Using Marketing to Innovate the Organization

The purpose of the Sales and Marketing functions is to drive revenue for the organization.

Below you will find Sales and Marketing Strategies for driving revenue that can be Applied in any industry. You will also see how to use Marketing to improve the organizations relationship with internal and external customers.

1.Market Research & Competitor Analysis

Before businesses can sell anything, they need to determine if there is a market for their products and services.

Most businesses will not necessarily be creating new product categories. As a result, they will be entering into a market place that already exists. This is true if you are a re-seller or distributor of products and services. Once you decide that there is a market for your products and services; you need to study your competitors.

Image via smartdraw.com

You can see who your competitors are by

Using Market Research to differentiate your products and services on a Website

What if companies could use Market research as an online sales and marketing tool, putting the analysis on their website? Justworks is doing just that.

Using Your Sales Team as a Direct line of Customer Intelligence

There are certain things that come up when customer raise objections. Over time, Sales people will be able to see patterns of these objection. Objections are raised about pricing, bad past experiences, budgeting, being happy with a competitor and product inferiority. While Reps need to be able to handle objections; if they keep losing the sales for the same reason, they need to share this information with the marketing and product development teams.

2.Surveys

Surveys can be a great way to get information about prospects and customers. You can ask specific questions that can provide information on what the prospect is looking for. Also you can ask questions about when the prospect is looking to make a purchase. This information can be stored in CRM software. Surveys can be done through direct mail, email or online through internet polls.

3. Using Inbound Marketing & Creating Buyer Personas

I want to define Inbound Marketing. Inbound Marketing is Marketing based on getting found by customers. It’s customer-centric. With Inbound Marketing, businesses create customer-centric content based on customers needs. Content could take the form of blogs, videos and SEO.

Inbound Marketing is very different from Outbound or Traditional Marketing. In Outbound or Traditional Marketing, businesses would: buy advertising such as TV or Display ads to interrupt prospects, cold call or cold email to get their [message out.

4 Basics of Inbound Marketing & Sales

image via http://www.hubspot.com/inbound-marketing

Using Marketing for Lead Gen and Demand Gen

Digital Marketing/Content Marketing/Social Media Marketing 360

4.Create a blog within your website focusing on customer pain points discovered in your buyer personas.

Image via http://www.garrisoneverest.com/inbound-marketing-2/how-to-implement-inbound-marketing/

Content Repurposing

Repuropse blog content in the following ways: On SlideShare,

YouTube videos, podcasts, ebooks, whitepapers, newsletters, webinars etc…

5. Big Data & Analytics

image via https://marketingtruth.wordpress.com/category/analytics/

There are plenty of ways for marketers to measure the reach of their content and track customer behavior with marketing analytics. Many of these resources can prove to be quite expensive but in some cases make sense to purchase. However, there are plenty of free sources for marketing analytics.

6. Referrals/Testimonials from Customers

Referrals and testimonials from your customers is one of the best ways to get leads because they remove doubt from the prospects mind about your capabilities to perform. Referrals could take the form of a video, a recommendation on LinkedIn or a SlideShare presentation. I have the last two that I listed. Referrals and Testimonials should speak to the quality of your work.

7. In person testimonials at trade shows

Providing customers with great products and experiences is a great way to get customers to help market your products and services.

An example of this is illustrated by Hyundai

8.Customer Loyalty programs

Customers are usually delighted to provide referrals and testimonials for companies and products that work. That being said, you need to show your appreciation to customers who put their name and reputation on the line for you.

9. Business Networking

Attending networking events at your local chamber of commerce or at a professional association can be a great way to meet potential prospects and to generate leads. At these events you can talk informally and exchange business cards. You can briefly discuss who you are and what you do then move on; remember you want to network with as many people as possible.

10. Email Marketing

Email lists can be purchased from a list broker or self-generated from your address book. You can also use services like Constant Contact & Mailchip that allows people to enter their email addresses if they want email from your business. This is known as allowing them to opt in. Before proceeding with an Email campaign make sure to get permission from people through an opt-in email. If you do not get peoples’ permission to send them email it can be considered spam.

