Friday, November 13, 2009

Don't Look Now, but the Basics Still Apply

On occasion, I'll start a Chief Executive Boards International meeting with a challenge like, "Name one sales strategy that's working well for you (or better than expected)." Sometimes I get "big" strategies like web presence or trade shows. And other times I get surprisingly simple, low-cost, high-yield strategies I never expected.

In response to that question, a member recently said, "Cold Calls are Working." Wow, a selling strategy thousands of years old still works! Then we asked him what he meant by that.

He's an industrial material supplier, and of course his business declined with the general downturn in manufacturing output. Yet he realized that customers have to be buying some of his product from someone just to keep their plants running. So, he drafted one person from the office and one operator off the floor who he thought might be pretty good on the phone, and put them to work calling existing customers.

Simple idea -- the product isn't complex, and both knew something about how customers used it, so they quickly developed a "trial script" and then adjusted as they made a few calls and saw how it worked.

And, what do you know, sure enough, some of those customers needed some additional product and placed orders on the spot! Even if they didn't, this type of call counts as a "touch" to keep your company's name at the front of a customer's mind. See: "Front of Mind -- Maintaining Visibility with Prospects & Customers."

This member's experience points out the importance of using all the tools in your sales & marketing toolbox -- keeping them sharp, and applying them regularly. You never know which one is going to work on any particular prospect at any particular time.

If you have sales strategies that have worked well for you in this recession, please click "Comments" below and share them with others.

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Terry Weaver

Chief Executive Boards International

Chief Executive Boards International: Freedom for business owners & CEOs -- Less Work, More Money, More Freedom to enjoy it

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