How Much Time Should You Spend Prospecting Sales?

How Much Time Should You Spend Prospecting Sales_

My first sales job was prospecting… exclusively. All day, every day I looked for new clients. Maybe this sounds miserable to some of you, but it gave me an advantage in the long run. Where most people have a lot of different jobs competing for their time, prospecting sales was my only focus. I came away with some great insights that a lot of people never learn.

Even though some people avoid prospecting in sales, it’s vital to sales success. So whether you’re wondering how many (or few) hours you need to spend prospecting sales leads or just need the motivation to re-engage in this part of the process, these tips will get you started.

Don’t Ask, Don’t Sell

If you don’t ask people to buy, they won’t just start calling you out of nowhere. If you’re not out there prospecting leads, you won’t make sales. There has to be an invitation — you have to ask. So designate specific times in your schedule to find new clients and invite them to use your product.

Prospecting Is Sacred

Guard the time you schedule to find new leads. Understand the gravity of prospecting. Prospecting time is sacred. It’s one of those things you HAVE to do if you’re going to get the sales you want. Make it non-negotiable. Tell yourself, “Unless the building is on fire, I’ll be doing prospecting activities.” Make calls, meet people, do whatever you can to meet new potential clients.

How often? Well, that requires a little math.

Work Your Numbers Backwards

How much money do you want to make this year? Use that figure to determine how much time you need to spend prospecting. Work backwards through your numbers, starting with your sales goal, to figure out exactly how much prospecting you’ll need to do.

Ask yourself:

  • How much do I need from sales each year?
  • How many clients (of what size) will that take?
  • How many proposals will it take to convert that many customers?
  • How many quotes to get that number of proposals?
  • How many contacts with decision-makers to make those appointments?
  • How many dials should I make to speak with those decision makers?

Now, just divide that number by days/weeks/months to see exactly how much prospecting you need to do.

Work Your System

Just like you systematically figure out how much time to spend prospecting, you need to have a system for dealing with your leads. Sales is all about working systems. Once you get in touch with a decision-maker, you need to have a process for how you communicate with them after that call.

What Kind of Buyer Is Your Prospect?

Based on your conversation, determine your action steps. What will the sales process be for this specific buyer?

Categorize your prospects into three groups: Activelatent, and not interested.

Make sure you have a sales process for each group. Then you just have to follow the plan you’ve already scheduled.

Active Buyer: These are the people who are ready to buy. You’ll usually follow up with them within 60 days.

Latent Buyer: These are the “tire kickers” of the world. Nurture them until they’re ready to buy. Most of your “interested” prospects fall into this category. Close your call by telling them you’ll call next quarter. Really, call them every 60 days and email them once a month until they become active.

Not Interested: These aren’t likely buyers. Maybe the prospect says, “My brother-in-law handles this. I don’t want to make Sunday dinner weird.” Just call these prospects once a year.

Related: A Sales Lead Management Process You Can Count On

Exactly How Many Hours You Should Prospect

So how much time should you spend prospecting? Just do the math. Now, you know how many dials you need to make in a month. How many can you make in one hour? If you can make ten calls per hour and you need 100 calls a month, you need to schedule 10 hours to prospect each month.

It’s all about activity. Don’t focus on results at the beginning and compulsively calculate your conversion rate. Work on getting in the habit. Once you have the activity levels, sales will follow.

Why Home Restoration Businesses Are Wasting Their Time Without Sales Lead Management Software

Why Home Restoration Businesses Are Wasting Their Time Without Sales Lead Management Software

Restoration companies need to be in the right place at the right time. When the flood comes, the fire consumes, or a pipe bursts, your company wants to be on speed dial.

But how do you get your restoration company on their short list? In home restoration, you depend on referrals. Sure, you go through regular advertising channels, but professional referrals make you stand out. To have a testimony to the professionalism and quality of your home restoration company is clutch to a homeowner or business in need.

So how do you create a strong referral program? You build intentional relationships with professionals.

It’s all about keeping in touch. You need a rhythm — a way to reach out to people regularly so you don’t fall into the rut of contacting the same agents repeatedly. Instead, you need to give your attention to as many professional contacts as possible to make sure it’s you they call when it’s time to rehab.

Consistency = Trust

A lead management tool makes this rhythm work. It helps you keep track of information so you see the right people at the right frequency.

How? First, it tells you who’s nearby. If you drive across town for one appointment, you’re not maximizing your time. You may or may not get a return. Instead, when you drive to meet a contact, you need to see 5-10 other people too, whether new prospects or people you already know. Sales lead management software that shows you who’s close makes this easy.

