The end of the year is not typically when you do your best work. During “the most wonderful time of the year,” most people become a little more distracted and a little less motivated. You may have a few deals on the line you need to close, but business is slow. Do you let it ride hoping for new vigor at the start of a new year or change your strategy?
The best sales managers take advantage of this extra time. A ‘They Said No’ audit may be your team’s solution to finishing the sales year strong.
Why Should You Audit?
A “They Said No” audit reviews everyone who said no throughout the year and allows you to reach out to them one more time. The worst that could happen is that they say no again.
Too often, we assume when they a prospect said no to you, they said yes to a competitor. In reality, something else usually happened. You could have talked with them during their busy season, so they didn’t have time to follow through. Or maybe they thought they could get a lower quote but never did.
If your product solves an issue that comes and goes, they could still be living with the problem. Sometimes they experience an issue only around one time of the year. If that time has passed, they could have just forgotten about it. In any of these situations, an end-of-the-year contact could mean a sale.
For example, let’s say you’re selling for a restoration company. In your area, tornados come about three times a year. If you call the property owners you know now, remind them to be prepared for the storms. Maybe there’s work they need to do preemptively before the weather worsens. Or perhaps they felt all bids were too high last year and never had the work done. In either case, they are still a viable prospect for you.
One of your most important sales manager responsibilities is to provide your sales team with a list of potential clients. One of their hardest tasks is then narrowing that list down to people who want to hear a proposal. With a “They Said No” audit, you’ve regenerated your list of possibilities. Plus, you already have their contact information.
As you contact potential clients, you’ll often find one of two scenarios: your prospect has moved to a new company or the business is in a different place. Both of these scenarios mean more opportunities, though. A new contact means new opportunity for business, and if they’re in a new location they need a different, maybe even bigger, proposal, to meet their needs.
The Action Plan for Your Audit
1. Create a Master List
Before you contact everyone who turned you down, create a prospect inventory as a team. Have every salesperson write down who said no, what their objections were, and when they were last contacted. Make it available to your whole team. The best sales managers will then examine this data to troubleshoot some of the barriers to the sale.
2. Make the Calls
Once you have your list, the sales team should surprise those contacts with a call. Your talk track may sound something like this: “We have new plans available now that we didn’t have when we last talked. Have your made a decision on anything? Are you happy with what you chose? What would it take to get your business?” Don’t be afraid to be direct.
3. Tell A Story
As you talk on the phone, use storytelling to your advantage. Stories build your rapport and help you connect with your client. How has your product recently made a difference for a similar company? Share that story. A good conversation after months of no contact may be a game changer.
4. Start an Email Sequence
Have a follow-up email ready to go after you make the call. By waiting until after a conversation, you’ve made your offer harder to ignore. An email alone may be swept under the rug, but when coupled with a call, you become a stronger presence to your prospect.
Don’t be content with checking off your sales manager responsibilities for the year! Rather than coast until New Year’s, finish this year strong. Use a “They Said No” audit to lead your team in a sales month that’s worthwhile.