Increase sales, improve profit margins and grow your business with the TopSecrets.com podcast, with business growth expert David Blaise.
How to Attract Larger Clients
Time after time when I ask our clients about topics they want to know more about, the subject of attracting larger clients comes up. So, in this episode we’ll tackle it head on and address the steps you can take now to attract the larger clients you want to have.
David: Hi and welcome to the podcast today co-host Chris Templeton and I will be talking about attracting bigger clients. Welcome Chris.
Chris: Hey David. Thanks for having me. Bigger clients, nearly everyone in business in sales just loves the sound of that. But sometimes our actions, David, they aren’t geared towards getting those results, are they?
David: No, unfortunately they’re not. And a lot of times when I’ve had these conversations with clients and they talk about the idea of getting bigger clients and then we talk about what they’re actually doing, what we find is that they’re not in front of people who ever have the capacity to be bigger clients and so it’s very easy to pinpoint the problems just right from the get-go.
Chris: And that is kind of the function of starting in business and just taking anything that works. And then over time just not really doing the things that helped me to get there. But I also think that businesses in general have a hard time with this idea of, you know, how do I go to these people who have the bigger dollars, who are willing to buy from me? And how do I go through the process of positioning? It’s a big question for people and I think it’s not often well answered by business owners or salespeople, frankly.
David: Yeah, there’s certainly an element of fear in a lot of situations when it comes to approaching larger clients because we’re afraid we’re going to blow it. We’re afraid we’re going to say the wrong thing, and so in many cases we just don’t even approach. It’s like the Wayne Gretzky quote, I miss 100% of the shots I don’t take. And so many people don’t take those shots and as a result, they never get that business. So, I think a good step toward overcoming that fear is recognizing that buyers are human beings, no matter if they have the ability to buy a little or they have the ability to buy a lot. They’re human beings and so if you approach them as human beings and you see if you can provide them with what it is they’re looking for, then regardless of the size of the business, regardless of the size of their purchasing power, they’re going to be happy to hear what you have to say. So, to overcome that is to identify, okay, who are some of these people? And maybe getting into conversations with a few of them, trying not to be intimidated, and some of them might be intimidating. Some of them might just be rude or obnoxious or any of the other disqualifiers that we talked about in a previous podcast. It doesn’t mean that that’s all of them. You can have a very poor-quality prospect who can be rude and obnoxious and can come across as if they have a huge budget when they actually have no money at all and they’re about to go out of business. So, you run into a lot of the same potential issues, whether you’re dealing with a high-quality client or a low-quality client.
Chris: I’d argue that in a lot of situations, those smaller clients, you’re going to work a lot harder for a lot less versus larger clients where you’re going to work well for an appropriate amount of income and enjoy the process more because you’re dealing with somebody who’s got good sales coming in, got a good income, and when you’re dealing with these people, you want to think of it that way, that these are people that I can help and they can help me as a
David: Management Guru Peter Drucker once said, “The purpose of business is to create a customer.” Does that mean just selling stuff or is there more to it than that?
Chris: (Laughs) Oh, it’s just selling stuff.
David Yeah, it’s just selling stuff… that’s it.
David Hi, and welcome to the podcast today co-host Chris Templeton and I will be talking about the idea of creating customers. Welcome back, Chris.
Chris: Hey David, thank you for having me. It’s a pleasure to be here. You know, in a way it seems obvious that business owners and salespeople need to be creating customers, but that doesn’t always appear to be the focus does it?
David: No, it really doesn’t. I think we lose sight of this and that’s why I think it’s an important topic to talk about because this idea of creating customers is just so critical to business owners, to salespeople, to anyone who is in the profession or anyone who is required to grow a business, that it really can’t be overstated. When we think in terms of creating customers, there’s just such a distinction. If I make a sale to someone, then technically that person has become a customer of mine. But again, if the goal at that point is simply to sell them something and that’s happened, well now it moves into the past. And so from my standpoint, the idea of creating a customer means you’re finding someone who is likely to come back to you again and again and again and is essentially going to serve as an annuity to grow your business, because you’re going to know that over a period of weeks, months, years, that this person is going to help to contribute to what you’re looking to build and you are certainly going to look to contribute to what they’re looking to accomplish.