Email is a cheaper item than mail. You can have a wider reach to your customers. I would suggest creating a message that is compelling. Make sure to use pictures and colors that look appealing.

11. Social Media/Customer Service issues on Social Networks

Today, many people and organizations are using Social Media to get their message out. If you are not using Social Media you are missing an opportunity. The major Social networks are LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook tumblr, & WordPress. These networks have similarities in the sense they are designed for people to communicate. Here is how to get started on these platforms.

Customer Service issues on Social Networks

In my post Building the Brands of Tomorrow, I stated that one of the things that companies needed to do to build the brand of the future is to listen to their customers. This means handling customer complaints promptly. We are in the digital age. In this age, social networks are the wave of the future. Today’s consumer is an empowered consumer. Today’s social consumer can quickly share their thoughts about a product or an experience on Facebook, Twitter, Google and many other networks. Brands need to be present on social networks to interact and engage with the empowered consumer. More and more consumers are consulting their social networks for product recommendations.

Improving the customer experience using Marketing

The Customer Experience and Customer Journey is being disrupted by technology. The technology comes in the form of social channels such as the internet, mobile, social media, publishing platforms, audio books and video on demand and voice.

All of these channels have the effect of giving consumers instant access to information about products and services. Mobile is becoming the biggest channel with 6.2 Billion Devices projected globally by 2020 According to Ericsson’s Annual Mobility report.

The way customers request information is changing. They may approach Sales, Marketing and Customer Service or an independent source for information and help choosing a product.

Using Social Media for Growth

https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/7-takeaways-from-my-bizheroes-chat-dan-galante

https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/organic-ways-double-social-media-traffic-website-dan-galante-/

12. Blogging- WordPress, Tumblr, Medium & LinkedIn

Blogging is a great way to build your brand and market your products to the masses using Inbound Marketing. Writing a blog allows you to demonstrate your expertise through writing. Blogging helps to provide prospects and customers with valuable information. Providing valuable information helps to position you as an expert and a resource. (Content Creation)

Popular blog posts formats are:

Writing a blog is great way to share your ideas and market your expertise in an area. I began blogging back in November 2011. Blogging had connected me with so many great people around the globe. I began publishing on the WordPress platform. In this post, I am going to discuss how to set up your blog on WordPress and Tumblr.

image via zanderchance.com

WordPress & Tumblr are great publishing platforms where users can create customized & branded content which includes domain names. For tips on setting up a blog click here.

Here is how to write & publish a killer blog article on these platforms.

image via singlehop.com

Writing on LinkedIn’s long form post is similar to writing blog posts. Your goal is to engage your readers & build an audience. Let’s explore the features of the LinkedIn publishing platform.

13. Content Repurposing & Curation

High quality content created on a blog has amazing potential to be shared, increasing blog readership. However, just creating content; sharing it in its original form on many channels multiple times will continue to yield diminishing results. Results are diminishing because Social Networks and the blog-sphere continue to be bombarded with content. As a result, too much quality content will be overlooked. Now if you are reading this confused what to do next, relax you are not alone. When I started blogging I thought the very same thing. Here is where content repurposing can help.

Content creation is one of the best ways to engage an audience, making it essential to content marketing. However, we simply cannot cover every single topic in our industry. This is where content curation comes in handy, content curation is where you share the work of others in your industry. Content curation can enhance your content marketing efforts in the following ways:

14. Obtaining Content from Customer Service & Sales Teams

Once brands convert prospects into customers, they still need to focus on and support customers post sale. Here is where Content Marketing can help. Brands can use Content Marketing for customer retention, cross-selling and up-selling. To take advantage of this, brands need to involve both their Sales and Customer service team in their Content Marketing strategy.

