by Guest Columnist Caryn Kopp
Why waste the month of August cleaning your office? Make the most of your Summer by seizing new business opportunities while your competition plays miniature golf! Most business owners and salespeople assume making calls in August is pointless because decision makers are on vacation. While it’s true that most people do vacation in August, I don’t know anyone who goes away for 4 weeks straight! What does this mean for you? It means people are at their desks, often in good moods and are more likely to pick up their phones to speak with you. Seize this valuable opportunity and boost your business by following these 7 Key Strategies in August.
1. Add 20 new “A” level prospects to your list and call them. An “A” level prospect is the person you most want to do business with. He/she buys the right amount, at the right price, in the right time frame. Criteria for an “A” level prospect can include industry, size of company, department, level of decision-maker and geography. To determine the makeup of your “A” level prospects, look at the makeup of your “A” level customers. Then, using the criteria, replicate the recipe. Block out a minimum of 1 hour twice a week with your phone off, email closed, Blackberry off, cell phone off and hammer away at the prospect list. You may even need to hang a “Do Not Disturb” sign on your office door!
2. Catch up with your current clients, and upsell by offering incremental programs and add-on services. Capture “Sweep-up Dollars” from the “use it or lost it by year end” client budget. One Sales Director in the media industry called one of his clients and said, “We have a really interesting program, and if you have any budget available for this year, I’d like to discuss the benefits of this program with you.” That simple call resulted in a $100K sale. That’s why I call it “sweep up dollars.” The money is lying around and you sweep it up!
3. While you’re talking with your current clients, ask for referrals to other departments, divisions, parent companies, sister companies, and subsidiaries who have a bucket of money to spend on what you have to sell. Surprisingly, this low lying fruit is often overlooked. Leveraging your relationships to capture all sales within any one company will quickly increase your earnings as well as solidify your position with your customers. When you are on the phone with your client, ask him/her to transfer your call to one of the referrals. Whose name is on the caller ID? Not yours! Your call is more likely to be picked up if it shows up as an internal call.
4. Look through your files and make a list of prospect decision-makers you’ve met, but have not closed sales with. Call to schedule September meetings to discuss what is new since you last spoke, and whether there is an opportunity to work together now. Projects can come off hold and prospects can misplace your contact information. Make the most of the time you have already invested in developing business. Stay in-touch and be top-of-mind so when dollars are on the table, you will be there to collect.
5. Look through your pending proposals and identify 3 strategy ideas which will move each proposal closer to close. Choose the best one for each and execute! Here are a few suggestions. You can email the decision maker a direct question, “I want to be sure I am providing you with the support you need. Is the proposal, as outlined, exactly what you are looking for?” Another idea is to contact your prospect via email or phone noting that you would like to stop in to discuss a slight adjustment to the current proposal which provides additional benefits. Or, perhaps you can discuss a new opportunity. These strategies will help elicit a response and move your sale toward a close. (HINT: Ask for a follow up date and time when the decision-maker initially asks for the proposal. That is when the proposal is MOST important to your client/prospect. At that moment, securing a next step is easy. Trying to get someone back on the phone to discuss it later can be time consuming and sometimes futile.)
6. Half-day HOORAY! Make calls after 2pm on the Friday before Labor Day, and you will reach those hard-to-reach decision-makers without their gatekeepers answering the phone. Office staff usually goes home at 2pm, leaving your decision-maker at the desk, relaxed and ready for your call! Were you thinking of leaving early that day? So is your competition. Don’t miss this valuable opportunity!
7. Prospect Purge. Delete prospects that don’t belong on your list. If they are not “A’s”, “B’s” or “C’s”, they aren’t worth your valuable time. This is true for referrals, as well. Just because you were given a referral doesn’t mean you should call. Spend your time on prospects you WANT to do business with. Check against criteria and move on if it doesn’t fit. This will streamline your new business efforts with less stress and more financial success!
Implementing even a few of these key strategies can lead to a huge payoff this year. It may be tempting to set aside this article and move on to your next task. Big mistake! Can you really afford to forego this opportunity to develop new business? Take a moment, decide which strategies you will follow, and set a time on your calendar to make it happen!
Copyright 2014 Caryn Kopp. All Rights Reserved. Caryn Kopp is known as the Chief Door Opener at Kopp Consulting, LLC. Visit www.koppconsultingusa.com for more information.