AccountHUNTER

The Daily Journal for Ad Agency New Business Hunters

Archive for the ‘Prospecting’ Category

The Trouble with Selling Services?

Posted by Shane Murphy on Wednesday, November 15, 2006

winner2.JPGSticking with issues of selling in the service industry, I link you today to a wonderful piece from RainToday.com that gets into this issue a bit deeper than I did on Monday.

It’s pretty simple to see that one of the biggest problems in solid lead generation — when you don’t have a tangible product to sell — is that of getting the prospect to visualize exactly what it is that you’re selling. From the RainToday piece…

How do you make the intangible tangible? Take a cue from your local ice cream shop… let your clients and prospects have a taste. Professional services businesses can do this by creating and leveraging offers and experiences that allow potential buyers to see, touch, and taste a bit of what you will provide for them as a client.”

For my business, that means getting out there everyday and doing the things that most people aren’t willing to do. For example, I have spent a ridiculous amount of time over the past month in building relationships with establishments, then working out trade agreements with them for me to do some work in exchange for the ability to use their offices to hold free seminars.

Of course, that means that I’ve also spent a good deal of time in actually developing those seminars. Not to mention the time taken to deliver them. What has it netted me so far? Little in the way of revenue, but it has made me recognizable in my area and gotten me a solid prospects list.

And it’s made my services more tangible to those prospects.

Another exercise that I’ve been actively pursuing is pitching a weekly column to some newspapers (tip of the hat to Jeffrey Gitomer on that idea). My pitch is simple: I’ll gladly commit to writing the column at no charge — all I’m asking for is a guaranteed news hole in the paper on the same day each week. This is proving to be more difficult than I would have hoped, but that doesn’t deter me from working it. But once it happens (and it will), the rewards of it will come ten-fold.

As Gitomer says… “Next time someone tells you ‘never,’ that means ‘not for at least an hour’.”

Success in selling anything is about doing the things that very few others are willing to do. It means being creative… doing the unexpected… and never giving up.

The trouble with selling services is that most people are unwilling to do just that.

Advertisements

Posted in Organizing, Planning, Prospecting | Leave a Comment »

Lead Generation Mistakes: Are You Making Them?

Posted by Shane Murphy on Monday, November 13, 2006

mistake.jpgAs I continue to work on my small business marketing efforts, I’m always on the lookout for interesting insights that may help me to see different ways of ‘getting the word out’ about what I do.  As anyone who sells anything knows, it’s not always a black-and-white effort to attract serious leads.

Over the weekend, I came across a great piece at EyesOnSales that covered the “Top 10 Lead Generation Mistakes.”  Now, consider that the article has a focus solely on selling professional services as you read it, but the concept of the writing can easily be applied to any sales genre.

There’s nothing earth-shattering in this piece, but it’s a good read for getting your mind right on a Monday morning.

Posted in Organizing, Prospecting | Leave a Comment »

The One Piece of Advice You Can’t Sell Without

Posted by Shane Murphy on Monday, August 14, 2006

moneyroll.jpgI’ve never hidden the fact that I’m a loyal reader of RainToday.com. I subscribe to their newsletters, I visit their site several times per week, and I take a lot of their advice and put it into action.

So imagine my glee this weekend when I came across a free ebook that they’re offering up. 34 pages of quick-hit advice from some of the best in the business. This baby is an easy read, but it’s one that you’re going to want to read, read, and read again.

One of my favorite entries in this fantastic ebook comes from Alan Weiss, who wrote the book Million Dollar Consulting.

If you’re talking about price, you’ve lost control of the discussion.

As salespeople, we all know that to be true, right? When I first started my career, I would cringe every time I heard that dreaded, yet almost inevitable question, “How much is it?” I always go back to that Zig Ziglar standby nowadays — “Price is a one time thing, but cost is a lifetime investment.”

And it doesn’t matter what you’re selling, really. Once you get that mindset, I’m convinced that you could sell anything. Weiss drives that point home flawlessly, using time-shares as his vehicle to do so.

And his contribution to the ebook is but one of 11 contributors. Have you downloaded it yet?

Posted in Closing, Organizing, Pitching, Planning, Prospecting, Reporting, Researching, Schmoozing | Leave a Comment »

From Cold… to Gold

Posted by Shane Murphy on Monday, July 24, 2006

telephone.JPGIt’s a rare day here on AccountHUNTER that I consider blogging something related to cold calls, but this piece from RainToday.com certainly seemed worth your time.

Face it, we all hate the dreaded cold call. One day, a magical fairy may appear to take care of all those prospecting needs (oh, how I long for that day!). But until that fairy arrives — no matter how organized, how smooth, or how sharp we are — cold calling will always comprise part of our lives.

Oh, how I hate it…

But today, as I read the linked story, I realized that maybe it’s me that’s causing some of my own angst over this time-honored method of account hunting.

All too often, service professionals go into a cold meeting expecting the ultimate – an immediate sale. If they do not get the sale from that first meeting, they consider the entire exercise a waste of time and effort. As a result, they do not plan to succeed over the long-term… and thus they fail.

I know that I have been guilty of the above more than once in my time, and I’m sure you have as well. I’ve picked up the phone, gotten in front of a prospect, got pushed off… and given up. Long term, that’s not the way to do this!

Seriously, take a few moments to read the RainToday piece. Hopefully, it’ll get your mind thinking a bit differently.

Posted in Prospecting | 1 Comment »

Honest Abe’s Take On Customer Relationships

Posted by Shane Murphy on Friday, July 21, 2006

lincoln.jpgHow do you perceive your relationships with your customers? Just as important of a question… how do you perceive your prospects?

It’s easy to look at a prospect — and at face value, simply dismiss them for a variety of reasons that you may swear up and down you would never consider.