Chris: It seems to me, and I can speak from experience; that one of the hardest things to do is to create that repeat sale, to create that business relationship. And I think it’s so easy for businesses to say, ah, let’s just move on to the next one. And then they start feeling guilty about not staying in touch with the customer. What’s the secret sauce of creating customers versus just making a sale?
David: Well, if you start with what it is that you want to accomplish, and you go into each relationship with the idea of creating a customer, then a lot of your actions will naturally follow. But if you’re just going in with the idea of “I need to make this sale today”, you tend to think more in terms of product. You tend to think more in terms of the things that you have to say and the responses you have to get, as opposed to thinking about the person and how can I help this person to achieve their objectives? Because when your focus is on them and identifying their needs and how you can help them with their needs, you become far more valuable to them. And as a result, you’re going to become a far more likely to create the value they need, where they’re going to want to come back to you again and again and again. You can’t force people to do it. The only way they’re going to come back is if they were happy with what you did the first time. So in a lot of cases when we’re initiating contact with someone for the first time and we’re giving them an idea of what we’re going to be able to do for them, they’re having to take us on blind faith. They can look at testimonials if we have those on our website or whatever. They can hear what other people have said about us in the past, but until they’ve actually placed that first order with us, it’s all just kind of h
Getting Clients via Social Media
Talk of social media in sales is all the rage and everyone is frantically trying to crack the code of how to get clients. But is social media really all that different from other forms of customer acquisition?
David: Hi and welcome to the podcast today co-host Chris Templeton and I will be discussing social media and how to use it to get clients. Welcome back, Chris.
Chris: Thank you David. Nice to be here. You know, let’s just get going with social media and using social media to obtain clients. I get this sense that people really seem to see social media as a necessary part of prospecting these days, but there is a whole lot of confusion about it. So, let’s start with this: Is social media really necessary for prospecting or is it all just a lot of hype?
David: Well, that’s quite a decision, right? Is it necessary or is it a lot of hype? I would say it’s probably both in the sense that it can be necessary, it can be very effective for people, but when it’s done improperly, then it really can end up being a lot of hype. One of the things that I see happening, Chris, is that a lot of people think in terms of just sort of pumping out content and putting stuff out there. And the problem with content is, you know, when you even think of the definition of what that is, what is content? It’s something that’s inside of something, right? It could be bad, it could be great, could be somewhere in between. We just don’t know. So, when people take the approach that they’re just going to go out there and they’re going to go on social media and build a presence out there and just sort of be present, then it might not accomplish their objectives. It will certainly get them in front of people, which can be helpful. But unless you actually have some ideas and some goals in place for it, it’s going to be very unlikely to accomplish the objectives they want.
Chris: So, when you look at what content should be, what’s kind of the basic recipe for that? Because I think some people think, well, here’s what I’m going to do. I’m just going to put up a bunch of stuff about why you should buy my product. And then I think you get the other end of the spectrum, like you mentioned, where you’re just putting up stuff that really doesn’t… how’s this really helping?
Chris: So, when you look at it, what’s kind of the recipe that you see as being a great starting point?
David: Well, there are a couple of aspects of it just in terms of appearing in social media. So, there’s the personal aspect. Are there things that you can put up there that will let people know who you are so they can relate to you as a human being? Now, if you love cats and you’re posting cat videos every 10 minutes, then that’s going to create an impression of you that might not be consistent with everything that you need to go along with your business persona. Right? So, it’s a balancing act. What can I let people know about myself that will let them feel like they know me as a person, but that will not necessarily take away from how they’re going to view me as a professional? Starting with that and saying, okay, I want to evaluate what makes sense to put out there from a business standpoint. So, if there is something that lets them know about my expertise, that type of content is often very helpful, and people can also go overboard with that. You can get on social media and you can be providing lots of great ideas, lots of great information. I mean this podcast is sort of an example of that. In this podcast we tackle ideas that people pay for, you know, we pro
Requalifying Your Clients: The Five Levels of Qualification
Everyone knows that it’s far easier and less expensive to sell the clients we already have and yet very few put in the time to consistently engage and re-qualify their existing clients.