15. Trade Show Marketing

It is important to attend industry trade shows either as an exhibitor or an attendee. Trade shows are a great way to keep up to date with trends in your industry. This will allow you to hone your expertise which your customers pay for. Trade shows are a great place for you to get leads because customers go to them looking to make purchases either at the show or soon after. If you are an exhibitor, require attendees to give you their contact information to see a demonstration of your product. This can be the start of an informal conversation which you can follow-up on later.

16. Advertising

Businesses can advertise their products and services. The advertising can be a spot on the radio, television, Social Media, print and billboards. Television ads can be short commercials that appear on TV shows or they can take the form Infomercials which are at least a half hour in length.

Television has been a preferred method of advertising for years because television has a massive audience. The internet is also a great way to advertise. You can use pay-per-click advertising on LinkedIn, Facebook and Google. (LinkedIn Ads, Facebook Ads,Google AdWords) This is an effective method because you can specify who you want to see your ad by different demographics such as Geography, Age, and Profession. You can also use keywords to trigger your ads.

17. Print

Placing ads in newspapers can also help your business because newspapers have many readers. Newspapers are usually in print and online. Your advertising on this platform could take the form of a classified ad or article marketing. Industry trade magazines also fall into this category. Billboards can also help your businesses visibility.

18. Direct Mail

Direct mail can be a great way to find prospects. You can create a message with pictures and compelling copy. The idea is to piqué the interest of your prospect and to include a card with paid postage that they can send back requesting more information. You can use CRM software to track your results and fine tune who to target.

Direct Selling and Outside Sales Strategies

Sales can teach you many things.

Here is a list of what I learned from selling.

Creating a Sales Plan supported by CRM software

In my last post, I spoke about how to identify your target market and how to build a prospecting list. In this post, I will cover how to develop and implement a sales plan. Also I will cover how the sales funnel works and how it relates to sales success. The Marketing function of an organization can use marketing automation for related their activities as ACT! and Salesforce offer marketing automation software.

19. Handling Customer Objections

Sales 101 A guide to getting started

In sales, everyone has to be able to overcome objections in order to be successful. The best way to overcome objections is to prevent them.This can be done by providing a thorough sales presentation that covers all the information about your products and services. Also it is imperative that you address any questions the prospect has immediately.

However, objections will come up from time to time.

20. Becoming your own Sales Manager

Anyone who is in inside or outside sales has to meet sales quotas/sales goals of a certain type. The role of a Sales Manager is to hire, mentor, train and motivate the Sales Team. A Sales Manager is also accountable for setting the sales goals of their team and making sure that these goals are meet and exceeded. Sales Managers are provided with salary and an override of the teams total sales. Each Sales Reps goals make up a piece of this total sales goal. A Sales Manager’s duties will vary by the size of the organization and its structure.

Now you are asking “ How could I be my own Manager of Sales?

21. Tracking and using Sales Data

Math and Sales Data are essential to improve the sales efforts of Sales Reps. The use of Math and Sales Data can provide a wealth of insights in terms of how effective a businesses sales campaigns are doing.

22. Receivables, and Collections

When we deal with customers, it is important to get them to pay their invoices in a timely manner. What a timely manner means is dependent on your company’s payment policy. Are these customers C.O.D or are they net 30, net 60, net 90 or longer? This payment structure is based on the length of the sales cycle.

What can we do to make sure that customers pay their invoices on time?

23. Customer Relationship Management

In sales, we all have to deal with difficult customers. Today, I am going discuss how to deal with difficult customers. In a previous post, I discussed how to get customers to pay on time. Each situation needs to be put in context. In other words, why were the customers being difficult? Were they being difficult because you screwed up their order or service call?

24. Creating Sales & Marketing Content to engage Customers

In my last post, I covered how to make a cold call where I described about how to make an on the spot sales & marketing presentation. Now I will cover how to develop and deliver a customer centered sales & marketing presentation to a decision maker when you are on an appointed call.

25. Developing Your Presentation

When you start to develop your presentation, it

There are three learning styles, Visual, Auditory & Kinesthetic.

