Define your Target Market. 3 questions that set you up for success (or failure)
- Who do I call on?
- What do I call on?
- Why should I call them?
- Your average revenue per account is directly proportional to what companies you decide to call on.
- The level of responsibility you call on directly affects your sales cycle and first appointment to proposal ratio.
- And the reason you call on them directly influences your closing ratio.
Get the picture? What this tells you is that you do have absolute control over your performance metrics. However, you need to be able to clear on the “who”, the ‘what”, and the “why” to understand the most effective prospects to call on. Your answers should relay: Vertically by industry, Horizontally by title, and benefit-based by application.
Develop a ‘Targeted Selection Process’ Salespeople without targeted prospects are like trees without leaves. Eventually, you wither and die! Your target list is one of the most vital ingredients to begin your sales process. Getting targeted, prospecting data should be an ongoing project. It must be done prior to and independent from the act of communicating to set a first sales appointment. Regardless of whose responsibility it is to accumulate this target list — (the salesperson or the company) — it MUST be done ahead of time. Think of it as the preferred destination on your road map, and a necessary item to check off before you start your trip.
Understand & Identify your ‘Magic Number’. Your ‘Magic Number’ is the number of new appointments you need each week to assure your revenue goal is met each month. It’s a derivative of your sales cycle, average revenue per sale, 1st appointment to proposal ratio, closing ratio, and revenue goal. It is also a dynamic number that is based on your individual competency ratios and performance numbers. So, it’s personal to you and directly linked to your success. Let me say that again. Your magic number is personal to you — and DIRECTLY affects your success. By meeting or exceeding this activity number, you can routinely eliminate fluctuating sales results and virtually assure achieving your income goals.
Interpret your ‘Hourly Rate’. The lure of flexibility, the temptation of low supervision, and the idea of freedom from a regimented time-clock make professional selling a very attractive career choice for the dreamers, visionaries, and idealists among us. To borrow a quote from Phil Helmuth, two-time World Champion of Poker ”It’s the hardest way to make easy money there is.” It’s true. We don’t punch a physical clock or necessarily have someone monitoring our time on the job. But we do have an internal clock of accountability. It’s not accountability to our company per se, but our desired results and to us. It’s called our ‘Hourly Rate.’ You can calculate yours by dividing your income goal by 252, and again by 9. Want to join the 100K Club? You don’t need cumbersome time management courses to make the right choices in your daily routines if you are aware of what you are worth.
Block 90 minutes a day, for ‘Opportunity Creation’. If you want to leap over the heads of your colleagues — adopt this strategy: Block off 90 minutes per day (Every day) to initiate contacts for new appointments. You can slide it up and down during the week, but do not eliminate any blocks until you achieve your ‘magic number’ for the week. Consider this your weekly quota. Not in revenue, but in activity. Use the 90-minute block for contacting targets, not figuring out what targets to call. Have your list ready and complete. Discipline yourself to daily routines to achieve weekly goals for assuring your monthly results.
Define & Measure a minimum objective for the 1st appointment. Do you know what your objective is for your first appointment? What is it that you are trying to achieve? How are you measuring it? Simply put, your objective should be to gain a commitment to take the next step in the sales process. This evaluation will lead you to a results-oriented training process to improve your 1st appointment to proposal ratio. You should develop a ‘gateway’ definition and business rule to gauge how many times you achieve it. Then be sure to measure it and find a strategy to re-adjust your product or service.
Assemble a checklist of strategies & tactics between appointments in your sales cycle. Want to know the difference between a sales leader and a sales follower? Just watch what they do during their “in-between time”. You may be shocked to know that the difference between excellence and mediocrity is, what routines and processes a person put in place between appointments, not just during appointments. Use these tips from the X2 system to help you develop good habits between appointments.
(1) Will you have all the decision-makers present for the ‘closing ‘ appointment?
(2) If not, what can be done to get them involved?
(3) Is there a perception of risk because of brand identity?
(4) Fax over any pertinent industry articles and testimonial letters from businesses similar to theirs.
(5) Do they think you are expensive? Develop an ROI model exclusive to their business. And on it goes. Meet with your team to brainstorm around each scenario that happens in the sequence of appointments, and develop Powerful Routines to raise your closing ratio and quicken your sales cycle.
(8) Integrate ‘Customer Creation’ programs. The secret of being a “master of cold-calling” is NOT actually having to do it — Jeff HardestyIf you’ve been in your sales position for more than 4 months and you’re still relying on cold-calling 100% of the time, you’re working way too hard. The key to efficiency is to work smart, not hard. Here are a few ways to leverage your success. Set up a process of routinely asking for referrals at the end of your sales process, (win or lose). Join or start a lead group. Develop your own referral program. Identify clients with customers that you can help. Contact businesses that have services that complement yours, and educate them about your collaboration program. Use these ‘Customer Creation’ models and reap the rewards of a true entrepreneur. Remember the key is to LEVERAGE every available resource you have.
(9) Pro-actively Procure Testimonial Letters. One of the most powerful ‘grassroots’ marketing tools is scenario-based testimonial letters. Set up a process in your daily routine to let loose when you hear opportunities for testimonials. They are abundant and can be born out of both good and bad scenarios. In fact, a ‘bump-in-the-road’ letter is 5 times more powerful than the standard ‘Golly-gee, you’re great!’ letter because it shows that someone had a problem and you fixed it. Everyone knows stuff happens. So when you solve problems for people — get a letter. Strive to secure a testimonial letter from each of your customers or inquire about what you must do to get one. If you will do this, you will build an arsenal of “trust-building” “customer getting” and “sales closing” tools that will be more valuable to you than gold.
(10) Train for a High ‘Conversation to Appointment’ Ratio. Most sales organizations die a slow death from not setting enough “new” appointments on a routine basis. That’s because the average conversation to appointment ratio is between 5–18%. Therefore, the most important competency to “train to” and “ratio to measure” in sales is converting conversations to appointments.
With the myriad of potential roadblocks in your ways such as voice mail, gatekeepers, and busy schedules it's hard enough to just get a conversation with your prospect. So you must dedicate some training time to this core competency. Then you can improve your conversion ratio and you will need fewer conversations to achieve the necessary number of new appointments. Fewer hits, more appointments. Less time, more commission.