TEC – The step-by-step strategy for capturing new business – John Asher
AN INTERNATIONAL ORGANIZATION OF CEOs
RESOURCE PRESENTATION SUMMARY
THE STEP-BY-STEP STRATEGY
FOR CAPTURING NEW BUSINESS
Marketing is everything you do before you meet with the prospect face-to-face. Sales is when the salesperson walks through the door and tries to get the prospect to buy.
People do business with people. The buyer buys you first, then the product or service. You still must have a credible product or service, but in many cases your product or service isn’t much different from your competitor’s. The buyer can easily go elsewhere to get the same specs. In those cases, the buyer is really buying you, not your product or service.
Potential buyers make up their minds about you within the first 21 seconds of the meeting. They make a yes or no decision in that time. If your initial impression isn’t terrific, you get a “no” before you even start to talk about your product or service.
Needs are what the buyer really needs in a professional way. Wants are very personal and usually lie below the surface. You don’t necessarily have to satisfy the buyer’s wants. You only have to understand them and let the buyer know you understand them so you can connect on an emotional level.
If you sell only features and benefits, you can’t make an emotional connection and the buyer has no loyalty to you. If you make the emotional connection and demonstrate that you understand what the buyer wants, you have their loyalty up until the time you make a bad mistake.
In marketing, attitude is everything. Enthusiastic, optimistic, “glass is half full” people are the ones who get new business. Perseverance is also important. Sales rarely happen on the first call; it takes a continuous flow of contacts to make sales. Today, it takes an average of 12 contacts with buyers to make a sale. Most salespeople give up after four.
Contact your prospects at least once a month in order to maintain top of mind awareness. Less than that and you get too cold; more than that and the buyer considers you an annoyance.
Stay in personal contact as well as business contact. Send out birthday cards, personal notes and articles of interest to potential buyers. But make sure they are personal. Anything that smacks of direct mail or mass contact will be readily obvious to your prospects.
Always leave a sales interaction with your action item. Don’t depend on the buyer to call you back. In many cases, you can make the action item happen on your first contact.
For most companies, 80% of new business comes from old clients, 19% comes from referrals, and I % comes from cold calls. If you want to increase revenues, focus on satisfying current clients.
Performance-based marketing, which focuses oil current clients totally satisfied, is the most important aspect of marketing because it deals with the segment of the market that provides 80% of your new business. When you disappoint your clients, they tell eight to tell who turn around and tell eight to ten more. Your reputation in the market quickly goes downhill. You can’t afford not to treat clients like kings.
Giving your clients something extra is the most effective way to differentiate yourself from competitors. Build extra up front, not at the end of your performance period.
Service providers (meaning just about anyone who has a relationship with another business) come ill groups:
1. Reactive. You respond to clients and do a good job when they give you business.
2. Proactive. You think ahead and figure out what the client might need next.
3. Hand-in-glove. There is open communication total trust and no question in the inds of the client that you are committed helping their business grow.
When you improve your services and products, let your clients know about it. Keeping clients appraised of improvements in how you do business is a rich source of new business. Of the companies that lose their clients, half do so because they get Out of touch. You can’t have a
Business process reengineering is a risky business, It fails 85% of the time, unless it is focused oil customer service and improved client satisfaction. When you make internal improvements, especially if they are related to cost-cutting, make sure they are focused on customer service, and then make sure you tell your clients about them.
Establish a formal process for getting regular client feedback. You call out surveys or do in-office visits, but the latter is far more effective. In-office visits often generate new business because you are there face-to-face talking about what the client needs. Surveys almost never get you new business.
If your product or service is a commodity, the buyer has control. You usually sell to a purchasing agent whose only concern is meeting specs at the lowest cost. The best marketing strategy is to offer engineered solutions, where you have something unique, you have the knowledge and power. and you sell to the CEO or senior management.
It’s better to put a lot of effort into a couple of marketing thrusts rather than a little effort in a lot of thrusts. You must keep adding value or customers will quickly force you onto the
Cold-call marketing represents only 20% of new business, and is much harder than production marketing. It requires three basic steps:
1. Figure out what the client needs (market research). Set a goal of knowing more about the client’s needs than they do before going into the meeting.
2. Determine if the client has the money for your product or service.
3. Demonstrate you can satisfy their needs.
Cold-call marketing almost always requires some kind of “killer argument” to get the business. A killer argument is a short statement that convinces the client that you can solve their problem. The most effective killer argument sounds something like, “We’ve .just done the same job for three other clients in the last three months.” This gives the potential client peace of mind because it proves you can do the job for them. The trouble is you can’t always truthfully say that. So the essence of cold-call marketing is describing what you have done so you can make that argument as closely as you cm.