This tool helps you to see your professional contacts regularly. That consistency builds trust — and trust is essential to earn professional referrals. See, insurance agents are recommending you to their customers. This recommendation implies you’re an extension of both the carrier and the agent. If you don’t do a good job, that’s a direct reflection on the insurance agent and company. So, if you want to be the person they refer, you need to give them a reason to believe sending clients to you is an intelligent decision. The right tool keeps you on track — it only takes one slip to ruin that relationship. But, if you’re organized and consistent, you’re building the trust they need to feel comfortable recommending you.

Related: How to Get High-Quality Sales Referrals

Improving Your Compensation Structure

The best software for sales lead management also helps you better compensate your salespeople. See, salespeople in other industries are paid based on their sales productivity. They earn commission by getting dollars through the door. But, in restoration services, salespeople can’t exactly create their sales — they’re not starting fires or busting pipes. So instead of basing commissions on sales alone, they need a structure that incentivizes activity. Why? Activity leads to phone calls that ultimately lead to sales.

We’ve worked with numerous companies to restructure their commissions based on activity levels. Let’s say we start with a 2% commission on sales from one of your referral sources or commercial accounts. Then give your salespeople the opportunity to increase that commission percentage with activity levels. As salespeople hit the target number of appointments, lunches, phone calls, and meetings with professional references, they bump up their commission to the next level.

Related: How Much Should You Really Compensate Your Salespeople?

The goal is to keep your sales team out of research mode and in the field meeting people. It’s the face-to-face meetings that earn money — it’s walking through office doors, having lunch, and playing golf that builds the relationship.

Plus, there’s not much to research — if you need to know where the agents are, just open your CallProof app and it’ll tell you.

The Two Most Ignored Markets in Home Restoration

Most home restoration salespeople know to stay in touch with insurance agents, but there are two vertical markets they miss — and both are clients with lots of toilets.

Sounds like a joke, right? It’s not. If a property has lots of toilets, they’ll have a water problem at some point. So they need to be on your radar. Here are two specific markets this includes:

1. Property Managers of Multi-Family Properties

The more property someone owns, the more likely they are to need restoration services. Properties with multi-family units likely have a lot of toilets and water lines. So stay in contact with them. After you meet with them and initiate the relationship, tell them you’ll call once a quarter to check in. Really, call them every 60 days to make sure they’re doing okay. Then see them (face-to-face) twice a year.

If you cover a specific geographic area and you know an ice storm came through, send them an email, “Hey, I hope you’re okay. Not all of our clients are. Do you need anything?” Whether they need you or not, they’ll know you were alert and ready to help.

2. Businesses With Lots of Toilets

Businesses and other commercial entities are another missed market. Churches, libraries, factories, and school districts are prime contacts for restoration. They have assets they need to protect from fires, floods, and storm damage. Any business you assume has an on-staff maintenance person or any building over 40,000 square feet is a contact you want to have.

Let them know about the risks they have too. In the event of a sewer backup, is their maintenance staff blood-borne pathogen certified? Do they want to handle that? No, they want to outsource to eliminate risk. I guarantee, if the risk manager at their insurance agency found out that someone who isn’t blood-borne pathogen-certified was working on the sewer backup, there’d be issues. They don’t want to do that — it just puts them at risk.

When you meet with asset owners of these businesses, make them aware of the risks they face. Here’s just one (true) story of why letting the pros handle cleanup is best.

During a busy time of year, a restoration company hired a temp to help with janitorial work. The guy they hired had a history of heroin use and intravenous needles. He worked a few hours of a sewer cleanup (wearing full protective gear) before he quit and walked off the job.

Later, he sued them because he tested positive for hepatitis C… and he won. He had 20 years of needle usage in his history, but after working less than a day on a cleanup with blood-borne pathogens won the lawsuit. And they’ll win every time. That’s how dangerous some of these issues are.

The Real Value of Relationship

Having a relationship with your company is helpful to you — but it’s valuable to agents and owners too. Sometimes, they don’t understand that the best deals don’t come out of the phone book. If they start looking for a restoration company during a 2:00 a.m. emergency, they won’t get special treatment. In fact, they’ll likely get a hefty bill and a lot of stress. Help them understand this. A pre-existing relationship with your company protects their assets (and bank accounts) during unexpected crises.

Craft Beer Distribution: How to Get Your Beer into More Restaurants

Craft Beer Distribution- How to Get Your Beer into More Restaurants

A guy walks into a bar — not just any bar, a brewery. This place makes great beer — but no one knows about it yet. So the guy asks the owner, “Have you thought about getting your beer into more restaurants and bars?”

“Are you a distributor?”

“No, but I know a way you can do it yourself.”

“Well,” the owner replies, “I have an agreement with my distributor not to sell my product directly. Otherwise, they’re not going to bring my product to all of their customers.”

“Well, there’s a different way… and it doesn’t violate that agreement.”

What if you could get people to ask your distributor for your beer? You don’t have to distribute, and you’ll give your distributor more business. Now that’s how to sell beer.

