The other day I was in my first working meeting with a new client. I was explaining to a group of their department heads how they could do this when my customer said with excitement, “It’s true … it’s amazing how responsive Bob is!”
As sales and marketing professionals we don’t need a fortune teller to tell us the future. With a little experience and common sense, we can anticipate it. How so … well think about it. Can you predict how a prospect might react? I didn’t say WILL react, I said MIGHT react. Can you predict what a prospect might ask you? Can you anticipate possible objections, fears, and concerns? Can you figure out the various reasons why prospects do and don’t purchase your products or services?
There’s no question we can anticipate most of the likely scenarios we’re faced with! The question is how well we use our instincts and our experience to market and sell more effectively and efficiently! Here’s what it takes:
1. Planning: Make a list of the situations that you run into during a typical day or week. What do you do? What kinds of requests and questions do you get asked? How do you handle new leads? Are there any redundancies? What patterns you can find or make?
2. Invest Time: Prepare and assemble the materials you need to handle the various situations you expect. Be practical … start with the more likely ones (e.g. requests for literature, literature follow-up, frequently asked questions, etc.) Fulfillment may be in the form of an email, or letter, or fax. Or, possibly, schedule follow up.
3. Invest in Automation: You’re going to need technology to do this right – a Contact Management Software or a Customer Relationship Management System with certain capabilities. A product such as GoldMine software has the features you need. Here’s what to look for in the system you choose:
- It must let you maintain a library of letters, faxes, emails, and have the ability to personalize them on demand.
- It needs to be able to print one label and envelope at a time.
- It must be able to capture contact information and other details from web forms.
- It must be able to automatically perform functions such scheduling activities based on information about the contact or responses on web forms.
- It must be able to delegate administrative and sales support tasks to others in your organization, in some cases automatically.
- It must offer the ability to build “tracks” which contain a sequence of actions that are performed when they are triggered by a variety of conditions including information in fields, the passage of time, completion of activities, and other circumstances in the database. And, have the capability to manually and automatically assign and remove these “tracks.”
- It must be able to dial the phone for you.
- It must let you build “macros” which can perform one or many functions at the click of a button.
4. Build Speed: Athletes develop muscle memory so that they can perform complex physical moves at high speeds in a reflex reaction to a situation. Salespeople need to do the same in response to the situations that come at us. Whatever new system we build will take getting used to. Speed comes with practice and repetition. Functions that start out being difficult to perform become effortless and in a sense mindless once we do them enough times.
You Have An Edge!
By investing time upfront to save time later, you’ve developed an edge over other salespeople. Now you have leverage … you can do more in one day than most sales reps do in a week! You’re more efficient and more productive. You can respond faster and follow up better. You’re not working harder … you’re working smarter!