65 percent of learners are Visual but this is not everyone. In the presentation below, I provide you with ideas and strategies to

1. Collect information on your buyers learning style

2.Create presentations and content that will engage buyers with content that is optimized to their learning style making it more engaging

3. Create differentiated presentations and content for all learners when buyer learning styles are unknown.

Getting people to pay attention to your message and brand is becoming increasingly difficult in today’s attention economy. This is especially true when making a Sales and Marketing presentation. When making a presentation using PowerPoint/Slide-decks, are you inundating your prospects and audience with slide after slide of visuals? While visuals are important, too many of them can overwhelm your prospects and audience. Remember the goal of your presentation is to inform, persuade and engage your audience to take action based on your message. You do not want overwhelm and/or bore your audience.

Bonus Content/ Additional Content

Create employee advocacy programs by providing a great talent brand.

image via LinkedIn

Brand Safety , Brand Building, Marketing Campaigns, Product

Organic Sales, Marketing & Social Media Strategies for Growth

CEO’s & CMO’s Looking to increase Sales? Here’s How

Small Business Marketing 101

About the Author

Dan is passionate about using Marketing to help businesses drive sales. HubSpot Certified in Inbound Marketing, Dan has worked on various marketing assignments including Start Ups, a Political Campaign and a Digital Marketing Conference.

Prior to teaching, Dan served customers as an Outside Sales and Marketing Rep in NYC. In this role, he taught and trained Dentists on the company’s products and services using a consultative selling approach combined with direct marketing. He also supported the company’s marketing efforts at industry trade shows.

He writes and publishes a business blog on the topics of Sales, Marketing and Social Media entitled Sales, Marketing & Social Media Today; which has grown to 24,000+ followers on LinkedIn and 19,000+ on WordPress.

Dan is seeking a full-time marketing role in Marketing. He is willing to create and build out the Marketing function of your organization if it does not exist. If your company is hiring for roles in these areas, contact him directly via a free LinkedIn Message or email him at Dan@DanGalante.com to set up interviews.

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Ways to use Marketing to Improve Customer Experience & Customer Journey

http://www.interaction-design.org

The Customer Experience and Customer Journey is being disrupted by technology. The technology comes in the form of social channels such as the internet, mobile, social media, publishing platforms, audio books and video on demand. All of these channels have the effect of giving consumers instant access to information about products and services. Mobile is becoming the biggest channel with 6.2 Billion Devices projected globally by 2020 According to Ericsson’s Annual Mobility report.

The way customers request information is changing. They may approach Sales, Marketing and Customer Service or an independent source for information and help choosing a product.

Competition in every product and service category has never been higher. This marks a significant shift from the days of Mad Men where brands controlled information and the conversation. This marketing shift is known as information marketing through content or simply content marketing. As a result, Marketers and brands have to become the educators or teachers of consumers. To become the educators of consumers, brands have to become the industry resource to consumers; showing how their products can solve problems and improve the lives of consumers.

Content Marketing needs to be used in Sales, Marketing and Customer Service because customers expect a consistent experience through out their journey.

2017 State of Marketing Report Key Findings

The 2017 Salesforce State of Marketing report focuses on four emerging trends:

  • Marketing is undergoing an AI revolution. The marketers surveyed anticipate their AI use will grow more than 50 percent over the next two years, helping them deliver more targeted campaigns, smarter personalization and higher ROI.
  • Marketers realize the importance of delivering customer journeys, but are having a hard time breaking down silos between sales, service and marketing, and bringing customer data together to deliver on this vision.
  • Marketers are making significant organizational changes, within their own departments and in how they collaborate with others, such as sales and customer service.
  • Over the next two years, marketers expect to see unprecedented growth in their marketing technology usage.

“According to a recent research study by Forrester, 71 percent of consumers begin their journeys by using a search engine to discover new products and services (initiation), and 74 percent reported using a search engine for consideration and purchasing (research, comparison, transaction).”

https://searchengineland.com/value-search-across-modern-consumer-decision-journey-270021

Once brands convert prospects into customers, they still need to focus on and support customers post sale. Here is where Content Marketing can help. Brands can use Content Marketing for customer retention, cross-selling and up-selling. To take advantage of this, brands need to involve their Marketing, Sales and Customer service teams in their Content Marketing strategy.

