5 Secrets to Strategic Sales
by Patricia Gardner, Author
The world is moving so fast that most people have to run to keep up. Breakfast is usually eaten in the car, personal lives are a commodity, there are light-speed Internet connections to deliver email instant messages at the touch of a button, and if that’s not enough to keep up with, cell phones make you available anywhere at anytime. Speed is essential to life in the 21st century. But while you have more than ever to keep up with, there’s really only one speed that matters to employers: how quickly you can close the next deal. In today’s tight business climate, the pressure to close fast is even greater than it used to be. When’s the last time you called a formal client meeting to sign a new contract? Grab a pen, get the signature, stick it in the fax machine, and move on! In this environment, we no longer have the time to cultivate layers of middle management in hopes of someday reaching the real decision-makers. We have to start and finish at the top - every time. But that’s every salesperson’s dream, isn’t it? To close a million dollar deal on the second sales call and then move on to the next, saving time and increasing revenue all along the way. Cracking into fortune 100 accounts can be a reality with the help of a code-breaker, someone who is already writing millions of dollars’ worth of business annually with one of your potential clients and can help you get in the door, too. The concept is simple - you get another sales rep into one of your established accounts and they do the same for you. Working together as a team, you can build on the reputation and trust they’ve already built with the corporation. Here are 5 tips to get in the door at any major company:
- Do your homework
- Research the companies you are interested in working with to determine what products or services they are involved with and any news about the company.
- Find out how your product works with theirs and with their existing partners.
- Research the product on the Internet, read current articles and press releases about what’s hot with the client, and find out where the key focus of that company is.
- Contact someone at the company who is already managing these accounts, a code-breaker, and tell them what you can offer them in a compelling and memorable way.
- Remember, code-breakers are very busy, so make your pitch clear. For example, "We have a wonderful product complement between us in the pharmaceutical environment." Point out the relationship between your products and how you might be able to help each other be more successful by teaming up.
- Prove Your Value
In today’s micro-second world you have to quantify your worth quickly. Code-breakers will want proof of your value before introducing you to their most important clients. Be prepared to give two proof sources with metrics, to impress this code-breaker with your talent and success. This can be about your products, your company, or your services. Sell yourself to them so you can sell your products to their associates.
- Know the product
- Be aware of the practical uses of your product, not just what you read in the company manual. Understand how the current client base is using the product, why they chose it, tricks they’ve learned about it.
- Spend time with the techies and find out the tricks and shortcuts that will help your clients save time and frustration.
- Build useful case studies
- Customers will teach you everything you need to know about how to sell your product to them - all you have to do is listen.
- Listen to what the code-breaker tells you about their clients and associates’ needs. Then build case studies around your product and demonstrate how your product helped a specific company overcome a problem and how that would relate to the customer.
- Determine what the need was, how you met it, and what the outcome was.
- If you are brand new at the company, you may have to research this from other people at the company.
- Relate any proof of success you have to the customer using quantifiable data.
- Be able to discuss your product candidly
Be able to relate your product to the code-breakers’ needs and be able to explain how the product can solve those problems. Don’t just tell them what the product does, tell them what it does for them and what it can do for their associates. Be able to clearly show the value in your partnering and demonstrate how your product will benefit the sales of the code-breaker’s. To tell the code-breaker how the product will work with theirs and benefit their associates, you must know your product. For example, "I sell consulting services and you sell hardware- where one product is used so is the other- so we should get together. I’ll get you into my accounts and you get me into yours." You must know your product to identify the opportunities to develop a mutually beneficial relationship with the code-breaker. Once you’ve piqued the code-breakers’ interest, arrange a meeting to talk specifically about how you will work together and make an agreement about goals, dates, and strategies. In these busy times, it is important to set firm guidelines and dates and begin to work immediately.
With these 5 steps, sales success is guaranteed. Use the knowledge you already have in sales a little smarter and make your own job a lot easier. When you get into a CEO’s office at a fortune 100 company in record time, you’ll have more energy, time, and money. Closing a million dollar deal in 2 sales calls won’t be hard with the help of a code-breaker. "Code-breakers" is not a sales technique; it’s a success strategy. © Patricia Gardner. All rights reserved.
About the Author:
Patricia Gardner has closed million-dollar sales deals in two sales calls, and has trained others to do it, in a career that spans 30 years. She is now President of Maximum Sales, an executive management and sales training consulting firm, and has now written a new book The Million Dollar Sales Call designed to help sales professionals unlock the five secrets of strategic sales. For more information on her services or her book, visit www.maximumsales.com.