LinkedIn is a powerful sales resource, a wealth of information at your fingertips. Gone are the days of the yellow pages; making cold calls a thing of the past. Still relatively underutilized in our industry, mastering some basic skills today will foster consistent opportunities for the future.
Showcase Your Brand
First of all ensure your page, business page and employees’ page is 100% complete and up to date with a professional profile image, a creative/ feature background and relevant, well-written information. This makes you business-ready for any opportunity that may present itself. LinkedIn is a platform where you present your brand, showcasing the best of what you do and why people should choose to work with you.
Search And Gather
Secondly, search and research. When planning your weekly sales targets, the best strategy is to type your prospect business into the search field. This can assist you to gather names and positions of the person you need to target.
Follow the companies you would like to work with. Businesses are becoming more open to the use of LinkedIn, posting for quotes on events, theming, catering, audio visual supply etc. By following and being active on their company page, you will not only have access to these posts, but have knowledge of the businesses past experiences and brand position on events. Following company pages and connecting to specific targets, will create opportunity.
Lastly, daily interaction with your connections is vital. Like, share, comment and continue to connect. Join groups to give you a larger network to communicate with. This sales process keeps your profile visible to your potential prospect. Be credible though. Only like, comment or share on points of value, you have knowledge of and, most importantly, have read properly.
LinkedIn means you are truly that; connected to business that could use your product or service and know just how to find you. Seek out the best connections, let them know who you are, what you can do, how you can assist, and be there, ready for them when they approach.
Using this tool means there is no reason to make a cold call again. From now on only perform researched, planned and qualified sales calls to reduce your workload and increase your conversion rate.
By joining our Sales Skills to Convert training day on Wednesday 26th July, you will be taught the language to use when making a sales call, how to qualify your targets and how to increase your conversion rates.
We very much know it’s easier to keep existing clients than to create new ones. Account management is a sales process. Building relationships with your clients develops them into return customers. If there is one key point you take away from this article, verbalise to your client their value. Ensure they know you appreciate and value their business and opportunities. In addition to the appreciation conversation, here are four examples of thoughtful account management, setting you up for repeat business opportunities.
Personalise a card after your last site visit, sales appointment, conference or event and send it the old fashion way via the post. This is just a simple gesture with no strings attached. It demonstrates genuine thought and appreciation for their time and business.
Think outside the box of gift giving at Christmas and end of year celebrations. What about a new year, new us, new business gift? Good luck for the start of the event season if you’re an industry supplier. Send a survival package to your client one week prior to an event date or personally deliver a bottle of French Champagne to your bride. Be bold. Stand out.
Chill some wine, prepare a cheese plate. Make a signature cocktail. Invite your client into the showroom or office for some drinks and nibbles, or meet them in the city, close to their work and invite them and a friend to join you and others for a casual after work drink.
EDMs or newsletters, still hold their purpose, but why not create an EDM just for your new business clients or just your account clients, that becomes an interest piece? You might be a venue with an amazing city view, send your clients an image of your view at 7.30 am on a Monday morning, to put a smile on their face. Create a monthly competition, hide a product in an image, whoever guesses first, send them a voucher, a bottle of wine, something that shows you have more interest than just their event.
All of these activities show the client you’re more than just the event. You’re about the longevity of the business relationship.
Perfecting a strategic sales process is crucial to your long-term business growth. Well timed and thought-out practices are vital to closing the sale. Asking the right questions from the very beginning will position your business positively.
From the initial enquiry, be clear and thoughtful and you will be laying the ground work for not only the current sale but also for future opportunities. Be sure you are asking the right questions, ascertain exactly what the potential customer wants.
It’s all in the details. If you do not have an enquiry form to complete when you engage with your client, YOU NEED ONE. Conversion Management can help. Contact our office today. We will send you the ideal enquiry sheet. Completing this form for all enquiries, guides you through the required information including referral, budgets, history, venue, location and markets.
Once you have entered the data correctly into your CRM system, add an activity, a trace or a calendar reminder to call two days after. Why? To ensure your potential client received the quote in the first place. What if your initial proposal is lost in cyber space? A follow up call can set you aside from your competitors as well as create a significant memory in the mind of your client. Use this call to solidify your want for their business. Ask your client, ‘when can I call again to see the progress on your decision?’