Sales Teams

Sales teams can provide a lot of information about customers, product concerns or issues and objections they face. They are front line soldiers that have a direct line to customer intelligence.

Including the Sales Team in your content marketing strategy

Meet with the sales team and encourage them to compile a list of customer complaints, objections and questions about products that they face. Ask the team to create materials that address these concern that customers can access. This could take form of blog posts, Power-points FAQ’s, product demonstrations and tutorials.

If the sales team feels uncomfortable creating content, they could be interviewed by the marketing department. The marketing department could take content /basic materials, emails from the sales team and polish it up into visually appealing content that customers can access.

Customer Service

Similar to the sales team, your customer service teams are front line soldiers to help customers with issues they face at call centers or through social media. Ask them to write down complaints they get from customers with the answers. These complaints of FAQ’s could be put up on a web site via a PowerPoint presentation, blog etc… If this is not possible for the team, interview them, collect basic materials, emails, notes and create the content yourself.

Customer Retention

Sales and Customer service team are an important part to using a Content Marketing Strategy for customer retention. The more products a customer uses from a brand, the less likely they will switch to a competitor. Remember it costs more to obtain new customers that it does to keep existing ones.

Cross-Selling & Up-Selling

Sales and Customer service teams can also help with cross and up-selling by sharing promotion and new offerings with customers. The Sales and customer service functions of brands are essential to creating a great experience for customers.

Marketing Automation and AI

Salesforce is rolling out a Customer Success cloud where Sales, Marketing and Customer Success can track the Customer Journey across the organization. Each function of the organization can create tasks for the other to make sure the customer does not fall through the cracks. I saw a demonstration at Salesforce World Tour.

This is how brands can integrate sales and customer service teams into their Content Marketing and automation strategy. How are you using content from sales and customer service teams to help your brand retain customers? What are the goals of your brands content marketing efforts?

Feel free to comment and share.

Additional Resources

https://www.salesforce.com/blog/2017/06/fourth-annual-state-of-marketing-report.html

Salesforce 2017 State of Marketing overview

About the Author

Dan is passionate about using Marketing to help businesses drive sales. He has worked on various marketing assignments that include Start Ups, Political Campaign and a Digital Marketing Conference.

Prior to Teaching, Dan served customers as an Outside Sales & Marketing Representative in the Dental industry. In this role, he taught and trained Dentists on the company’s products and services using a consultative selling approach. He also supported the company’s marketing efforts at industry trade shows & in the field through lead generation of Digital Technology along with large Dental Equipment.

He writes and publishes a business blog on the topics of Sales, Marketing and Social Media entitled Sales, Marketing & Social Media Today.

Dan is seeking a full-time marketing role. He is interested in roles in Direct, Digital, Content and Social Media Marketing. If your company is hiring for roles in these areas, contact him directly via a free LinkedIn Message or email him at Dan@DanGalante.com to set up interviews.

 

How Customer Objections are Sales & Marketing Tools

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Image via dreamreport.net

Many people who are new to Sales think that if a Customer does not ask questions or raise Objections during a Sales call; the Sale is moving forward. They find themselves surprised when the customer does not want to buy when they ask for the order. This assumes the Sales person has the courage to ask for the order.

Why Customer Objections are Sales Tools

When the Customer does not ask questions about a product or service it demonstrates a lack of interest. Sales objections are sales tools because the customer shows interest by asking questions. These questions allow the Sales person to build rapport and trust with potential customers. They get to demonstrate their product knowledge and expertise. Without any customer objections or questions, reps have no way to measure their progress during the sales call; making it impossible to pivot. This makes it hard to make sales and build a relationship with the customer.