If you can’t make the killer argument, look for ways to team up with other companies, consultants, etc. to enable you to make the argument. It’s better to get half the business than none at all. If you still can’t make the argument, find a way to phrase and demonstrate what you and your team have done so the client can understand that you can do the job.
The world has gotten so complex, many managers and purchasers are no longer smart enough or technologically astute enough to make buying decisions on their own. In many cases, there are three to four people in the room to help the decision-maker make a smart buying decision. Whenever possible, know who is going to be in the room and pre-brief them before your presentation. That way, you get the technical person on your side instead of asking you a lot of tough questions during your presentation.
Look for ways to meet buyers beforehand: trade shows, chambers of commerce, industry associations, etc. offer great opportunities to meet buyers and learn about their needs.
I . The salesperson’s fear about lack of knowledge about your product. If your salespeople can’t answer all the hard questions, take the technical person along with them on the sales call.
2. The client’s fear about lack of knowledge about the product. They just don’t understand what you do or how it is going to help them.
3. The client’s fear that if they hire you, you will embarrass them in front of their boss. That’s why the killer argument “We’ve just solved the exact same problem for three other clients in the last three months’ is so compelling. It overcomes both of the client’s fears.
In any organization, “scalpers” identify the opportunities. “Trappers” go out and interact with the clients and get the business. “Skinners” are those who stay at the home base and do the work. Many people wear all three hats at once. However, everybody in your company can be a scalper.
Chaos usually equals opportunity. It typically happens when things change. Clients change their CEO or management teams or perhaps reengineer themselves. These kinds of changes typically represent opportunities for you to provide new solutions. It’s very difficult to get business from stable companies with a stable vendor. Set up a system for identifying chaos in your clients. Know when your clients’ key players change and go see them immediately.
The top three rules of salesmanship are listen, listen, listen (to the customer). 1 lie new way of selling is to find out what customers want, by asking them, and then respond with solutions.
Every effective sales call consists of five distinct steps:
1. Approach/warmup/build rapport.
Buyers make up their minds about you in the first 21-30 seconds of the meeting, and then put up yes/no filters. If they like you (yes), they let in information that reinforces their initial impression and block out any negative information. If they don’t like you (no), they screen out anything that contradicts their initial impression and block out any positive information.
“box,” you get a no. Understand what the buyer expects you to look like and dress appropriately.
Don’t carry a briefcase because it makes you look like a salesperson. You don’t want to look like a salesperson; you want to look like a professional selling professional products or services.
Let the buyer talk as much as possible. Ideally, the buyer should talk at least 75% of the time. You don’t need the gift of gab to be a good salesperson; you just have to be able to ask questions. It always helps to get as much information about the buyer as you can before going into the meeting.
Remember that buyers buy on their paradigms, not yours. They typically don’t buy because you have the best stuff or the most value above the minimum specs. It’s great to have the best stuff, but buyers buy primarily on emotion, which is based on how they feel about you.
2. Build credibility.
Building credibility involves making a brief statement that gets the potential buyer to think. “Wow! These guys can really do it. I’ll tell them what I need.”
Many times you won’t have time for the warmup or the buyer won’t let you. If you keep pressing ahead, the buyer will hold their cards even closer to their chest. What you say next has to be good enough to get them to lay their cards on the table and tell you what their needs are. Ibis is when you must have the killer argument to establish credibility.
Prepare several killer arguments in advance and be prepared to use them on the spur of the moment. When your back is against the wall, you don’t have time to hem and haw and think about what you’re going to say. You must have several “credibility zingers” ready to go that short, to the point, and effective. Showing how your offering pays for itself is one of the best killer arguments you can have.
3. Uncover prospect needs.
Ideally, find Out the buyer’s needs before the meeting. Set a goal of going into the meeting knowing more about the buyer’s needs than the buyer does.
The key to uncovering prospect needs is to ask questions and then listen, listen, listen. Never interrupt the buyer when he or she is talking. Keep the conversation going and feed back to the buyer that you understand what they are saying, but never interrupt. It irritates the buyer and shows that you weren’t really listening. Plus, you have to work harder to get the buyer talking
cares enough to object, you know you are close. When you get an objection, never show thc slightest him of offensiveness or arrogance. Train yourself to automatically agree with the buyer to get out of the mode of fighting back. Say something like, “That’s a good question.” Then ask more questions based on the objection.
If you aren’t close to the sale, try to put off the objection until the end. In many cases, if you call the objection you can turn it into the close.
If you’ve demonstrated that you have a solution that satisfies the buyer’s needs, but the buyer objects to the price, it usually means you haven’t demonstrated the value of what you’re selling. Sometimes it means the buyer doesn’t have the money. You have to know which reason is behind their answer.
