*This post originally appeared on Printing Impressions
You still make money by spinning cylinders and generating clicks right? But how you get that business continues to evolve. Your job as the sales or company leader is to make sure your sales team gets the share of the business that’s equivalent to the investment in people, resources and technology that you’ve made, and maybe a little bit more.
Existing Accounts and New Business
You currently have existing, loyal accounts that have grown with you, and you with them. Many of the services that you currently offer are because of an existing client had a need, and you fulfilled it. As opportunities came up, you gathered both teams and did demo’s, show and tells, and plant tours to allay their fears that you were up to the new challenge that they presented. All was good, they grew and you grew along with them.
When it’s time to call on prospects for new business, many use the same protocol of demo’s, show and tells, and plant tours. Why? Because it worked for the existing clients. I’m not saying that this a bad thing to do, but timing is everything. Too often I see reps showing samples and doing tours without really knowing the prospects objectives. The second issue is whether or not they are including the right people in the initial conversations. Your role is to see new business conversion numbers climb to where they should be and it starts with the right sales strategy.
Engaging the Right People
With existing accounts, you know who the players are and what their roles are so it’s easier to gather the right people to make your case. Furthermore, you typically know each of their motives, or agenda. Right? Everyone wants to know what’s in it for them? So, one of the challenges in new business development is determining who the players are and how they win. Now comes the selling part. Through thoughtfully crafted questions that drive a good discovery session, your team has to develop trust, show credibility, determine the lay of the land and uncover the opportunities that you are the most qualified to fulfill. Please, please, please try to uncover this information before you start doing show and tells. Like a good doctor, you shouldn’t prescribe until you have diagnosed.
Turn Your Puzzle Pieces Face Up
By asking the right questions and engaging the right people, your team can begin to turn the puzzle pieces face up. Until that is accomplished, it is difficult to really know what’s going on and not get caught up in the print commodity shuffle. Take a close look at the prospect pipeline. Have your team do an inventory of the people they have met at each company, and the roles they play to determine what they reallyknow about the opportunity. Have they met those who are interested in increasing their print spend ROI, or getting product to the sales team in a more efficient way, or managing the brand more consistently, or the person who lays awake at night wondering if the campaign will be effective?
Getting Better Everyday
There’s not a lot of magic here, it’s doing the right things with the right people for the right reasons-and doing the best you can. Striving to being the best at your profession is one of the traits that separates the top performers from everyone else. Work with your team to provide the direction, resources, and support so they can continue to get better every day and bring in the business that you deserve. Good luck with this and let me know how you’re making out.