When you’re in sales, it’s easy to get stuck in “short-term mode.” Most sales managers want to see sales on the board this week. They don’t necessarily care about next year. But, in sales, it’s ultimately about the long-term. You don’t want to make a sale today at the expense of 20 sales tomorrow. Here’s how to balance out your need for sales now and business for the future.
Divide Your Sales Team
You should divide your sales team into two or more groups. The first group will be comprised of experienced salespeople. The second group will be comprised of newer sales people. The “green peas” can work on qualifying leads or closing the sales of prospects that are ready to buy now – led by one or two experienced sales leaders.
The more experienced team of sales professionals can nurture leads further down the sales funnel and close harder cases. This way, your sales organization is focused on both the immediate sale and long-term business.
You probably already have a thick skin, but you need to be even more persistent with tough leads. Now, persistent does not mean “browbeat.” If a customer isn’t ready to buy right now, they go into a lead management system. You keep dripping on them until they’re ready to buy. Remember, people are ready to buy when they’re ready to buy, not when you’re ready to sell.
Use Lead Management Software
By the way, if you’re not using a lead management system, starting using one now. They make lead capture and management much easier than the tools you’re probably using right now. This mortgage software, for example, can capture leads through integration with your company’s website, set up contact information, send followup emails, remind you to contact prospects, track prospects in the sales cycle and keep detailed notes about the people you talk to.
Use a Drip System
A drip system refers to an email campaign that you send out. You “drip” on prospects with valuable information that’s relevant to their life and business. Then, you sit back and wait for them to call you or you follow up with them periodically to ask for the sale.
Drip systems work best when the content is highly focused and personalized to the individual prospect. Fortunately, lead management systems and autoresponders make this a simple affair.
Define A Target Market
Don’t make the mistake most salespeople do. Your market is not “any person who fogs a mirror.” Figure out who your ideal customer is and only worry about selling to that person. That necessarily means you will be ignoring a lot of other people. That’s OK. They won’t have money to spend on your products and services. And, if they do have money, they won’t be interested in them. Why beat your head against the wall, trying a million different “closes,” when they’re not interested?
Create Long Business Cycles
A long business cycle lets you act long-term, providing you with a steady stream of leads so that you’re never one week way from being out of business.
Brady McElroy is a marketing and sales consultant. He likes sharing his marketing insights on the web. His articles appear on many business and sales sites.