How to Promote Your Beer Distributors

So how do you compete against the big distributors who have thousands of brands? It’s not as complicated as you may think.

In fact, you do the same thing everyone in the beer distribution business does — you walk into bars and restaurants and talk to the owners. You meet people. You put together events that promote your product. You hand out free beer mugs, tap handles, and swag. You say, “This is the best beer in the world. It’ll sell like crazy. Ask your distributor about it.”

But you add one extra piece of information at the end of your promo: the distributor’s name. Make it personal. Say, “Hey, Ralph is the guy that distributes beer to your store. You see him every other day. Ask him about it tomorrow.”

That one extra piece of info makes all the difference. See, if you just tell them the general, “Ask your distributor,” they won’t. You have to make it specific.

Related: Tell the Story, Make the Sale: Sales Conversation Starters to Improve Your Pitch

And you can even tell your distributor what you’re doing. You aren’t a prisoner to the distributor. Just say, “Hey, I know you distribute beer for my competitors too. That’s great — you’re the one there and they buy from one person so they don’t have a million invoices. I get it. I don’t want to run trucks; you don’t want to make beer. But I’m going to go increase your sales for you for nothing. I’m going to get them to order more beer from you and it’s going to help us both.”

Your goal is to influence the buying decisions.

How to Keep Track of the Distributors

But how do you get the information you need to be successful? Well, you could research and get organized before you see each new place… but you’ll miss out on about five stops you could have made during that time.

Instead, you need some sort of mechanism to keep track of all those distributors. You need a tool that tells you the name of the distributor, what’s important to them, and what’s selling in that area as soon as you walk through the door. An app like CallProof keeps that info at your fingertips.

How a CRM Keeps Your Craft Beer Distribution Contacts Organized

When you’re looking for a good CRM, you may think you want something that emails a report at the end of each day. You want it to include where you went today and where you plan to go tomorrow.

But here’s what you need:

You need a tool that gives people on the street a way to enter information about their stops so that you get quality information. Otherwise, it’s just garbage.

Just because a salesperson tells you they stopped somewhere, doesn’t mean they did. What are you going to do — call and ask, “Hey, was he really there?” Of course not. Managers don’t call, and salespeople don’t make all the stops they claim to make. They go out and see a few people in the morning and a few others in the afternoon. Then they tell you they went to 20 places, when they really went to the same five places that morning they visit every Tuesday because they’re buddies. It’s not the way it started. It’s not even what they want. But after 18 months selling beer to place after place, that’s the way it ends up.

See, they probably drove past four bars on their way to see one they visit every Tuesday. Why aren’t they stopping? Well, they don’t have the information they need to be successful. They think, “I’ve got to stop in a new place and interrupt someone’s day to have an uncomfortable conversation. Even if the conversation turns out good, I have to remember everything we talked about, take it back to my office, and try to enter it all into a program that doesn’t work right. This is a waste of everyone’s time. Instead, I could just go the bar I always visit and they’ll keep ordering beer.”

Related: Why Your Salespeople Hate Using Your CRM – And How to Change Their Minds

What’s driving your beer sales right now is not your sales team — it’s the distributors. But if your salespeople had a mechanism to hold them accountable and give them information about nearby restaurants so they can make each stop worthwhile, that could change.

If you’re making great beer, more people should know about it. With the right tools, your sales team can make that happen.

How to Sell Food Products to Grocery Stores Without Competing on Price

How to Sell Food Products to Grocery Stores Without Competing on Price

If you’re like most wholesale grocers, you work more with existing accounts than new customers. You built a client list early on, and now you focus on their orders and maintaining their accounts. Most of the time, they need the same products, depending on the season, and you essentially just take their orders.

You can do more.

And it doesn’t take much to see those sales increase. See, the same order keeps your sales the same. But if you can get your current clients to increase their orders, your sales jump too.

How do you do it? You keep your thumb on the pulse of the local market.

You’re already equipped. You’re already in the market. You just have to put your resources together.

How to Sell More to the Grocery Stores You Already Serve

Your current customers are your best prospects. So how can you get them to buy more? This isn’t about changing their marketing strategy in an effort to increase foot traffic. It’s about selling more food to the people who already come. You do that by keeping the top items in stock and adding items that sell in other places. If something is flying off the shelves at the store down the street, it’d fly off the shelves here too.

How do you know? Typically, you live near the stores you sell to. You’re in the same region, shopping for the same food as everyone else. So if, as a customer, you notice stores can’t keep Sunset Farm Foods Cracked Pepper Sausage stocked, let your stores know about it. They’ll order more, increasing their sales…and yours! It’s a win-win.

How Product Tracking Works With a CRM

If you’re a wholesale grocer living in your sales market as a consumer, you have this unique sales opportunity — but most don’t take advantage of it. If you want to be different and really maximize your position, you need a way to keep track of what’s selling in real time.

