November 29

>Sales – Are You A Long Distance Runner?


>They say in a good economy it takes seven to eight contacts to move a prospects to a customer, in a tough economy ten to twelve, and in a changing (I know I am repeating myself for those of you that hear me speak or read my blogs – but I truly believe this economy is struggling BECAUSE it is changing – we are never going to back to how things used to be. So, can you be successful in this changing economy? Yes! But, you need to learn to do “it” differently) economy that number moves to fifteen to sixteen contacts.

Do you know when most people give up on a client? How many tries the average sales person attempts before writing this prospect off? just three to four – yep that is right three to four!

So the question is – How long do you stay in contact and how many attempts do you make before you give up on a prospect? Is this a sprint for you or are you a long distance runner?

If you are in this for the long haul, then ask yourself how do you stay in contact with prospects? And what exactly is your process for moving a contact to a client? Answer those questions and you have just made a giant leap forward in designing your process to move a prospect into a client.

Here is the good news, you need to remember most of your competition is giving up after just three or four tries. In fact, if you think about it they are really warming up the prospect for you – setting up the sale so to speak – so that all you have to do is go in further, develop the relationship and land the deal. The bad news is unless you are the one proactively hanging in there, proactively cultivating the relationships, when the consumer decides to buy it most likely won’t be from you.

My husband’s dental office practices this method of long distance running to a tee everyday in their office. When patients first visit (yes they call it a visit) they start off with a welcome tour of the office, they meet the full staff, and they are given time to discuss with both the hygienist and the dentist what is on their mind and what they expect from this relationship. As both the hygienist and the dentist listen, they take notes and they develop a plan – the patients plan. Based off of information they heard the patient share. Then, they discuss with the patient what they heard and ask the patient how the patient would like to move forward. Letting the patient know what is critical to take care of first, and then what else is recommended for good preventative care. The bottom line is the patient receives value first from being heard, secondly from having their biggest concern handled first, and lastly from understanding all their options and choosing what, when and how to move forward. The result, this office has some patients that want care immediately and others that come in six months, one year, and some times two years later to receive their preventative care. The patients are happy as they know they are receiving both the care and information they need to take care of their team, but the decision about when and how to move forward is theirs – fitting their time and their budget. This dental team understands the patient is in control. And they understand how to balance quality care with patient need. They are long distance runners.

So how do you become a long distance runner? Again, I sound like a broken record – network. Your networking efforts should run three to one over your sales efforts. This is why this is the fattest part of your sales funnel. You want to network to find, meet and connect with the right prospects.

When you do meet a potential prospect your first thought should be how could I add value? What could I do to benefit this person, so I can further our relationship? Could you introduce them to someone that would be good for them to meet? Do you have an article or piece of information that would benefit their business? Could you invite them to an event where they would make some strong connections? You want this person to say they know you – you also want this person to say they are glad they know you.

Next you stay in touch, providing information and ideas that would be of interest. You listen when you meet and talk with them, and share your thoughts and recommendations to develop trust and build the relationship. As the relationship deepens, the timing will reveal itself. You will find your opening and you will offer your suggestions. If you stay in touch, connect authentically and allow the consumer to control the buying cycle you too will be a long distance runner!

Meridith Elliott Powell

Voted one of the Top 15 Business Growth Experts to watch by Currency Fair, highly engaging corporate motivational keynote speaker Meridith Elliott Powell delivers a cutting-edge message, rooted in real-life examples and real-world knowledge. Meridith’s presentations are full of powerful content, highly interactive, and fun. She helps her clients learn the leadership development, sales and business growth strategies to turn uncertainty to competitive advantage.

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  • >So well spoken, and good food for thought. Thanks for sharing with us. I did not realize how much the number had gone up. I was still working with the 7-10 contact formula. With my new way of marketing, and some plans for 2010, this will shape some of my contact plans.

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