Generating Sales Leads Face-to-Face

When you look at this picture, do you think, “I wish it was this easy to get a qualified lead.”? The truth is, many salespersons can be fooled into thinking this is the best way to generate leads. Their thought pattern I suspect is: “If I send 100 emails a day, I’m bound to get at least one qualified lead.” Now hear me out. I’m not saying this won’t generate any leads. In fact, I have seen it be marginally successful in the past. But at that rate, you would need to send out a hell of a lot of emails to get enough qualified leads that could potentially turn into a sale.

A Time Before Technology

I believe that I am fortunate enough to remember a time before iPads and Blackberrys. A time when it wasn’t even an option to send out an email pitch. A time when you had to meet face to face with a potential customer in order to tell them how your product could help them, and why they should invest in you and your company. In my experience, it has always been easier for a potential customer to say no to a computer, than to your face. While it is quite easy to give a quick email summary of your product, the fact is, you can always get the “key benefits” of your product or service across much better in person. By meeting face to face, it allows you to listen to your customer’s concerns, and help to come up with a solution that best suits them, even if it means that your product and/or service is not the correct fit for their business at this time.

Customize a Solution

As salespeople, we sometimes forget that the products and services that we sell are not for everybody. I would be pretty ignorant to think that the product or service I am selling is the only option available in the marketplace. If this were the case, everybody would be driving the same car, wearing the same clothes and drinking the same beverage. When a customer is shopping for a car, there are certain qualifying questions a salesperson asks. “Is this a family car?” “Will this vehicle be used primarily for business trips?” By asking these questions in person, a car salesperson is customizing an individual solution for the customer. You wouldn’t sell a family of eight a two passenger sports car, would you? Then why would you hope to convey your potential message by sending out an email?

In these times, while sending an email may be the easier thing to do. There is something to be said about meeting with your customers face to face. It brings me back to the reason of why I got into the sales industry to begin with… I like helping people identify their problem, and love getting paid to help them find the solution. So do yourself a favor and ask why you got into sales in the first place. I’ll bet you a dollar that the answer won’t be, “I chose the sales industry because I love sending hundreds of emails out, with the hopes of generating a sale.”

“The way you position yourself at the beginning of a relationship has a profound impact on where you’ll end up.” -Ron Karr

Make an appointment this week to meet a potential client face to face and genuinely listen to them tell you what they feel their business needs, and help them come up with a solution. This type of interaction is the key to generating lasting business relationships.

Happy selling!

Avoid Bad Decisions in Bad Times

Rain – we have had a bit of here in the Flatland as of late. OK, you’re right – we’ve had nothing short of  “a ton o’ rain” in the past few weeks. It’s brutal. There is no doubt that we are all sick of it. It affects us all. It affects us from a recreational perspective – whether your kids miss ball games or you miss camping, golfing, biking and the list goes on. It affects us from a business perspective – landscaping companies, farming, construction, excavating and the list goes on.

The business perspective is the hard one to deal with. Your livelihood has been affected by something that is beyond your control. In these trying times one must make sure that you control how you deal with it. Don’t chase the bad times with a bad business decision.

Rainy Golf Day

I recently volunteered for a golf tournament fundraiser on a day (June 17th) that saw some people giving consideration to building an ark. The rain had been coming down for over 24 hours and our 1pm shot-gun start was not looking so good. We had some foursomes phoning us that morning and cancelling out – rightfully so – based on not wanting to play in the Saskatchewan monsoon rains. Our tournament Chair was in contact with the golf course who insisted that they were not cancelling the tournament due to weather. In other words, they were not willing to give up the revenue even though the experience for the organization, the players and the sponsors would have been brutal.

The Bad Decision

The only “out” for our organization was to postpone but in order to do so the golf club was going to have to charge $1500 for the thawed-out steaks. This seemed reasonable enough until our Chair asked for the steaks as the organization was paying for them regardless. Interestingly, when he picked them up from the course that afternoon the meat was still frozen. The golf course had lied and they were caught in the lie. The end result is that the “more than accommodating” organization paid the “unthawed steak fee” and actually re-booked with the same club but I would bet money on the fact that this tournament will move to another golf course in 2012.

Turn the Negative into a Positive

Clearly the inclement weather was beyond the control of the golf course and the organization in question. How refreshing would it have been to have the golf course manager tell us that he would re-book at no charge. He could have even offered up discount vouchers to distribute to the golfers we had booked in the tournament to “kick start” his traffic flow when the sun began to shine again. He could have turned this brutal weather situation into something where he (and his course) were applauded on Twitter, word-of-mouth and by being named in a positive fashion on blogs and other posts.