Maybe while you’re shopping you realize, “Whoa. That product sold out and people seem to like it!” You’re highly unlikely to drive back to the office and put that in the CRM so you can remember to tell the store rep next time you talk. Maybe you make a note on your phone or in a notebook, but that’s it.

What if you could make a note in your CRM as easily as you can in your phone’s notes app? That’s where a mobile CRM becomes a game changer. If you can log your product notes about what is selling, you’ll naturally start suggestively selling to your clients.

Related: The Value of Having ALL Sales CRM Data in One Place

You’ll move to a consultative approach in your sales rather than just taking repeat orders.

Principal-Led Sales

Only people with a vested interest in the success of the business — that’s either asset owners or people with the research at their fingertips — use the principal-led sales approach. You may not be the asset owner of your company, but with a mobile app like CallProof, you can have your resources with a couple of clicks.

If you make your notes about hot products as you shop in the various stores you sell to (or other stores nearby), you can pull up those notes geographically. The best CRM doesn’t just sort your clients alphabetically — it sorts them by location. Then, when you approach the grocery store rep for their next order, you’ll be able to quickly see notes about what they need to increase and what’s selling in stores close by. They’ll then have the knowledge they need to add products or increase quantities so they sell to their potential.

How to Keep Products on the Shelves

Once a product is on the shelf, you have to figure out how to keep it there. So follow these steps:

1. Suggest things based on what’s selling, not on what’s “predicted” to sell or what they always order.

If a product expires without selling, they won’t order it anymore. You have to keep your thumb on the pulse. Have conversations with people to know what’s moving. Then the products you suggest will be products that actually sell.

2. Take notes in your CRM.

As you have these conversations or notice certain items selling like hotcakes, make notes in your CRM so you can track it in real time. Take notes from each store you visit to see your aggregate experience. What sells best in your region?

3. Suggest products to department managers.

Based on your notes and conclusions, make your suggestions to the people who manage those departments. If you take the notes down right away in CallProof, you’ll be able to recall those notes instantly when you visit anywhere nearby.

4. Become the guru!

When you follow these steps, you become the all-knowing salesperson. Why? No one else does this! You’ve got the information — you see their competitor’s sales sheets and you have the conversations with managers from stores across the region. Use that knowledge to help everyone boost their sales!

So how do you sell more food products to grocery stores? Use a mechanism that tracks your notes geographically in real time from your mobile device combined with your insight and relationships. Grocery reps need someone on their side — someone to help them provide the products their customers are looking for. And you’re just the person to help them do it.

5 Steps to Build a Steady Home Health Marketing Pipeline

5 Steps to Build a Steady Home Health Marketing Pi

If you’re in home health marketing, you’ve got a unique set of challenges. You’re not marketing to people who will buy your service, but to the people you want to recommend it to. You’ve got a guy being discharged from the hospital who needs home health aftercare. Who gives him the referral? The hospital. And how do they decide who to refer? Well, they have two options:

  1. Choose at random from a list of companies
  2. Refer a person they’ve come to know and trust

You can be that person — but it takes intentionality and follow-through. With these five steps, you’ll build a steady pipeline and see your home health sales rise to a new level.

1. Identify Referrals

Who are you contacting regularly? As you’re planning how to market your home health care services, consider the different types of people you’re visiting. There are two types of referral sources: active and prospective.

Active referrals are the people you already know. They’re the companies who already send patients your way. Now, you just need to keep that relationship steady.

Prospective referrals are hospitals or doctors you’d like to win over. It’s time to start making face-to-face visits and building the relationships.

Who are your referrals now? Make a list. Do you need more active referrals or prospectives on your list?

2. Find a Rhythm

Now, think about how often you visit these contacts. Visits shouldn’t be random — they’re planned and intentional.

For your active referrals, set a routine period for seeing them — every 30, 45, or 60 days (depending on what works for you and feels right).

Then schedule time to get to know your prospective referrals. Fact: It takes 5 visits for hospitals and doctors to know who you are and what you do. Sure, they’ll know what you do and why you’re there sooner, but it takes five visits for them to understand that you’re interested in their referrals and willing to earn them by maintaining a relationship.

They have lots of people working to earn their referrals for different products and services — sales equipment, pharmaceuticals, medical supplies, and home health. But after five visits, it’ll click. Even if it takes you 10 months to see them five times, that’s okay, as long as your consistent.

3. Be Consistent

Make your visits consistent. Consistency builds trust — and hospitals and doctors want to feel comfortable recommending their patients to you. So, if you’re routinely coming by the office, following through on what you say, and generally proving yourself to be organized and reliable, you’re building their confidence in you.

