As the recession appears to be slowing/ending, and with optimism in the air for 2010, we’ve compiled these ideas to help you sell more to achieve your targets and budgets.
Be a Story Teller – Stories are always great, but planners would be more engaged if it were your story. Personalize it to make it powerful; by doing so, it allows the planner to relate to you. Personal stories help eliminate barriers to entry. If possible, inject some humour, then ask the planner if they’ve had a similar experience or story, encouraging participation. Telling a personal story allows you to set the scene or the mood, makes the conversation two ways, and ultimately builds a relationship with that planner/buyer.
Referrals – Everyone knows this one, but few actually practice it. If you have a planner who has just run a successful event with you, ask them if they know any other planners who would benefit from your products and/or services. You could even offer an incentive/reward to the planner for their time. When you call the referral, you can then open with, “Jane recommended I call you” – pre-qualifying you and skipping the cold call.
Create a customer newsletter – As a planner, if I’ve run an event using your facility or service (and had a positive experience), I want to keep up-to-date with your organization. I may not need frequent sales calls, but the newsletter allows me to stay passively engaged with your organization. A newsletter also keeps you top-of-mind when the planner is ready to book. Before launching, survey your customers as to how frequent they want updates, the medium (digital or print), and what type of information they are looking for.
Use new questions – Brainstorm with your team to develop five new open-ended questions for your clients and prospects. These questions should be strategic, so that the answers either help you sell more or uncover common objections/perceptions; either answer is beneficial for you. Asking questions gets planner thinking about what they want and how you can help them.
Respect the ‘Golden Hours’ – I admit this is my pet peeve; do your non-selling activities like paperwork, research, expenses, database management, etc., outside of the 9-to-5 Golden Hours. The 9-to-5 window each day is when planners are in the mindset to receive your calls; leaving me a message to set-up a meeting at 8pm does not leave a good impression. Note: if you are crossing time zones, make sure you are contacting planners in their 9-to-5 window, not yours.