You and your team are good at what you do. You’re smart, you work hard, and you’ve excelled in your professional skill area.
But you’re not salespeople.
Since money doesn’t grow on trees, and there’s usually a correlation between effort and earnings, something needs to keep the lights on at your agency.
Conversations Are The Key
It’s as simple as having regular conversations with the right people.
“The key to selling is conversations.”
Directed, purposeful, simple conversations.
If you start with the assumption that you provide a service that has value, then you change your mindset from sales to providing solutions to your customer. Chances are you’re passionate about how your agency can help your customer, so this mindset transition from “sales” to “assistance” is easy.
You’ll discover, through a friendly conversation with a prospective customer, that you can identify what their issues are and how your agency can solve them. You then fine tune your solution, and voila! Now you not only have a new customer, but you’re a bona fide salesperson too. Easy, right?
Sales calls are simple conversations with prospects who may or may not become clients. If you relax, your demeanor will alter; your breathing will slow, and you’ll find yourself talking with an interesting person. When you LISTEN (yes, all in caps) it is amazing what you’ll learn. Put the two together, with a little direction and a purpose, and you’ll find that your ordinary conversations will become extraordinary sales opportunities.
Scheduling time to talk with prospects is critical
The trick is to find the right people to have these conversations with on a regular basis. Finding prospective clients is the part of the sales job that so many people (even salespeople!) despise. Contrary to what many purveyors of online courses will tell you, it’s hard work.
Hubspot defines prospecting as, “the process of searching for potential customers, clients, or buyers to develop new business.”
I’m sure Hubspot also tells us somewhere that the key to successful prospecting is consistency. Simply put, seeking opportunities to have conversations with people who may have a need for your services must be a regular effort.
You need to schedule time to do this every week. Daily, if possible. After awhile it will become a habit and you’ll be in a regular rhythm of having conversations that turn into new opportunities.
How Do Conversations Become Sales Opportunities?
Start by giving your team a clear description of your ideal customer. Brainstorm a few compelling questions to ask in a conversation to get the ball rolling. You’ll need to practice your qualifying questions, and remember that you are looking for ways to solve potential client’s problems. Making a sale, through a pleasant conversation, eliminates the perspective that sales is an intimidating process. You’re providing a service that solves a problem or an issue for someone. That’s a valuable and a useful thing and nothing to be afraid or ashamed of.
The Bottom Line
If we define prospecting as identifying new opportunities to assist others as opposed to obtaining new clients at random, your team will be able to find plenty of business from your existing clients. It’s important to evaluate if your non-sales team members are looking for new business with existing client. My friend Lisa Shaughnessy, calls this method “following up”, another great way of prospecting. Without new or follow-up sales you don’t have a business; and that does make it difficult to keep the lights on.