4. Use the Waterfall Approach

Once you know what types of referrals you have and set a schedule for maintaining consistency, simplify your sales funnel. Keep your prospective client visits simple and in the same stage. Let’s say this month I meet five new prospective referral sources. Next month, I’ll visit those same five again (so I’m on the second visit). I keep this going until the fifth month when I “re-classify” them as active referrals. Then I’ll find five new prospectives to put through the five-visits rotation. This way, you’re building a healthy pipeline so your sales don’t drastically move up and down.

5. Use the Right Tools

You can do what’s traditionally been done in sales by generating a list of people to see. Then you can see those same people over and over again hoping it’ll pay off.

Or you could find some sort of mechanism to keep track of how many visits you have with each provider, see who the providers are, and identify new providers.

We like tools. Tools also help us see the true value of each referral. Salespeople sometimes mistakingly place the value in the kind of relationship they have with a provider, not how many people that hospital or practice can actually send them. In doing so, they miscalculate the return.

Maybe they think Joe, the single general practitioner, is their best customer. But he’s only one doctor in the practice. Really, Suzy might be the better customer because she has six people who send referrals. But, without the numbers, a salesperson may misidentify that value. The value of the relationship isn’t in how “cool you are” with that person — it’s what the potential is.

Remember, your current customers are your best prospects. So figure out their value and invest your time accordingly.

Bottom line: Keep in touch with your referrals regularly because your competitors aren’t doing the same. They’re only keeping in touch with the current active referral sources. They’re not seeing new people and they don’t have a rhythm. They’re working off spreadsheets and memory, or some CRM solution that’s data-entry heavy that they only use because it’s a job requirement. They’re not using it as a tool. They’re using it as “a thing I have to do to keep my job.”

CRMs should be built for salespeople to want to use. A CRM is helpful, not time-consuming. In fact, it should take less than two minutes to update and input so you can do it while you work — from anywhere. You shouldn’t have to go back to an office to enter data.

So use a CRM like CallProof that keeps you working your plan and doesn’t let your referrals fall through the cracks.

Related: A Complete Guide to Sales CRM Implementation

While your competitors are taking shots in the dark, you can methodically and consistently work your plan to a better pipeline and better sales.

Tell the Story, Make the Sale: Sales Conversation Starters to Improve Your Pitch

Tell the Story, Make the Sale

How much does a polar bear weigh?

Answer: Enough to break the ice.

Okay, maybe it’s the cheesiest pickup line ever, but it accomplishes an important task: it opens the door to conversation.

The best sales conversation starters do the same. They tell a short story to open conversation — a story about what problem you can solve for other people and how it might help your prospect, too.

Make Your Story About the Solution

Successful companies don’t exist because people needed something to do. They exist because they solved someone’s problem.

Think about a screw company. No one said, “I’d just really like to make screws!” Instead, someone likely heard, “We need a screw for this material, and no one makes it.” They thought, “I could do it!” And now they have more orders than they can fill.

When you meet new prospects, center your story on the problem you solve. Explain, “Here’s what I do and here’s how it helps you.” It’s less about I and more about you. The story stays focused on the customer’s needs — you just happen to be delivering the solution.

With Callproof, sometimes when we’re meeting new prospects we don’t even show them the demo. Once we tell them why we exist, they say, “This is exactly what we need.” I just agree and show them where to sign.

People also like to know why you decided to solve the problem in the first place. Think about any reality show from Shark Tank to American Ninja Warrior. How do they introduce each contestant? They tell the story of why they do what they do. Why did they invent this new gadget? What pushed them to train so hard? Then, if we identify with their story, we’re rooting them on to the end. The story does two things: it captures our attention and then gives us something to believe in.

Apply this to sales. If you want people on board, start with a story worth listening to.

How to Tell Your Story

How do you come up with such a great hook for your future customers? First, describe how your company started. When were you first introduced to the problem you now solve?

Then think about your first two customers. What was their biggest problem and how did you help? What did your solution do for their business?

Sounds simple, right? But there’s a catch — you need to know why your customers use you. If you don’t know, ask them.

Once you identify the why, you’ll be able to tell a story that helps prospects envision how you’ll change things for them too.

Related: Sell the Value of Your Product, Not the Price

Make the Sale

Then the story sells the product for you. You’ve built your pitch into the story when you tell them why people choose you. Don’t push a traditional sales pitch on them. You’ll never hear me spitting facts out about our 90% repeat customer rate, etc. Skip the statistics and stick with the story.

Then ask about them. What’s their story? They’ll tell you their story, the problem you solve will likely show up, and they’ll buy.

What About the Numbers?

When the conversation starts to get into the numbers and facts, be prepared. Either know the stats they want to know or set up a time for their technical people to connect with your technical people. Just keep the stats in perspective. The story will sell better than the fact sheet any day.

In case you’re still wondering about those polar bears, the females tip the scales at about 550 pounds and males at 990.

