Times sure have changed. When I first started my B2B sales career in 1977, there was no internet. No email. No LinkedIn. Hell, we barely had phones and they were tethered to our desks. There was only one way to prospect for new business and that was to knock on doors.
We were expected to make 30 cold calls a day. These were business sales so you were pretty much further limited to weekdays and between the hours of 8-5. Anything else was going to be too hit and miss. Time wasters.
Your available selling time will always be finite
Making 30 cold calls a day in addition to all of the paperwork, preparation, and follow-up that was needed was pretty tough work. If you wanted to increase your sales, you simply could not just make more calls. Most days, and particularly if you were actually selling stuff vs. prospecting … you couldn’t even make your 30!
We quickly learned that we had to make more out of each call. Not more calls. With today’s electronic tool kit … it is often perceived that the best way to increase your sales is to make more crappy calls vs. fewer quality ones. It’s still a lot of work but, in many ways, it is also the easy way out.
Now, to be fair … if you are selling $1.99 widgets, you would have to be nuts to not take advantage of modern social tools and their ability to increase your reach. There is also a place for these tactics with higher ticket and more complex sales.
I consider myself to be an early adopter of social selling although I might deploy my arsenal a little differently. I use social tools to make better, not more, calls. I can also do much of this during non-selling hours (early morning, evening, and weekends). Whoever told you that selling was 9 to 5 … they lied.
Even with ratios, selling is still a numbers game
I am a huge proponent of sales ratios. These ratios are my numbers. If I need to make 20 cold calls to get one opportunity, what would happen if I could increase that to two opportunities? If my close ratio is 20%, what would my paycheck look like if I could increase that to 30%? What if I could do both?
Let’s look at that. We’ll say that each opportunity is worth $10,000 and I am going to make 20 calls each day. One $10,000 opportunity would be worth $2,000 based on a 20% close rate (weighted value). Two opportunities would be worth $6,000 based on a 30% close rate (weighted value). Three times as much!
Now take it out to a month based on 22 days. Scenario #1 yields $44,000 in sales. Scenario #2? $132,000 big ones! No more calls, just better calls and we are only scratching the surface.
Work smarter, not harder
This may be one of the oldest sayings in the sales playbook. While it may be old, it is no less accurate. There are tons of sales ratios to play with …
- Increase my selling skills and my product knowledge
- Increase the average value of the sale
- Target my most likely buyers
- Attract qualified buyers to me
- Generate more referrals
- Secure more repeat business from existing customers
All of the above will directly affect your ratios. Doing more with what you got. Better selling skills will always result in increased conversions and at higher price points. With a little work you can attract buyers to you and target qualified prospects. By working with your existing customer base, you will generate repeat and referral business. Simple.
How should we leverage today’s social selling tools?
Get a CRM – If you want to make more sales, getting organized is a great first step. Maximizing the effectiveness of each call, knowing where you have been, where you are going, and reviewing both before the next call … is a great first step. You can do both with a good CRM.
Conduct targeted searches – Once you have defined what your ideal client looks like, sometimes called an Ideal Client Profile or a Target Buyer Persona, you can take those criteria and conduct searches on the social networks and in your CRM.
Polish your social profiles – You get one chance to make a good first impression, online and in real life and, if you or your social profile looks like hell … Nuff said.
Demonstrate your expertise by becoming an educator – Showing others that you know your stuff, through quality social shares and your own articles, will attract others to you. Can you say … qualified buyers?
Leverage social research – Knowledge is power! The more that you know about your clients and your prospects, personally and professionally, the higher the likelihood that you will be able to meet their needs and develop a relationship. Relationships are key to repeat business and referrals.
Create personalized and relevant messaging – I’m guessing that over 90% of the messages that I receive on LinkedIn and in my email inbox are automated. I know this because over 90% don’t even pass the basic smell test.
They are addressed to “Hey!” My company name is a url and generally in a different font and font size. There is absolutely no indication that they know anything about me or what I do. What they are proposing has zero relevance to what I want, need, or do. The result is even worse than if the message was never sent. Lazy.
Would you like to learn more? Please feel free to download my free “Focused Social Selling” ebook! Also please check out my 18 lessons online course on “How to Leverage Nimble CRM to Dramatically Increase Your Revenues!”
This article has been written exclusively for Nextree Business Growth Consultancy by Craig M. Jamieson of Adaptive Business Services – Boise, Idaho USA.
About the Author
Craig M. Jamieson
” I specialize in training salespeople how to weave social & traditional sales methodologies. This includes Nimble CRM and our complete online Nimble course is now available! Check out NetWorks! Boise for B2B networking”