Why Customer Objections are Marketing Tools

There are certain things that come up when customer raise objections. Over time, Sales people will be able to see patterns of these objection. Objections are raised about pricing, bad past experiences, budgeting, being happy with a competitor and product inferiority. While Reps need to be able to handle objections; if they keep losing the sales for the same reason, they need to share this information with the marketing and product development teams.

How Marketing can Help Sales

Based on the feedback from Sales, Marketing Teams can Create and improve Sales/Marketing Collateral to address potential objections.

On issues of one product being better than another, the product team can: see how the product can be improved, or help provide Sales with Market researchposition materials to illustrate how the product is better.

competitive_analysis_-_matrix_l

image from smartdraw.com

Screenshot (26)

image via justworks.com

Customer objections are Sales and Marketing tools because they provide customer intelligence that can be used to sell more/improve products.

Do you think Customer objections are Sales and Marketing tools? Comment and share how you have handled and used customer objections.

Steps to becoming your own Sales Manager with Activity-Based Selling

Image via Salesforce.com

In order for Sales Reps to be successful in sales, they need to think like a Sales Manager. To be able to do this they need to be able to track their own numbers and activities in the Sales pipeline. Using a system such as Activity-Based Selling, it is now possible to see your numbers in real-time along with pending deals and actions needed for the next step. This kind of Sales analysis will help you be successful.

There are five tasks in the Activity-Based Selling system that you need to master to become your own Sales Manager which includes: 1.Meeting and Exceeding your Monthly quota, 2. Creating and implementing a daily sales plan 3. Prospecting for new leads and customers, 4.Turning in timely reports, 5.Using Sales CRM to aid in accomplishing the above.

Below, we will see each of these steps in more detail.

1.Meeting and Exceeding your Monthly quota

To be successful as a Sales Rep, it is imperative that you meet your monthly sales quota. In order to meet this quota or goal it is important to know what it is. To achieve this goal it’s important to have a conversation with your manager about how you will be evaluated and what numbers you will need to hit.  The monthly sales quota that you receive may seem overwhelming at first.

Image via http://salesmanagement.org

Therefore, you should break it down into smaller parts. For example, a $100,000 per month quota divided by 20 working calendar days means that your sales must be a minimum of $5000 per day on average. To exceed the monthly goal, double the daily goal.

Now before you can dive head first into calling on customers and prospects you’ll need to have belief in yourself and the products you offer, product knowledge, competitive analysis of how your product measures up to competitors and at least a basic understanding of how to handle objections; if you are new to sales.

Image via http://smartdraw.com

Common objections voiced by prospects include: pricing, loyalty to a competitor, bad prior experience, not being the decision maker and wanting to think it over.

Images via www.scpgr.com, www.areyouresourceful.com

2.Creating and Implementing a Daily Sales Plan

 Once you are assigned a Sales territory, it is important to understand its demographics. As a Sales Rep in a new territory, you want to know: the number of prospects, the geography of the territory and the locations of prospects on a map. Using this information, the next step would be to divide the number of prospects by the 20 calendar working days in a month to come up with the amount of daily calls needed to visit everyone in the territory. Use a map to determine the order of people you will call on. As a Sales rep, you will want to call on people near one another to manage your time effectively. Write this plan out and go over it with your manager and most importantly make sure to use it every day.

3. Prospecting for New Leads and Customers

 

Image via www.nateleung.com

Now that you are executing your sales plan, it’s important to get in front of the people who could say yes to your offering. To be able to do this effectively, it is essential to be able to handle objections during sales calls. To have success, handling objections are the key to obtaining more sales from appointments. As you hone your selling skills, you will find it easier to make presentations and ask for the order. Once Sales are made it is important to make sure customers are satisfied with their purchase. You have earned the right to ask for more business, testimonials and referrals only after the sale and successful implementation of the product.

4.Turning in timely reports

Image via www.merapi.holes.es

As a Sales Rep, it is easy to get lost in the details when you are running a sales territory as there are many things to manage at once. However, you are still responsible to turn in your reports and update your records for customers and management; incomplete records can hurt your sales and your performance evaluation.