Be Bold. Stand Out
What is your ultimate dollar amount that your business is excited about? Is it a $2k function or $10k job or a $120k conference with accommodation? As a team, define this number, it is your conversion number. If you have an enquiry that has this value, stand out from your competitors and be bold. Personally deliver the quote after you have emailed. Drop in to your client’s reception with your signature gift and beautifully presented quotation. Do not interrupt their day, simply drop and return to the office. This really shows your intentions and offers a personalised approach, which is the service their guests can expect for their future event.
If you are unsure of your sales process or have no clear processes, speak to our team at Conversion Management. Simple changes can offer opportunities.
Growing your business becomes an exciting opportunity. It is at this time, as a business Manager or Director, you will look to employ a sales team to develop and increase revenue. Achieving the right fit for your business should bring further opportunities to expand.
BDMs are experienced in selling not coordinating. Structure their work and job description to allow for this. Include set budgets, strategies and plans so they can do what they do best: generate revenue.
A good BDM will thrive on meeting budget and should be driven to exceed KPIs and targets. Ideally, you don’t want to see them in the office that often, you need them out, building business opportunities, executing your sales strategy, targeting specific markets, planning interstate trips and budgeting for sales conferences.
A good BDM will bring with them a wealth of contacts and established business relationships. If you're employing an inexperienced BDM, wanting to prove their sales capabilities, ask them how they intend to find new business? What streams or resources will they use to generate revenue? Responding with LinkedIn, industry websites, competitor pages, would be a strong and appropriate response.
Your investment in paying well and creating a supportive environment should be deemed by their sales, proactive calls, conversion rates while meeting financial and non-financial KPIs
If you give your team the resources and tools, the right team member will excel and make your business more money.
We may have some bias when it comes to this topic. Offering support to your sales team is a crucial element to the success of meeting your businesses annual budget.
You'll make more revenue! That's the short answer. You can have the most sales savvy business development team you've ever had, but at some point, they will need to refresh their ways, along with technology, sales teams need to grow and evolve.
You could have the complete opposite, everyone loves account management and event coordinating; they're the bi products of a good sales team; but what happens if you have these coordinators trying to convert business? Nothing or a very reactive sales department? At some point the phones will stop ringing or your competitors will grow their proactive sales team and your piece of the pie will decrease. Then what will you do?
Sales training is an essential investment for maintaining and growing business. Yes, it costs not only the training fee, but the on costs of the staff member out of the office; but the reality is, if your sales team member converts one piece of business worth $5k or $50k from the $300.00 sales training investment; there's your ROI. Why do we know this - because it happens, a $50k event, just from one new process learned during a training day.
What is sales training?
Sales training is revisiting your processes, reminding you of your internal clients and external opportunities. It's finding new avenues and resources to find new business. Sales activities are changing, competitors are advancing, business is harder to find and becoming even harder to convert. You need the right processes, the right language, the right people to make the wheel turn. Your team needs to be accountable, they need to be prepared and persistent.
Give your team the resources. Give them the tools to be successful and accountable for their targets. Meet your 2017 - 2018 budget, invest in your team, your business success is worth it.
Connections and business relationships offer a unique opportunity to aid the development and growth of your meetings, events and hospitality business.
Your sales team rely on connections to generate and develop business opportunities. As a business you need to maintain networking opportunities and connections for many reasons; creating new business opportunities, meeting KPI's, retaining business and developing brand awareness etc.
It's time to look at connecting to opportunities in a different way. Why not change the approach, instead of scattered; speaking to many, focus on the connection who will have the highest probability to convert. Target the client who is worth targeting. Establish the right connections from the get go.
Ask yourself, who is your ideal client? What traits or attributes does their business hold? It could be as simple as; 500 plus employees, an internal events management team or an annual calendar of events. Think about your selection criteria, create connections based on your ideal client. Focus on those businesses that meet your client criteria. Target the client that has the highest probability of converting.
Strategically targeting a connection, offers value to you, your business and most importantly the client.
KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) are a necessary to ensure your sales and marketing strategy and annual budgets are met. KPI's should not be considered as a system for meeting monthly and annual targets, KPIs should also be a way to performance manage your team. Each KPI should be targeted, strategic and measurable.
It’s important to keep a balance with your KPIs. Too few and you’ll miss the potential to maximise your business impact within the industry, too many and you’ll run the risk of complicating your staffs’ sales objectives. Be clear and concise, always keeping your business strategy in mind when setting KPIs and know what to set forward to get the best results from your staff. You also need to be aware of balancing the types of KPIs you set for all-rounded results. Just focusing on financial targets alone can leave your business under represented within the industry, giving your competitors the advantage.
