There’s a lot of noise at the moment about how hard it is to get to speak to potential new customers. People are less and less accessible, despite an ever increasing capacity to be contacted wherever and whenever.
As I write this I’m knee deep in tailoring module 2 of a customer’s training programme which is all about engaging with their customers and understanding what it is they’re really after. The reason this is particularly important for them is because:
- They’ve got lots of opportunities but know there’s lots more to be had – much of it from within their existing customers. Their MD estimated this at around £1m for just one of their sales people in a team of 11.
- They know they are currently losing opportunities often for reasons they’re unaware of until it’s too late.
- They could hit their aspirational sales growth targets by just harvesting the opportunities available with the people they’re already doing business with. Not only is so much easier but also likely to cost less than chasing new business.
In the training they’ve particularly asked me to focus on making contact with new people in existing customers. They already set themselves apart from the competition by giving excellent service and responding really quickly to their customers requests. The problem is that while they’re good at doing it with people they know they don’t always do it with the guy in the office next door – who’s likely to be working on similar projects.
One of the techniques I’ll be covering with them is how to share examples of successful projects they’ve done elsewhere that are highly relevant for the customer they want to contact. This is one of the best ways to stimulate interest and can be a real door opener. The single biggest problem people have when attempting to do this is not having a set of conversation openers that they believe in. The result? They don’t do it at all. The way to build their confidence is to give them real in business examples that work that they can use repeatedly to start the conversation.
How do you start conversations using stories of your success?
How many new customers have you got in the businesses you’re already working with?