In part one of this two-article series, we looked at why there’s no such thing as time management: all we can manage is ourselves and the choices we exercise in our work. When we do this correctly we are saying no to needless hard labor.
By exercising better choices in how we carry out our work, we can be both strategic and tactical in our execution.
The outcome: we sell more simply by being more proactive and less reactive in our selling efforts.
To that end, we covered five strategies in part one of this article. Now let’s turn to tactics: steps we can take every day and during every client interaction.
TACTIC ONE: RETHINK HOW YOU USE EMAIL
Too many sellers today still resort to email as their primary tool for contacting customers and prospects. They do this because they confuse efficiency with effectiveness. No matter how productive you think you’re being by resorting solely to email, your efforts mean little if you can’t measure what you do.
Email is great for sending articles, links and invitations, to confirm meetings, to set-up appointments, or to schedule calls. It’s also a handy way to request written confirmation from recipients or to create an informal record of what was discussed in earlier conversations.
On the other hand, email is far too impersonal and too easy for customers to ignore when it comes to mission-critical work. That’s why I recommend that you do not use email for sending proposals to major clients. Email is also not a substitute for cold calling a prospect. Use the phone first. Follow-up by email only after you have exhausted more than three attempts to receive a reply by phone.
TACTIC TWO: CALL MORE THAN ONE CONTACT
Sellers make poor use of their fixed amount of time and labor when they stick with repeatedly trying to get through to a single point of contact in their customer’s organization. Work smarter. You can get through more easily if you expand your reach. There’s no such thing as having too many contacts, so call multiple people at the same time. Remember that it’s both the quantity and the quality of relationships you have that lead to sales success.
TACTIC THREE: ASK FOR REFERRALS
I repeat this one until I’m blue in the face and still it remains one of the most overlooked (and yet proven) tactics for selling more in less time. FACT: Referrals cut your closing rates on qualified leads from 3:1 to 2:1. The results are even more dramatic if you consider that a cold call closes at 25:1 where as a referral closes at 2:1. The only reason why more people don’t use referrals is because they simply don’t bother asking the client for them. And that’s a terrible reason, when you think about it. I’ve devoted chapters to referral selling in my books Nonstop Sales Boom and Honesty Sells. You can read more details and find scripts for asking on our website.
TACTIC FOUR: PICK UP THAT PHONE
This last point only seems obvious. In fact, it’s still one of the most neglected solutions by businesses who are struggling to boost sales: they don’t call their customer back as often as they should. Thus, they miss out on what remains the simplest, quickest way to increase sales. Consider this example: I recently implemented a calling campaign with an inside sales team whose members were originally just put in charge of order taking. They started putting aside just one hour a day to make outbound calls. After one month, they had secured $200,000 in new orders.
The strategies and tactics we’ve covered in this two-part series are designed help you exercise better choices in how you carry out your work so that you get maximum output in terms of sales performance. Once you stop wasting valuable energy on time management and instead focus on working smarter, you’ll find that an amazing amount of work gets done while your sales keep accelerating.