Carrie looked at her calendar and started to worry. She was near the end of the 3rd quarter and at only 60% of her annual sales goal. As she reviewed what she had done over the first nine months, she saw lots of cold calls and follow-ups on the leads she had generated at the two trade shows her company targeted. The thoughts of not hitting her goal by the end of the year was making her queasy, so she decided to skip lunch and dial even more in an attempt to maximize her time. Surely her luck would change if she just saw more people.
Salespeople don't realize how ineffective cold calling can be when you are trying to generate results in a hurry. With success rates below 10%, cold calling might get you in front of lots of people, but more often than not it won't get you the success you are after. Leads are not a whole lot better, with about 15-20% of those culminating in positive outcomes. Carrie had some success making cold calls, but she didn't consider the opportunity cost of that activity. Now, when the heat was on, she was trying to change reality. In short, Carrie needed better results in a much shorter time frame.
When faced with a time crunch, there are only a few ways to improve your results:
- Increase your closing percentage
- Raise your average sale amount
- Increase your activity to put more into your pipeline.
When time is not your ally, increasing your activity means working more hours per day. If you are generating business through cold calls and leads, the typical closing rate – less than 10% – makes that strategy less than ideal. Sure, it's possible to raise your sale average if there is enough margin room or product mix to add to each transaction. However, the best way to improve your results is to start a dedicated effort to gather referrals and introductions.
Referrals and intros produce closing rates above 50%. So, turn to your valuable relationships. Ask them for help; people enjoy rescuing others. Ask them to reach out to their trusted contacts and consider entertaining a conversation with you. Tell them that quality referrals make your business development more efficient and free you up to provide better service to your existing customers. And then proactively give referrals whenever the opportunity presents. There is a karmic effect of “give more and then receive more”.
How have you handled referrals in the past? Do you think you should reevaluate your tactic or are you happy with your process?
Final Thoughts For The Morning:
"Ninety percent of selling is conviction and 10 percent is persuasion." ~ Shiv Khera
"Everything you've ever wanted is on the other side of fear." ~ George Addair
Your Top 3 Goals & Tactics for the Week
LAST WEEK: Update us on how things went last week with your stated Goals and GD Tactics.
THIS WEEK: Please share your Top 3 Goals for this week and the GD tactics you plan to deploy.