Selling – is it an art or a science?
In truth, it’s both. The process of a non- customer becoming a customer through their buying process, has a bucket full of potential twists and turns to arrive as a new customer to your enterprise.
The science of selling is in the planning and understanding of how to get from where you are, to where you want to be. How you reach your target audience and what will attract them to your online presence (the NEW Shop window). The art component is to do with your engagement with the potential customer.
However you consider customer acquisition, you need to attract or find new ones and take care of and nurture the ones you already have. Rest assured that someone will be trying to lure your customers away from you, just as you are attempting to encourage new customers into your care.
The one universal truth is that this does all take some time, so do not expect to have orders rolling in because you have launched your web site or because you have received 3 inquires this week. Building your business is a long game, so stay ambitious but realistic and keep trusting the process, and above all be persistent and professional.
In a world of political correctness gone extreme, it is often very difficult for a business to establish what is a real sales opportunity versus what is simply noise, misinterpretation, over-optimism, and lack of clarity.
Why is this seemingly so difficult for us to manage?
My hypothesis is that more often than not, we fail to create the environment where our potential customer feels able to provide clarity (or a simple no thank you). So how do we create the right environment for good open dialogue, and who takes the lead?
Simply, I’d suggest that the seller should be taking the lead in pursuit of clarity. The buyer may provide a clear indication of the seller offer’s fit to the need, which is great, but my experience tells me this is the exception. So we end up with a “send me a quote”, “leave it with me”, “I’ll let you know”… None of which is helpful. The seller logs into the CRM tool to update and notes that this is a probable deal and it is duly added to the forecast. Misleading? Perhaps. Unhelpful? Certainly.
Ultimately, deals are done where buyer and seller have congruence and the detailed effort goes into working out HOW the deal is done, as the decision to deal is already made.
What the heck Graham!!!! Are you trying to alienate the business community?
Not at all – but it does make you wonder how a business leader can insist that the sales team create a larger pipeline and close more deals…and when the inevitable sales pipeline reviews come about, that the sales team are scrutinised for the level of engagement….. You’re getting there ahead of me now aren’t you?
Business leaders – you avoid the sales people who continue to call and mail you requesting an audience with you, and at the same time push the sales teams in your own organisation to “call higher”. What do you do that supports your teams efforts and how would you suggest that your peers within your target audience behave when your sales and marketing teams reach out to engage?
I’d suggest that it’s somewhat hypocritical to ignore sales requests whilst pushing the sales team to do likewise.
So why don’t we get a little more sales sensitive and not only support the sales effort, but take a sympathetic view of the sales requests.
I’d welcome your views….
Like very many folks these days, and despite the promise that technology would free us up to leisure activities, I travel a fair amount – mostly by train (it’s convenient when I can get a seat). What this means for me (armed with my smart device) is that I can be very productive. I can catch up on unread emails and reply – especially to messages received overnight from my US based colleagues. I can also consider the day ahead and plan as much as possible before the day commences in earnest.
What I cannot do particularly well, however is hold telephone conversations. Most of the time, connectivity just isn’t up to the mark for real time engagement like voice, and more often than not, the call isn’t for general consumption. I also loath having to listen to others prattling on in their loud Dom Jolly (I’M ON THE TRAIN) voices.
All of this means that I am probably a net contributor to something I dislike most of the time – EMAIL!!!
How did this happen? Have I got more lazy than I dare to admit to I wonder? I’m not alone here I fear, but what’s the answer.
Well, for me, it’s not all bad news because I do think that email and online communication serves well as a first touch – an introduction if you like. The all important person-to-person piece via telephone and face-to-face is the critical part which we still seem to manage rather well as human beings, and as Bob Hoskins used to say during a very well known advertisement “It’s good to talk.”
It’s an interesting distinction often discussed related to the customers you serve with your products and services. The lines became blurred some time ago as the world changed. I’m referring here specifically to the market for communications and mobility. I’m clearly just a regular member of society and as such am clearly a consumer, however, for most of the week I’m a business man. During the week I constantly flip between personas dependent upon the thoughts and actions at hand.
Today is Sunday and I’m heading to a business meeting starting tomorrow morning and therefore my persona is probably more confused than usual, but I look around a very busy train into London, and it’s full of people using their mobile devices to access what’s important to them now. It may be that there are others like me who are travelling to a business oriented activity, or more likely (based on overheard conversation), they are heading to something more recreational. Whatever we are all doing, it’s clear that mobility in our lives is very much mainstream, whether for business or consumer oriented use. What else is clear is that on order to get the maximum advantage from technology on the go, the device needs connectivity. For me, about to embark upon international travel, I’m considering cost avoidance and inconvenience, so I’ll be ensuing that I’m connecting to WiFi wherever I can, and I’ll be relying upon my ipass app and service to do the heavy lifting. I suspect that the people within the Enterprise customer base that also use ipass are similarly taking advantage of this benefit when they are not “at work” or in “business mode” – well why not?
My mum has recently been diagnosed with a life threatening illness and yet she remains the strongest and bravest member of our family.
My mum and my dad have been together for 57 years and their love is as strong today is it ever was.
My older brother shows strength, patience and caring like I’ve never experienced before and all of this is teaching me so much (he’s always all of these things, but I’m witnessing it for myself at an important life moment).
We are not a Walton-esque family by any means. We all lead fairly independent lives and I live a distance away, but we are a family that cares for and about each other.
My parents can be trying (more so as they have aged) because I’ve not been as patient as I could or should be. This I have learnt in the last few days and I’m grateful for the lesson.
When horrible things happen, I firmly believe that there must be something positive to take from it and in this case I’m still learning to be a better person – with the help of my family and friends I’m a better man today than I was yesterday – or at least this is my hope.
Ipass – It’s really rather simple and very good at keeping you always connected.
I witnessed the alternative reality for myself just this afternoon. A simple presentation in a well known coffee establishment with Free Wi-Fi. And we all know that Free isn’t really free – right?
After attempting to log into the free WiFi with credentials that were…..Let’s tell it as it is….forgotten! The aforementioned presenter used a different email address and created a new account. (That’s another set of intell in the public domain). All seemed OK until I asked how secure the connection was…..hmmm – well he hadn’t considered that!
So onto the “demo” – All started really well…..at least until he opened another web page and he was asked for his log in credentials again (big sigh). Ipass auto connects with invisible credentials to around 50 million hotspots globally with all you can eat data – no limits.