How Medical Equipment Salespeople Can Get the Most Out of Sales CRM Software

How Medical Equipment Salespeople Can Get the Most

Who doesn’t love a good lunch with friends? And if you can expense that lunch and have the potential for sales, that’s even better, right?

People who sell medical equipment know this first-hand – their success is based on a series of touches. Doctors don’t come in and say, “Oh yeah, I need a portable ultrasound machine!” (In fact, their ultrasound machine could be on fire and they likely still wouldn’t admit they need it!) Doctors only see vendors during “lunch-and-learn” types of meetings .

Why Medical Equipment Salespeople Need A CRM

As a medical equipment salesperson, you have to plan accordingly. You know you won’t get a sale on the first meeting. Instead, your approach is all about stopping in and building relationships so that you’re the first call when they’re ready to buy.

You do that by hosting lunch-and-learns, stopping by, and following up. And since medical practices are all grouped together, you do this for multiple prospects at a time.

But how do you keep track of it all? They didn’t hire you because you were awesome at data entry. They hired you because you’re awesome at relationships. So you need CRM sales software to keep track of it all rather than making data entry your full-time job.

What’s the Alternative to Using a Sales CRM?

Here’s what most salespeople are doing in an attempt to prospect without spending all day recording data. They stop by a new place, grab a business card on their way out, make some notes on the back, and try to remember to type it in somewhere when they get back to the office. Eventually, they build up some clients, and they only focus on the ones who are buying. Then they spend all their time on those 10 clients.

Later, the salesperson may get a new job. They just bring those 10 clients with them, until their new boss figures out they aren’t finding new clients. So they move to the next job with the same 10 clients.

It’s not pretty, but it’s reality. Too many medical sales reps have limited their sales because they’ve spent too much time on too few clients.

How to Calculate the Size of Your Medical Equipment Sales World

So how do you get out of the rut? It’s tempting to stop prospecting if you don’t have a system to keep you on track. Or you waste time meeting prospects because you forget to follow up.

But when you calculate your potential, you’ll see just how many sales opportunities you have. And if you add them to your rotation, your sales potential skyrockets. Here’s how to do it.

1. Figure out which practices could possibly buy from you.

In a perfect world, who would buy from you? How many practices are out there? How many gastroenterologists could use your product? Grab a phone book, google it, or find a medical directory and make your list. When you know your numbers and start to see your potential, prospecting gets new life.

2. Figure out how to methodically contact them.

There has to be a method to your system. Why? It keeps you consistent. When you consistently contact prospects, you build trust.

Compare that to an unorganized approach. First, doctors may not remember who you are if you never stop by. Plus, if you’re unpredictable when you’re selling to them, they’ll assume you’ll also be unpredictable on the delivery of the new beam transformer for their ultrasound machine.

They need to know they can count on you — which means you need to be reliable and consistent from the beginning. So plan your follow-up. When will you contact them again, and what does that look like?

Related: How to Prospect Smarter and Bring in More Sales Leads

If you’re not tracking this stuff methodically, you’re wasting your time. You have to build your world bigger than what you can remember in a day. You need to be able to quickly input contact info into CRM software for sales and marketing so you can do something worthwhile with it.

3. Inspect what you expect.

How many times have you visited Practice A vs. Practice Z? Why? Did you visit A more because they’re a higher-value prospect? Is it closer to your house? Is Practice Z out of the way?

You have to know the reason. Then you can be more intentional with the frequency and cost of each visit.

Most medical equipment salespeople see the same clients and prospects over and over again. You build your sales on lunch-and-learns. But with CallProof, you can maximize how much return you get from these lunches and make sure you visit more potential clients.

Let’s say you’ve got a lunch-and-learn budget of $20,000 for the year. And every time you host a lunch, you spend $75 at Moe’s. So, as long as you stay in budget for the year, you’re good. But are you maximizing those funds?

How often are you buying each client lunch? Are you concentrating that money on 10-20 of your best clients? Maybe you visit your favorite practice every Wednesday — they love Moe’s and you have fun hanging out with them. You know Sally at reception and have great conversations with Joe. But why are you going every week? Chances are, you could have a better return on your investment if you expanded your rotation.

What if you spent that same amount on 50 clients and prospects instead of 15? Your “regulars” won’t be mad. They have other people buying their lunch too. Plus, you’ll still maintain that relationship — you just won’t see them as often. Sales CRM software like CallProof helps you broaden your prospect base. Then it connects your meetings to follow-up activities and helps you track what to do with each client.

Lunch-and-learns are a great thing — you just have to spread them out! You want to spend your money on practices that will actually buy — not just places that are easy or close. You want practices that bring new business. So use a mechanism that calculates where your time and money is best spent.

It’s natural for us to make decisions about where we visit based on how much we enjoy it or how easy it is to stop by. But an app like CallProof helps you automate those decisions based on logic. You’ll be able to recognize where you’re getting the most return, who you need to contact more frequently, and where you can find new prospects. Then you’ll spend your time where it’s most valuable and the size of your world (and sales) will only get bigger!

