Winning new business in our experience is simple. Do all seven of the things we list here and you will rarely fail (and if you do fail, you will invariably find that a competitor has out-performed you in one or more of these areas) :
1. Widen the sales ‘window’ : From the first point of contact to the moment the client finally signs the contract, Winners sell themselves at every (contrived) opportunity – they call to check details, they ask for advice, they update on progress, and so on – and in doing so they establish a dialogue with the client. Losers, however, only sell in a few ‘set piece’ bursts – in sales meetings, in tender documents, and in presentations – when the opportunities to create a rapport are limited.
2. Do your research : Winners understand their potential client’s organisation, employees, customers and suppliers at least as well as their client does. That means asking a lot of people a lot of questions – Winners get busy!
3. Exploit postural echo : It’s human nature – we like people who are like us. In a similar vein, every organisation has its own personality, values, way of doing business, etc. Winners tailor the way they sell themselves to ‘echo’ the potential client.
4. Put on a show : Sales meetings and presentations … the poor client has probably been at the receiving end of dozens. Winners make theirs memorable and put on a show. And that means they rehearse their pitch (sorry, we know that rehearsing in front of colleagues is embarrassing, but Winners find it less embarrassing than losing) Remember, buskers seldom make the Big Time!
5. Anticipate tough questions : “I knew they’d ask that.” If you hear anyone in your organisation reflecting on a feeble response to a tough question with words like these you have our permission to go ballistic! Winners predict the tough questions in advance and rehearse their responses over and over again until they are totally convincing. Being smart after the event is exclusively for Losers.
6. Keep going : You’ve had the meeting, submitted the tender, made your presentation so now you can relax, right? Wrong! Keep making reasons to keep talking to the potential client, because if you ain’t talking to them, the Winners will be.
7. Say thank you! : When you win, it’s very easy to forget to thank the client for their business – don’t be ungrateful. When you lose it’s even easier to forget to thank the potential client for the opportunity to bid – so be gracious in defeat or you may not get a chance to try for the business next time. Winners always say thank you. And, more than that, they mean it too!
Simple, yes – but we didn’t say winning new business was going to be easy!
Can Green Lion help your business by running an experienced and objective eye over the way you are going about business development? Or can we share the Seven Secrets with your sales teams in one of our tailored workshops?