5.Using Sales CRM to aid in accomplishing all of the above

Sales CRM software allows you and your Manager to track all Sales pipeline activity which allows you to make informed decisions on all actions for all required interactions on pending deals.

Sales CRM enables Sales Reps to become their own Sales Manager, tracking their numbers and comparing them to other time periods gaining valuable insights on what is going well and what they can do to improve. This kind of Sales analysis and reflection enabled by Sales CRM is essential for sales success.

Major Sales CRM providers are:

Salesforce,

Image via Salesforce.com

ACT!,

Image via FlexAct.net

Oracle and

Image via docs.oracle.com

HubSpot

You can sign up for free trials and/or product demos by clicking the links above.  

What Sales CRM are you using? Comment and share your experience below.

About the Author

Dan is passionate about using Marketing to help businesses drive sales. HubSpot Certified in Inbound Marketing, Dan has worked on various marketing assignments including a Start Up, Political Campaign & a Digital Marketing Conference.

Prior to teaching, Dan served customers as an Outside Sales & Marketing Rep in NYC. In this role, he taught & trained Dentists on the company’s products & services using a consultative selling approach combined with direct marketing. He also supported the company’s marketing efforts at industry trade shows.

He writes & publishes a business blog on the topics of Sales, Marketing & Social Media entitled Sales, Marketing & Social Media Today; which has grown to over 15,000 followers on LinkedIn & over 10,000 on WordPress.

Dan is seeking a full-time marketing role in Direct, Inbound, Digital, Content & Social Media Marketing. If your company is hiring for roles in these areas, contact him directly via a free LinkedIn Message or email him at Dan@DanGalante.com to set up interviews.

 

 

 

Close Sales during Cold Calling with the Colombo Technique

In previous articles, I have discussed how to overcome objections and make cold calls successfully as referenced below.

“In sales, everyone has to be able to overcome objections in order to be successful. The best way to overcome objections is to prevent them. This can be done by providing a thorough sales presentation that covers all the information about your products and services. Also it is imperative that you address any questions the prospect has immediately. However, objections will come up from time to time. Some of these objections are real buying signals and others are just stalls to put you off. As a Salesperson, you need to be able to tell the difference.”

During some cold calls to dental offices, I was not able to obtain the information that I needed to overcome prospect objections. This occurred because the person I was speaking to was not the decision maker. As a result, they were reluctant to talk for fear that they would say the wrong things or give away to much information on their bosses business. Despite their reluctance, I would continue to talk with them, build rapport and bond. I would ask to speak to the decision maker but many times they were not in the office; or the person I was speaking with would not want to disturb them for fear of getting reamed out when I left the office.

When this was the case, I would use the Colombo technique to get the information that I needed. I would turn to leave the office, put my hand on the doorknob and ask who their supplier was or when I could catch the boss. Usually the person I was speaking with would provide me with a lot of information about the prospect. Even more than I expected! This is because the person that I was speaking with put their guard down because they thought I was leaving the office so one last question didn’t seem so bad.

During other cold calls, I was able to speak to the decision maker. I would build rapport with them and try to obtain as much information as I could to overcome their objections. Many times the prospect would be reluctant to give me information; stating that they were happy with their supplier or they were too busy to speak to me. When they used the supplier objection, I would employ the Columbo technique; turn to leave and ask who their supplier was. Many times they would tell me and I would ask them for few moments of their time to show how my products were better. I would get the time and close the prospect on giving me a trial order. I developed some of my best customers this way. Other times, I was able to obtain a follow up appointment with the prospect.

The key to the Colombo technique is to get prospects talking. Even if it’s about things not related to their business at first. You want to make them comfortable talking with you. Next, you want to save the question you really want to know for the end of the conversation because the prospect will most likely answer it thinking you are going to leave their office. In other words, their guard is down.

The Columbo technique is a great way to close sales and obtain information.

How have you employed the Columbo technique?