If the buyer doesn’t have the money, don’t turn down the business and don’t lower your price. Never agree to do it for the amount offered by the buyer because that devalues your product or service and gets the buyer thinking they should have asked for less. Instead, adjust your offering to meet the ma in needs of the client hill not all of them.
Often buyers says “sounds great. But I want to think about it.”. That answer almost newer turns into a sale. When you get that answer, it usually means one of four things:
1. The buyer doesn’t want to make a decision.
2. You haven’t overcome the three selling tears.
3. The buyer doesn’t like the price.
4. The buyer has to get approval from their boss.
You must find out which reason is applicable by asking more questions. If you let it stop at “1 want to think about it,’ you will never get the sale.
4. The buyer shift.
Recognizing when the buyer is ready to buy is perhaps the most important step in the process. It is also the most difficult. The buyer is saying, no, no no, no, and all of a sudden they say yes. They’ve asked all their questions, you’ve overcome their objections, and now they are ready to buy. The problem is that the buyer shift can be hard to recognize because it is often nonverbal. If you try to close before the buyer has shifted, you come across as pushy and aggressive. If the buyer is ready and you fail to close, you look like you don’t know what you’re doing.
• The tension is gone from the buyer’s body.
• The buyer starts handling your presentation materials.
• The buyer leans back in their chair and appears lost in thought.
• The buyer starts using “us” and “we” instead of “you.”
• The buyer starts focusing in on one or two offerings instead of the whole deal you are offering.
5. Close the sale.
You can’t close until the buyer is ready to close. If you try to close before the buyer is ready, you only irritate them. Poor salespeople remain vague at the closing point because they are afraid of being too pushy. They hope the buyer will close for them. Good sales people recognize the buyer shift and immediately go into the close.
“No” is always better than “maybe.” You want to know as soon as you can if there is going to be a sale. You don’t want to keep making contacts if the buyer is never going to buy.
Some popular closes include:
• Assumptive close. Assume the buyer is going to buy and go to the next step. This is the most frequently used closed.
• Choice close. Ask the buyer whether they want option A or option B. When they choose, you have a sale.
• “I recommend” close. This techniques is used when you have a long-standing relationship with the client and all you have to do is recommend the product or service.
• Repeat close. Repeat back to the client something they particularly liked about your offering and include it in the closing process.
• Objection close. Satisfy the last remaining objection. Put it in the form of a question, “If we can do this for you, do we have the sale?”
• Something for free close. Many times the buyer just won’t buy until they get something for free. Offering a free demo, a discount, or something else of value can often close the sale.
• Ultimatum close. Tell the buyer it is now or never. This is useful when you have been going on and on with the buyer and you want a “no” so you can move On to the next highest probability prospect.
• Surrender close. Tell the buyer you realize you can’t make the sale, then ask what it would take to make the sale. This helps to evaporate the sales tension and often gets the client to open up and tell you what they really need.
Once you make your closing proposal, be quiet. The client must be the one to respond next. If you talk next you let them off the hook. If you take a technical expert into the sales call with you, train them not to talk after the closing proposal. Once the buyer accepts the proposal, stop talking, seal the deal and get out.
When going after new business, make sure to follow every step in this process:
• Create an internal “capture team” that says. We want that business, how are we going
• Research the potential client to get as much information as possible about their needs.
• Identify the buyers with in the company and identify their personal and professional interests.
• Find out if they have the money to buy.
• Prepare your capability zingers: 10-15 seconds long at most.
• Determine who ihe lead sales person will be and who will make the necessary number of contacts to make the sale.
• Prepare the salesperson’s killer response to get the buyer over the three selling fears.
• Determine the appropriate team if you don’t have the killer statement.
• Brainstorm the questions and objections you are likely to get and how you will handle them.
If necessary, prepare a short, tight presentation • In most cases, you don’t want to have to give the presentation. Set a goal of getting the business in the warmup.
John Asher is president,
CEO, and co-founder of Global
Associates, Ltd, a rapidly-growing engineering,
management services, and training company. Global
currently holds the largest Navy contract for training in the
metropolitan D.C. area, and also works with the Army, Air Force, Department of
Agriculture, as well as major public firms such as Coca Cola, Sony,
DEC and Home Depot. Asher served 21 years in the U.S. Navy.
commanding two nuclear-powered fast-attack submarines.
Ile currently is a member of TEC 123
in Washington, D.C.
Global Associates, Ltd.
7600 Leesburg Pike – West Building
Falls Church, VA 22043-2004
(703)714-1811 • (703)714-1802 fax