March 31, 2011 by Ken Dooley
Posted in: communication, In this week's e-newsletter - Sales & Marketing, Latest News & Views - Sales & Marketing, negotiating, Sales meeting ideas, training
The first challenge in opening new accounts is to get prospects past the “No thanks. I’m not interested,” or “I’m happy with my present supplier” responses.
The best way to do that is to immediately spark enough interest that prospects give your salespeople the time they need to make a presentation.
Here are five steps that will help your salespeople open new accounts.
- Establish rapport. Studies show that opening a new account depends 65% on the rapport you establish with the prospect and only 35% on your product or service. This means that unless you get the prospect’s attention quickly, the best product or service won’t result in a sale.
- Identify key problems. Prospects become customers when you solve problems for them, and there’s no shortage of business problems. The difficulty with problems is not in finding them but in getting prospects to admit to having them. Whether they admit it or not, prospects are always interested in ways to increase sales and profits, and reduce costs. To overcome the initial barrier of resistance, try to find out exactly what’s important to your prospect and why.
- Distinguish clear goals. You become invaluable to your prospect when you show that you understand his or her problems and goals, and have the ability to help solve them. Your product or service will become indispensable as soon as you’re clear on what it can do best for your prospect.
- Develop the ability to persevere. Once you’ve identified problems, back your solutions with persistence and determination. Don’t consider the possibility of failure. Your ability to persist is what it takes to overcome the most difficult obstacles in opening new accounts.
- Understand the objectives and strategy of the prospect’s current supplier. It’s not enough to think only about how to convert a prospect into a customer. You also have to think about winning the battle against the present supplier. You can’t make the right decisions about your strategy without fully understanding the present supplier’s position, strengths, weaknesses, strategy and resources. Analyze all the aspects of your competitors’ offering, not just product, service or price.
Adapted from the book How to Get Your Competition Fired by Randy Schwantz.