The three laws of real estate are well known — location, location, location. I argue that the three laws of selling are locate, locate, locate.
Chances are you live in a market in which your share of the market is miniscule. I’m talking about you as a salesperson, not your branch or the larger company you work for. I’m talking to you. Even if you’re a big player chances are you’re only getting 10% of the market share, leaving 90% of the remaining slice of pie on the table.
This means the world of opportunity is huge. Therefore, rather than stress over the negative responses you get from many prospects, focus instead on the easy, low-hanging fruit available to you today and tomorrow. The key to success is simply to shake hands and locate the easy sales in your territory.
Success begins by clearly defining the target audience you seek. This means prospecting, which literally is defined as sifting for nuggets of gold. In sales, it means sifting to find the right opportunities in your market by defining the characteristics of your perfect customer.
Start with loyalty. If you contact prospects who inform you of the close relationships they have with existing suppliers, count that as a trait you desire. Become the first choice they make when they need a new supplier and you will enjoy future loyalty from them. Seek fair margins. Some buyers are constant shoppers who always are seeking the lowest price in the market. It is equally true that some buyers value the quality of service you can pro-vide by recognizing that the long-term cost of doing business is infinitely more important than the short-term price. Seek buyers who traditionally pay fair margins.
Seek fair margins. Some buyers are constant shoppers who always are seeking the lowest price in the market. It is equally true that some buyers value the quality of service you can pro-vide by recognizing that the long-term cost of doing business is infinitely more important than the short-term price. Seek buyers who traditionally pay fair margins.
Recognize when the nuisance factor is not worth the margins. Some contractors are simply too much hassle to deal with at the margins they are willing to pay. I’m not suggesting that you avoid high-maintenance accounts altogether. Instead, evaluate the cost of doing business relative to the margins and ensure that the nuisance factor of a problem account is justified by the profits.
Expect timely remittance. Strangely in our industry, we seem to tolerate payment terms that wouldn’t remotely be okay with a consumer. The best customers recognize that mutual benefit requires fair and timely payment of invoices. Proactively seek customers who manage their cashflow properly.
The right volume is relative. Young salespeople mistakenly swing for the fences by seeking that multi-million-dollar buyer who will make life easy. The problem is that large-volume accounts require a lot of work and, worse yet, present a danger to a salesperson when one account represents the majority book of business. Most veteran salespeople will tell you that a) it’s better to hunt a lot of deer and rabbit than elephants and b) their biggest accounts are those that started small and grew with the salesperson.
Seek buyers who buy the products you sell. As ridiculous as the previous sentence seems, it’s true that many salespeople are caught shopping for products they don’t sell. A buyer tosses the young salesperson a bone by telling them he needs some closet parts for a special shelving design in a walk-in closet adjacent to a chlorine pool. The salesperson swings at the curveball in the dirt (I know! Second baseball reference in one article…but it is baseball season), and chases a bad opportunity. Find buyers who buy the products you sell.
Sales success is easier when you have a clear vision of your target audience. Only then can you fill your customer list with the right buyers who offer long-term profitability.
Rick Davis is the Sales Education Leader for ABC Supply and the President of Building Leaders. You can buy his books or learn more about his online sales training platform at buildingleaders.com.