Are You Getting Your Share?
When it comes to the current economy, most individuals and companies are doing extraordinary. In fact, if you’re not doing well right now, it could be that you either aren’t in the right business or aren’t doing something right. From a sales perspective, it may be time to ask this question: What is the number one activity that you don’t do when you’re busy? If you said, “prospect for new business”, you would not be alone. Salespeople will admit that they are simply too busy to prospect for new business. Of course, while this current economy continues, this strategy works. There are plenty of opportunities. In fact, many are even turning business down.
However, what happens when this great boon we are experiencing takes a turn? The question then will become, did you have enough in the pipeline to stay successful when it turned? If you looked at a graph of typical sales prospecting, it peaks during low sales and hits valleys during the best of times. It becomes cyclical. In other words, when we get busy we stop prospecting. When we stop prospecting and our business gets completed, our business goes down. So, we start prospecting, get business and grow. As we get busier…well, you get the idea. The danger, of course, is that if you don’t prospect when you’re busy, you will become a victim of the economy. Do well when it’s up, not so well when it’s down.
Therefore, we speak in our training about MDB’s. Minimum Daily Behaviors. No matter what, do your minimum daily behaviors. Meaning, pick a prospecting behavior that you’re good at, that drives leads into your business and do at least a minimum amount every day, without failing. Thus, even if you’re making 2 phone calls a day, for instance, you’re doing it every day. Not only will you make over 400 calls by the end of the year, minimally, you get pretty good at the task and it becomes a habit. As a side note, don’t make it your only prospecting method. Remember, this is the minimum number, not your standard practice.
One such activity that literally takes no time at all is to proactively ask for introductions from the people you help. And, the close rate is fantastic compared to other methods of prospecting. Look at likely close rates from various prospecting activities.
Average Close Rates
Cold Calls- 2-5%
Warm Calls- 6-10%
Networking Events- 20-30%
It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that we are all working way too hard. Why not simply change and ask for more referrals on a regular basis? Good question. Here’s what people tell us:
• Fear of offending their customer or friend
• Don’t know how to ask
• Don’t want to appear needy
• Afraid of looking stupid or embarrassed
• Don’t want to bother people
• Afraid of hearing, “no”
These are only a handful of reasons why people don’t ask. There’s more. Asking for referrals, or introductions, as we like to call them, is definitely a mindset. It’s a lifestyle. When you get good at it, it can also change your life. Want to double your income? Ask twice as much. Want to work less and earn more, ask for referrals. By the way, when someone comes to you as a referral, what do you think is their likelihood of referring you? Think about it, they are already comfortable with the process because that’s how they started working with you! On top of that, remember the customer that referred you? Guess what? They are even more enamored with you, as each time they refer you they gain more confidence in you themselves.
Here’s an example of a good introduction. They have a budget, are prepared to make a decision and you understand that they have concerns that you may be able to solve. How to find this out? Ask. We teach our customers to ask what is causing someone to want to do a project. What is actually the compelling reason for them wanting to do a project or purchase a product? An example we give in the landscape field: Are they embarrassed how their property looks, upset with not having enough room to entertain or simply mad that they haven’t changed their property in a while and feel behind? Also, don’t forget to ask about their search experience to this point. You’ll oftentimes find out valuable information about your competition and what your chances are. In any case, coach people that refer you to ask about the person being referred and their issues. If they don’t have concerns, issues or aren’t worried about it…stand by.
Here’s an example of a bad introduction. They give you a name only. Looks like a cold call to me! Or, they give you someone that doesn’t have any money, isn’t looking for your product or service or they have no compelling reason to move forward. As stated above, if they have no concerns or issues about the product or service…not qualified! Therefore, not a good introduction.
If you want your share of business, and want to work smarter, not harder, follow some of these guiding principles on asking for introductions. It will allow you to prospect while you’re busy, since it is an activity you can do while you’re with your customers anyway. Make it a part of your regular practice now, so you can get good at it and build a habit. That way, when this economy eventually cools off (way, way in the future!), you’ll be equipped with a solid funnel of business!