Be Brief, Be Brilliant, Be Gone: A Lesson In Sales Cold Call Training

Sales_Cold_Call_Training

The busier the prospect, the better the prospect they are. I’ve spent most of my career owning business-to-business call centers and teaching people the tricks of the cold-calling trade. And we find this to be true across the board.

If you’re finding the right prospects, they won’t have much time to talk to you. It’s not that they hate cold calls — they just don’t have time to waste. So you need to be brief, be brilliant, and then be gone.

Know Your Purpose Before You Call

Before you call, identify your short-term goal. What’s your call to action? How can you get them to take the next step? Usually, the goal is to get a follow-up call or schedule a meeting. Whatever it is, make it easy.

Unless you’re just lucky, you won’t get a demo or make a sale on the first call. So, aim for a simple next step. This is the 3-part process I use to train salespeople for cold calls with busy prospects. Use it to give the client the information they need, get their attention, and then get out of their way.

A Simple 3-Step Process for Successful Cold Calls

1. Be Brief

People only care about what it is, why they need it, and how much it costs. That’s all they want to know, so don’t waste their time with extra info at this point. Tell them what you do, why it matters, and then schedule the next meeting.

Your call may sound like this:

“Hey, I have a way for outside salespeople to never have to do reports again. You won’t be chasing down leads and you will never have to wonder what happened to a dropped prospect.

We did this for a company with 1,000 sales reps. Now, none of their 70 sales managers have had to call their team for a report since. Plus, now they can figure out if new salespeople are going to work out within days instead of weeks.

Love to talk to you about it Thursday at 10. What does your calendar look like?”

2. Be Brilliant

You’ve also got to get their attention. How is your product relevant and personalized to their needs? We know that sales managers have trouble getting their team to submit reports. We know that people lose prospects and never know what happened to the deal. That’s what we help fix — so we use it as a hook.

Look at the difference. A traditional cold call might sound like this:

“Hi, my name is Clayton Geiser. I’m with CallProof, and we’re a company that helps salespeople implement a new type of CRM. If I could show you how this works, it’d change the way you do business. Our CRM capitalizes on the use of mobile devices to track and contact your clients. May I speak with the person responsible for making decisions regarding your CRM software?”

A brief and brilliant cold call might sound like this:

“Hey, I’m Clayton Geiser with CallProof. You can look us up – it’s worth a Google. We have a way to make sure that your salespeople turn in reports on time so you can do your job and build a business. Love to talk to you about that. I know I just called you, but what does your calendar look like next Thursday?”

See the difference? You’d hang up on the first guy, but you’d take a call like the second. Why? It’s novel and relevant — in other words, brilliant!

3. Be Gone

Once the prospect agrees, say, “Great! I’ll shoot you an email to confirm the time, and I’ll talk to you on Thursday. If you have a pen handy, I’m going to give you my number just so you have it.” Even if they don’t write it down, it makes the interaction more tangible.

Then get off the phone. Remember, these people are busy, so they don’t want to deal with someone who wastes their time. By ending the call this way, they know it’s over. Plus, they assume you’ll respect their time in the future.

Related: Cold-Calling Anxiety? These 6 Tips Will Help You Overcome Your Fear

People have been telling me that cold calling is dead since the 90’s. Sure, it’s been overused in the past, but it’s still a tool that has to be in your arsenal. Good cold calling works, plain and simple. You just need to implement these three powerful steps.

What Parking My Car Taught Me About Sales Success

What Parking My Car Taught Me About Sales Sucess

A few months ago, I was doing a three-part training for New York Life agents. In these types of training, you get to know each other during multiple sessions as you observe and interact.

Well, apparently one guy had noticed how I parked from the conference room window. So, as I walked into the third session, he asked, “Why do you always back into your parking spot?” Little did he know, he was tapping into a life philosophy.

It all started a few years ago with a Stephen Covey book.

The book was all about being proactive, keeping the end in mind, planning, and being more confident. When someone had asked me what I got out of it, I joked, “I could probably park better.” But it was true! Beginning with the end in mind affects everything — even how we park.

You park your car best when you consider how you need to leave. What’s the easiest way out? What safety concerns do you face? What are you skilled enough to do?

I’ve realized we can also follow this new way of thinking when it comes to our sales success. So, here are three ways to begin with the end in mind, whether you’re parking your car or making a sale.

1. Be Proactive

How do you want to drive away later? Forward or backward? Obviously, forward is easier, so I back into a spot. Most likely, when I leave later, other people will be leaving too. Do we all want to be backing out at the same chaotic time? No. Why not just back in when I’m the only one parking? When I do that, I’m proactive about how I want this situation to end.