David: Hi and welcome to the podcast. Today co-host Chris Templeton and I are here to talk about all the benefits of engaging and re-qualifying your existing client base. Welcome Chris!
Chris: Hi David. Thank you and welcome. I bet most salespeople and business owners feel like they’re doing a pretty good job of engaging their clients, but what is it that you mean when you talk about re-qualifying them?
David: Well, it’s a couple of things, and I think probably you’re right. Most business people do feel like they’re doing a reasonably good job of engaging their clients. Some feel like they know they should be doing more or they should be more consistent about it, but most people at least know they need to be engaging their clients. What many of them don’t seem to recognize is that every time you bring a new prospect through the door, obviously you need to qualify them to find out whether or not they are essentially qualified to do business with you. Do they have the need, the desire, the money, the budget, the willingness to spend? And if they don’t have those things, then they’re not really qualified. And the same thing applies to clients. When somebody has purchased from you, it doesn’t mean that they’re automatically going to purchase from you again and again and again. So we need to consistently re-qualify our clients to find out where they are in that process so we can determine when we need to be in touch with them, what we need to be in touch with them about, so that we can continue to advance the process and get them what they need.
Chris: But one of the things that occurs to me is that for a lot of people, we take that initial qualification and assume that nothing’s changing. I almost wonder if a lot of us stopped really listening for what’s changed and re-qualifying really would help in terms of seeing what’s new. It’s almost about listening, isn’t it?
David: It really is and I think for a lot of people they seem to think that whatever qualification they did the first time around was like a life sentence and it’s just going to stay that way and it’s never going to change. And the fact is that it pretty much changes or resets each time someone orders from you after they’ve gotten what it is that you have to offer. How long is it going to be before they need it again? Is it going to be a minute or is it going to be a month or is it going to be three years? Because the answers to those questions are really going to be determining the ongoing value of the clients you’re bringing through the door and taking the time to re-qualify them.
Chris: Also keeps you aware of what new opportunities are, that sort of thing. But do you qualify an existing client the same way you would qualify a new client?
David: You do essentially, obviously your approach is going to be slightly different because you know them better. But really what you need to find out is where they are in terms of the buying process. And one of the things that very few salespeople and business owners realize is that every single prospect you will ever come into contact with will fall into only one of five levels of qualification. That’s it. Every single one. A lot of times we just think in terms of well they’re qualified or they’re not qualified or I’m not sure if they’re qualified. Those are not the categories.
Don’t Be a Pest: Mastering Intelligent Repetition of Contact
Success in sales is dependent upon intelligent repetition of contact. We need to be able to reach out to people lots of times, in lots of different ways and keep them engaged with us and very few salespeople have mastered this skill.
David: Hi and welcome to the podcast! Today co-host Chris Templeton and I will be talking about how to create intelligent repetition of contact with prospects and clients. Hi Chris.
Chris: Hi David. Thanks for having me. I’m really, really excited to talk about this one because I think it’s so, so important. Repetition of contact, you know, it seems that any sales position requires this. What is it that gives you the sense that salespeople aren’t doing this or maybe just as importantly, aren’t doing it well?
David: Couple of things, if you’ve ever heard a salesperson say, “I don’t want to be a pest,” that to me is a screaming red flag, right? Because what that generally means is they’re not following up with people enough. They’re not being in touch enough because they don’t want to create waves. They don’t want to bother the person or whatever. And to me that’s a function of not being very clear about your outcome for the conversation because your goal is not simply to follow up with people and get on the phone and nag them until they’re ready to buy. If you are doing that, then yes, that’s being a pest, but don’t do that. You know? Think in terms of what you actually want to accomplish, have reasons and excuses for contacting people so that when you are reaching out, you’re actually providing value in the conversation, in the communication. If you do that, you’ll be advancing the dialogue. You’ll be helping your prospects and you will not come across as a pest.
Chris: And I imagine that the other thing is that if a sales guy says, “I don’t want to be a pest,” especially to a potential client, they already feel like they are one.
