Filed under: Tip of the Day
From Advantages’ June 2011 issue feature titled “Work This, Work That“.
Ken Thoreson, president of Acumen Management Group, shares five tips for penetrating and earning sales in similar markets.
- Find out who’s affiliated with whom. “If you’ve had some success with hospitals, the thing you have to understand is that some doctors are associated with certain hospitals,” he says. “Obviously, work with doctors who have privilege at those hospitals.”
- Always ask for reference letters. “If you are in a market in which you’ve had some success and want to leverage that into a brand-new similar market, you have to have some justifiable reference letters from the successful market,” he says. “I would almost insist that part of the salesperson’s job is to request a reference letter from every person who purchased your product. It’s powerful evidence. There’s a saying in sales: Evidence defeats disbelief. If they don’t think a mug is a good tool, you can say, ‘That’s not what this credit union said.’”
- Understand what made your previous promotions successful. “What kind of impact did it have, and what benefits did the customer gain?” he says. “Once you understand those benefits, then you have to go to your new market and understand the business challenges they face, and see if those same concepts and benefits can be achieved.”
- Conduct surveys. “Do a formal survey three weeks after the promotion, and make it a part of the normal process,” he says. “You can gain quotes and statistics. What was the outcome of the promotion? Did it meet their business objective? Then, when you look at the new market, whatever the objectives are, you’ve got your selling tool.”
- Ask your current customers who they know. “I think it’s the salesman’s responsibility to follow up with a prospect and ask, ‘How did you like the promotion? Did it achieve what you wanted to achieve?’” he says. “If they say yes, the salesperson should say, ‘Great. Do you know anyone in related industries that I can call, and use you as a reference?’ That’s the easiest business a salesperson can get.”