2. Plan Ahead

One the main parts of driving is planning to be safe. I know I have horrible blind spots in my truck. So, if I can pull forward rather than back out when the lots are crowded, I’m less likely to hit anyone. Hence, I plan to be safe from the beginning.

3. Be Confident

I’ve been driving this truck for a few years. I’m good at backing the truck into a tight spot, so I lean into that ability with confidence and park accordingly.

From the Parking Lot to the Workplace

Just like I implemented these strategies in parking, CRMs help you naturally implement them at work. You have to be proactive, plan ahead, and be confident to sell. And CRMs like CallProof enable you to gain these skills.

First, they help you be proactive. You’ll always know who’s around you and what’s coming up. Then you can prioritize what you want to do and spend your time wisely.

CRMs that show you location data also help you plan. You’ll know where you’re going each day and will be able to plan what else you can accomplish while you’re there.

Related: Check out Field Sales 101 for more tips on your sales approach.

Then, once it starts working, you’ll gain confidence. You’ll know you’re not missing anything or forgetting anyone because everything is in one place. You’re not lugging around notebooks anymore. Instead, you’ve got a central hub you can access anywhere with everything you’ll need to know.

Applying these principles to parking may have started as a joke, but there’s no denying the relevance. So whether it’s sales or parking, begin with the end in mind.

Sales Funnel Management: Close More Deals by Eliminating the Noise

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If you’re looking to move your prospects from possibility to purchase, it’s time to reexamine your sales funnel management. At the top of this metaphorical funnel are any people who could potentially buy. Then, as they move closer to being a client, they move down the funnel.

But how does this funnel really help the sales process? It works toward two advantages.

1. Planning Your Sales Steps

Figuring out where people are in this process helps you manage your sales steps. So, if a person is a new prospect, you know what to do. If they’re a returning customer, they’re at a different part of the funnel, and you need to take a different action step.

Related: A Sales Lead Management Process You Can Count On

See, too often people wait for the customer or prospect to tell them to go to the next step. It works better if you figure out how to get them to the next step. Don’t just wait for it to happen — make it happen.

Look at your pipeline and ask yourself, “What’s the next action I need to do?” Keep your action simple. It shouldn’t be conducting extensive research and geological surveys. It can be as easy as setting a reminder to call them tomorrow. Use your pipeline to be proactive, not reactive.

2. Balancing Your Sales Steps

Funnel management in sales also keeps you balanced. Try to spend time with prospects in each part of your funnel: the top, middle, and bottom. You should be continually prospecting, quoting, and closing. If you focus on these areas in phases, your pipeline goes dry. The key is doing all of your essential activities regularly. Maybe you start with phone calls (the top of the funnel) and schedule a lot of appointments. Well, don’t stop making those prospecting calls when you start going to appointments.

Balance every stage of the process. That way, you keep your sales steady. Otherwise, you work a few prospects through your pipeline only to realize you have no one left at the top of your funnel. Once your current deals close, you’ll have to start at square one, and it’ll be a while before you make another sale.

More Tips for Managing Your Sales Pipeline

Keep Sales Stages Simple

The way you move people through the pipeline should be easy. Know your next steps for each level. How can you get them from the top to the middle? When you have go-to sales steps, the answer is easy.

Related: How to Close More Deals by Mapping Your Sales Process

Limit Active Prospects

You only need to focus on a few sales-ready leads at a time. Now, you might have 500 prospects, but who are the sales-ready leads you can work through the pipeline? You can’t manage 500 records and move them to their next steps. It takes too much time. Instead, you need to be able to look at your sales-ready leads daily to figure out their next step. Then figure out who will fill their spot after they buy.

I used to be a sales trainer. Our first step was to look at pipeline reports. And so often, I’d see 100 people on their forecasting reports. They were proud of it. High numbers looked great on their report, but it wasn’t actionable, much less realistic. During our training, I’d ask them to get their prospect list down to seven people. Sure, they had more options than that, but they needed a smaller number to make it manageable. So they’d choose seven deals of various sizes to focus on, and they’d start closing them. It was way easier to close two out of seven deals than it was to close two out of 100.

De-Clutter Your Funnel

Most of the time, the pipeline ends up in an Excel file. Salespeople have reporting responsibilities, so they keep this file that they tweak and submit every Friday afternoon. But after a while, they become numb to it. They’re used to looking at the same data — after you’ve seen “oddball” on there for so long, it just stays. It’s natural, but not so effective for keeping the pipeline fresh.

If you want your team to get their funnel down to seven (or however many works for your industry), let them pick which prospects they want. Then they need to literally only focus on those potential customers until they close the deal or go back to another status. Delete the others from your file for now. They’re not your focus.

Your pipeline isn’t about how many prospects you can cram into it. It’s about what’s real. If you want to close deals, you want to eliminate as much noise as possible. The only people you should deal with are the ones you’re actively pushing through your pipeline.