Dan Tudor over at LandingTheDeal penned a pretty strong blog item last week discussing the customer relationship philosophy of Abraham Lincoln. Specifically, Lincoln’s simple understanding that it is indeed your attitude that defines your relationships with others… including your customers and prospects!

“Hey, guess what: This isn’t high school. You aren’t passing notes in your home room, and your customer isn’t going to ask you to the prom. It’s a professional business relationship, and you need to grow up and act your age when it comes to being patient with your customers, even when they don’t return the favor to you at first.”

That couldn’t be more true. Sometimes in life, and in selling, we have to get past our personal issues and biases and realize that when we decided that we don’t “like” somebody, it very well may be our problem to overcome.

To simply write that customer off may seem logical in the short-term… but what about long-term? Think about it…

Posted in Prospecting, Schmoozing | Leave a Comment »

Who Should You Be Selling To?

Posted by Shane Murphy on Thursday, July 20, 2006

shrug.jpgEvery day, as you sit in your office trying to figure out how to get more potential clients onto your prospecting list, what are you actually doing? Are you actively prospecting and then qualifying those prospects, or are you spending the bulk of your time trying to convince people who, quite frankly, don’t want to be convinced of anything except that it’s beer-thirty?

I was over at SalesTeamTools today and saw this a blog posting about this very issue. How many times have you done your prep work, been dead-on prepared for a major pitch, then found yourself in front of a person who, plain and simply, has very little interest in talking to you at all?

So when you prospect, are you just filling up your database of potentials, or are you taking the time to actually qualify those leads before spending your valuable time preparing for the next frustrating pitch? From SalesTeamTools:

It’s finding out, quickly, who recognizes they need to make things better because they’re broken, or make things better because they can. And spending time only with those prospects. It’s telling them in brief, easy-to-understand, engaging language what you do, why you do it, how it could help them, and finding out if they get it.

If they don’t, then move on.

Prospecting without qualifying, many times, is simply an exercise in frustration. Take that extra time to do your research on your prospects, find out who you need to talk to exactly, and be sure you’re talking to people who are difference-makers… people who can make decisions.

And always be ready to help them. Always.

Posted in Planning, Prospecting | 2 Comments »

What Defines a Prospect?

Posted by Shane Murphy on Saturday, July 1, 2006

timeismoney.jpgSeems like a simple question, doesn’t it? But is it really so simple?

Think about it for a minute… how much time do you spend each day researching and prepping for a presentation to somebody who is incredibly unlikely to buy? I thought about this morning while surfing the blogosphere and coming across this very short entry on somebody’s personal space. As I read it, I thought this it was important enough to include here.

A person is a prospect only if they: a) have a genuine interest in the particular service or product you provide AND b) have responded to one of your offers AND c) they have provided you with contact information AND d) they have the authority to buy your service/product and can afford it. Everyone else is a stranger. Not a prospect.

I don’t neccesarily agree with everything in this short piece, most notably that a prospect needs to have responded to one of your offers. In many cases, you need to have the opportunity for them to respond, and that’s your opportunity to make. But the point made is a good one. Stop wasting your time on those who no-hopers!

So while you’re prepping for next week, keep that in mind. Take advantage of the tools available to you out there to not only research for a presentation, but to research to find out if the people who you want to pitch should be high on your target list. Once you make that decision, then it’s time to get busy prepping to make the presentation, and hopefully… the sale.

Posted in Prospecting | Leave a Comment »

Tool: “Prospect Management Reporting”

Posted by Shane Murphy on Friday, June 30, 2006

wrench.jpgI love it when i can find solid tools to simplify my daily routine, and I love it even more when those tools are free!  So it’s time to link you out to SalesTeamTools.com for downloading a simple Excel spreadsheet to help you in keeping a good account of active prospects in your pipeline.

It also allows the you to select from one of three “likelihood” gauges—Top 1/3, Middle 1/3, and Bottom 1/3—as well as adding a summary or overview of the deal.

Since I don’t use Excel, I tested it using OpenOffice.org this morning and it looks like it works great.  Take a look at it… it’s at least worth a shot.

Posted in Prospecting | Leave a Comment »

Unique New Tool for Advertising Agency New Business Hunters Launched

Posted by Shane Murphy on Friday, June 30, 2006

logo_ad-ology-logo.jpgSales Development Services (SDS), a leading provider of business intelligence and revenue development solutions for the advertising industry, today announced the nationwide availability of Ad-ology(R) – The Ultimate New Business Tool for Agencies.

If you’ve not yet taken a look at Ad-ology, you’re missing out.  I’ve mentioned it before on this blog, and they do offer a free trial to qualifying agencies.

Posted in Pitching, Planning, Prospecting | Leave a Comment »

Aisles and Aisles of Opportunity

Posted by Shane Murphy on Tuesday, June 27, 2006

groceries.jpgA new Giant Eagle opened in my neighborhood yesterday.  I live in a relatively small suburb of Columbus, but we’re accustomed to having pretty much everything under the sun, when we want it – if we really need it or not.  So, I was naturally curious to see what the fuss was about (and why Kroger had spent the last six months doing a complete overhaul, to the point where I just stopped going).

Inside, that was no grocery store… not in the conventional sense anyway!  Specialty food areas, chefs at every turn cooking stuff that I’ve never even heard of, and I realized that this sort of “new store” represents a great opportunity for marketing campaigns.  Not just at this fancy new Giant Eagle, but for grocery stores who wish to compete with these sprawling mega-stores who seem to cater to everybody’s needs.

USA Today ran a great article about these mega-stores back in May.  Tip of the Hat to Ad-ology for pulling that one up for me.

Posted in Pitching, Prospecting | 2 Comments »