David: Well, yeah, because you’re planting that thought in their mind, the fact that you’re thinking it and then let alone vocalizing. Even if you don’t say it, if you’re thinking, “Oh, I’m afraid I’m going to be a pest,” it’s going to come through in your voice and you’re not going to sound as confident as you need to sound and it’s not going to be helpful. If you actually say it out loud, “Hey listen, I don’t want to be a pest.” Then immediately their thought is you just said you don’t want to be a pest. I now have to process the word pest in my brain and then draw a line through it because you’re saying you don’t want to be that. And maybe just by saying it, you’re being a pest. So, I think it could be a self-esteem thing, but if you can just sort of get over this idea that you’re being a pest. Part of it though, and I always believe that confidence is tied to competence. If we’re good at what we do, we’re going to feel a lot more confident doing it. And so if you’re not quite sure what to do, what to say, who to approach, how to approach them, then yeah, you’re going to feel like that. And you might feel like you’re being a pest, so if you’re feeling that way before you go into the call, ask yourself, “Okay, what can I do to add value in this communication so that what I’m saying to them is helpful to them.” because then that way I can be reasonably assured that I’m not being a pest.
Chris: Isn’t a big piece of that in terms of adding value in a conversation about really being focused on your prospective client as opposed to focused on selling the product?
David: Absolutely. Focused on their re
Stop Recruiting and Ignoring Salespeople
Many businesses spend a ton of money trying to recruit new salespeople, but they spend little to nothing to help train and support the ones they have.
David: Hi and welcome to the podcast, today co-host Chris Templeton and I are here to talk about the terrible practice of spending lots of money to recruit new salespeople and then spending little to nothing to help the very people that they’ve recruited. Welcome Chris!
Chris: Thank you, David. Well, what are you so worked up about on this one?
David: What am I worked up about? I guess I’m worked up because I’ve been doing sales training and marketing training for much of my adult life. Nearly all of my adult life has been involved in sales and marketing in one capacity or another, and when I see this practice, it just sort of drives me crazy because it feels like people are saying they don’t care about their salespeople or they certainly don’t care enough, but what they’re saying is, “Hey, glad to have you aboard, now I’m going to go find somebody else!” Right? It’s about piling up and stacking up salespeople with the idea that it’s sort of a revolving door and some people will spin out and some people spin in and the good ones might or might not stay. And I just think it’s such a short-sighted practice. And as I mentioned in a previous podcast, I’ve done a lot of work in the promotional products industry where this practice is rampant. There are ads everywhere trying to recruit other people’s salespeople. So the whole goal is that I want to try to get people at other companies to come work for me, right? And other people at those companies are trying to get my people to work for them. So there’s this whole thing going on where it’s this big sales person swap and they’re so focused on creating this vortex of salespeople moving from organization to organization to organization that they forget that once they’ve recruited these people, if they were to simply help them a bit; simply train them on what’s going to work well and what’s not going to work as well, that they can be more successful. Their business could be more successful, their sales people can be more successful. It’s more success all the way around and I just think this is ignored or avoided entirely too much.
Chris: I one hundred percent agree with you. Talk about what you can do to help a manager to change from being, “Let’s see what sticks on the wall” to really taking care and helping their salespeople to become better at what they’re doing. What is required in a sales manager’s mindset to make that transition David?
David: Well, part of it is the salesperson or the sales manager rather, and part of it is the ownership. If the ownership is not willing to put any sort of funds behind it, then it’s just not going to happen. But if a sales manager can just think in terms of, “What can I do to help and nurture this salesperson so that this person can get in front of the right people, be more likely to be saying the right things, be putting the best foot of the business forward?” That’s the thing that drives me crazy, is the idea that a business would spend tons of money to recruit someone in and then just turn them loose and say “Go ahead, knock yourself out.” In the promotions industry in particular, a lot of times these people are independent contractors and so management will very often use that as an excuse. They’ll say, “Well they’re independent contractors so we can’t force them to do anything.” Which is true, but you can offer it – and the ones who are likely to take you up on the offer are the ones who are going to be the ones you w