the words “when suits you best?’ typically brings an agreement to one of those dates or the suggestion of an alternative. Every way round you still get your appointment.

7. The missing ingredient

I am sure in the ideas that I have shared there are a number that you can take away and action to help you improve your results in winning meetings with decision makers. There is one simple quality that can quite often be the difference between success and failure. Once you have decided on your ideal target for a business opportunity, how hard to you try and keep getting knocked back before you give up? I have had the privilege of studying and interviewing a huge number of very successful people and learned a lot about what it takes to reach high levels of success. What I have learnt from countless “overnight success” stories is that none of them happen overnight.

The prizes worth winning never come easily and persistency, resilience and hard work are all qualities that are essential when knocking down challenging doors. People love doing business with those that want to work with them. Sometimes people will continually put you off just to test how much it means to you. That’s why its worth picking your prospects carefully and ensuring that you are prepared to see it out till the end and do whatever it takes.

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