Salespeople and Sales Leaders,
If you want to win more new business in 2022 than you did in 2021, there is one question that will reveal more sales truth than any other:
“How sound are your sales fundamentals when it comes to developing new business?”
Is this a sexy topic? Definitely not.
If I posted an article on Linkedin with the word fundamentals in the title, would it generate a lot of views, clicks, or comments? Nope.
But be honest with yourself as you ponder your answer because as simply as I can articulate it, salespeople don’t generate more new business because…
a) Many of them spend a pathetically low amount of time focused on developing new business, and
b) Most get distracted while searching for new techniques, tools, and quick fixes instead of shoring up their foundation by mastering the fundamentals
Use this brief list below as a quick assessment for yourself as we head into a new year. These are THE ESSENTIALS for executing a successful new business development sales attack. Do you have these fundamentals nailed?
#1: The Target List — You’d be amazed by the number of times I’ve discovered that a salesperson struggling to bring in new business didn’t even have a strategic list of target accounts (growable existing accounts and ideal profile prospects) they were committed to proactively pursuing. And for those that did have a list, it’s often immediately clear that not enough thinking went into WHO is on it.
Deciding who we will pursue for business is one of our very few chances in sales and sales leadership to be strategic…to decide which customers and/or prospects are most worthy of a seller’s time and effort.
Do you have a strategic, written or printed, finite, workable list of accounts that you are committed to pursuing? And is that list driving your calendar?
#2: Compelling Messaging — If you read my stuff you’ve heard this from me ad nauseam. Our “Sales Story” is our most critical weapon because It. Gets. Used. All. The. Time. When your story/messaging is great, everything changes and everything about sales becomes easier – plus, salespeople are way more confident to prospect for new business.
How compelling is the “story” you are deploying when prospecting, during discovery meetings, and when doing presentations, proposals and follow-up? Does it get a prospect’s attention, position you and your solution as desired, and justify your premium pricing?
#3: Prospecting (Getting In!) — Securing initial meetings is the key to creating new sales opportunities, filling the funnel, maintaining a healthy pipeline and ensuring we hit our sales numbers. For many sellers, prospecting is the last thing they want to do and that is why so many live with consistently weak pipelines.
How effectively are you securing first (early stage) meetings with prospective clients? Are you using the good old fashioned telephone, which is still the most laser-precise and effective sales tool for delivering our story and securing a meeting? Or, are you possibly living as a prisoner of hope that either a high volume of email and LinkedIn messages, or inbound marketing, or your SDR team, or luck, will put opportunities into the top of your funnel?
#4: Conducting Effective Discovery (Early Stage) Sales Calls — The ability to conduct an effective sales call is table stakes for succeeding in sales. That’s the primary job of a salesperson…conducting a sales call. Yet, as I observe both veteran and newer sellers across a wide variety of industries and roles, I am now convinced that structuring and conducting these critical meetings (whether they be virtual or in-person) has become a lost art.
How well are you planning these early stage meetings? How effectively do you share your agenda (plan), and take control while also getting the customer’s input and buy-in? Are you positioning yourself with powerful statements, probing effectively to learn what’s necessary, and presenting with relevance and power? Or are you doing the all-too-common “show up & throw up / spray & pray” thing (presenting or demo-ing prematurely)? Are you sure you are coming across as a sales pro who listens more than you speak, and that you effectively and confidently flesh out objections and define and secure next steps?
#5: Calendar/Pipeline Management and Personal Accountability — The harsh #SalesTruth is that regardless of how strategic your target list, how compelling your messaging, and how skilled you may be at securing and conducting meetings, it is all academic if you don’t get into action!
This may sound stupidly obvious, but the #1 reason sellers don’t develop more new business is because they don’t spend/commit/block enough time to developing new business. Rocket science, I know.
What percentage of your work weeks are dedicated to proactively pursuing strategic targets and CREATING new opportunities? Is more time spent playing territory/account caretaker babysitting existing favorite customers than blocked for developing new business? Are you holding yourself accountable for pipeline health and regularly asking yourself “what new opportunities have I added to the pipeline this past week/month?”
Sales Friend, believe me, I know that list above is rudimentary. And I know it is more “fun” to talk high-level sales theory and about advanced techniques for conquering committees and complex customer buying processes. BUT I can tell you with 100% certainty after doing this for 15 years, that the salespeople who consistently CREATE, ADVANCE & CLOSE more opportunities and who WIN MORE NEW SALES are the ones who have nailed the fundamentals – and specifically the five topics outlined above.
And it is not coincidence that these are the exact topics I cover in the New Sales. Simplified. Video Coaching Series.
I designed this video coaching series specifically to take your new business development sales game to an entirely new level. This 9-module series is my very best work…the same topics, tools, techniques, and takeaways that I cover in a two-day New Sales. Simplified. workshop, but better because it is designed to feel like personal 1:1 coaching – as if you and I were sitting across the table talking sales with each other.
Now is the ONLY time all year it is available for nearly half of the typical cost—so check it out here if you’re looking to have breakthrough results in 2022.
To great selling and huge success,
P.S. If you’re a sales leader interested in getting access for your team, contact us. My team will get back to you quickly about special programs and pricing for groups.