Successful sales managers are busy people. Looking at their calendar you would rarely find an empty spot longer than an hour or two. The tasks of sales managers are also numerous: searching the internet, contacting clients by e-mail or fax, cold calling, visiting, preparing presentations and so on. If we take a closer look to all these tasks, we would clearly see that they can be classified into 2 main categories:
1) Creating the database of potential clients
2) Turning potential clients into real (the ones that actually buy)
The first group of tasks seems to me more or less understandable: you need to search the web, attend trade shows, read specialized industry magazines. To some point – all tasks of the first group can be completed by a set of standard procedures which should be repeated on regular bases. While with the second group of tasks – the situation is totally different. This is actually where all the creative potential of a sales manager can be shown. Every client is unique and standard actions won’t bring many orders unless the product is a deficit and the demand is not fully covered. Below we’ll discuss some approaches how to turn potential clients into real ones using the creativity and thinking outside the box.
Let’s assume we’ve found a company on the web, and according to its production range – they should be using a product or a service we’re selling and see how we should be working with them in order to become their supplier or a service provider.
The first logical step would be to establish the contact. In fact – lots of people choose the career of a sales manager because they enjoy interpersonal communication. However, if you are not a socialization fanatic, or even if you are a bit shy talking to unknown people – it is even better, cause eventually your job will help you to become more confident in your communicational skills and you’ll start enjoying it.
Your communication tool box might consist of emails, fax messages, phone calls, video conferences and personal visits. Each of those tools has their pros and cons, so don’t rely on one method only, rather use a combination of them. Some of your clients might prefer emails, others like phone calls – that is why to make the communication process more efficient, always keep in mind your client’s preferences.
To build up some confidence before sending your first e-mail or before your first phone call – consider the following:
• Convince your self that you are delivering useful information that might be very helpful – so no place for feeling sorry about taking their time
• Try to communicate with some portion of humor (smiling to people is a good habit even if you are speaking via the telephone or writing an e-mail)
• Before contacting someone – try to understand how they might use your product and what benefit it would bring to this particular company
• Visualize the process (for example imagine how people are glad that you’ve finally called them, how long they’ve been waiting for the product like yours, they smile and are being very nice to you) – this is a very strong technique as it helps you enjoy your job even more
Proper communication is a key to success in sales. Staying in touch with potential clients you’re building a business relationship between your companies. That is why – use every opportunity to be in contact with your potential and real clients.