Focusing all of your staffs’ energy on financial KPIs can be a common trap that some companies fall into. It is vital to encompass your businesses’ core values into your KPIs, always keeping best-practice clear and present in your staffs’ actions. Your company’s KPIs can be rounded out with objectives that address behaviour, activity and good business practices. An excellent example of this is the expectation of networking events, two per month is a reasonable industry standard and this will build a strong industry presence and set your business and staff up for future sales.
A true sales person is driven by financial targets. Always set individual budget goals, which as a team total the annual sales budget. The fact that every member of your team is responsible for meeting the business’ sales budget will create a sales force that is focused and fosters a goal-orientated team.
Retaining business you have is one of the simplest and most-often overlooked component of sales. Maintaining what you have is about working smarter not harder. An average retention KPI would be reasonable to maintain from 60-80%, dependant on your business.
For tailored advice on setting your sales team KPIs, contact the team at Conversion Management, who will work with you on developing targeted, strategic and performance-measured objectives.
To produce a sales budget, you need to have an understanding of the existing and trending market. It is no longer acceptable to simply add 10% on last year's sales revenue.
Review last year's growth and failings but also remember to review and update the cyclical calendar. Annual and biannual events should be broken down and include, Parliamentary sitting weeks (state and federal), school holidays, public holidays, Easter and Christmas Day etc. These all contribute to the success of meeting budget. Historically, with the arrival of Easter the meetings and events industry halters. However, in recent times, May, July and August have shown significant growth in the conferencing and meetings market. If you haven’t noticed this trend, you need to reevaluate your sales strategies.
A sales budget is the foundation that sets the goal for the year. Management rely on the team to meet budget not only for financial reasons, but growth, development, expansion and further business opportunities. Tracking your budget will allow you to make informed decisions; protect your business in projected loss periods and assist you to maximise profits and spend smartly in periods of growth.
“Planning is bringing the future into the present so that you can do something about it now” Alan Lakein
As a business owner, business development manager or a sales manager you should be preparing and reviewing sales budgets year on year. This practice will assist you to maintain growth, develop a sales strategy and protect and prepare from loss or quiet periods. As your business grows you can look at employing more staff, purchasing new equipment or expanding your portfolio. Having a sales budget advises you when to (and when not to) spend.
This type of planning sets the foundation for strong, informed decisions. Look at the sales budgets as the steel frame in which to house your assets, build successfully upon and protect you from bad weather.
Search, translate and utilise the information you have through your own systems that are available for your review.
Apply and foster self-education for you and your staff to be able to reach the goals your business requires while encouraging goal-setting and achieving behaviour.
Always strive for increased growth year on year. Make your budget aggressive, but achievable.
Not everyone enjoys performing phone sales campaigns or proactive sales calls. It can be a daunting exercise for those who are not confident in sales. However, for small to medium events businesses, it is a critical reality that sales calls need to be performed each week. Here are our top five ways to prepare for a sales call so that you can be cool, calm and confident in your approach.
Research the company
You need to know everything about the business, their brand and their events schedule before you pick up the phone. Know what their business does and understand their brand values by researching their website and social media channels. If possible, find out what style of events they have held in the past and which suppliers they regularly use. Ask yourself if your brand is aligned with theirs – this can be a good ‘foot in the door’ approach when you go to call them.
Research the client
In the digital age, finding the right person to speak to about events is pretty straight forward. Gone are the days where you have to make multiple calls to find out who the event organiser in an organisation is. Websites and social media platforms such as Linked In can provide you with the information you need such as the event organisers name and contact details, how long have they been in the role and where they were previously. Finding out if there are any common interests i.e. charities / networking groups you share will be a good ice breaker when you perform your sales call. Boost your confidence by knowing as much as you possibly can about your prospect.
Set your objectives
Before you make a sales call, know the reason for your call. It could be as direct as arranging a site inspection of your new venue or to invite the client to your upcoming showcase or famil.
Develop a script
Have some clear sentences written down, focusing on your objective. If the objective is to arrange a site inspection of your venue, develop the script to focus on your product features for example; 'our new event venue has both indoor and outdoor space. The indoor area is ideal for large meetings and the outdoor space provides the perfect break out space for your guests to get some fresh air and refresh during breaks’.
Timing can play a huge part in how receptive your client is when you make the call. Plan your phone sales for first thing in the morning, before your prospective client has too many distractions. Generally speaking, Monday mornings and Friday afternoons can represent times that client won’t be as receptive to your sales call.
In summary, speaking to a qualified client with a key objective and a well thought out script at the right time, should lead to a high level of conversion. Sales calls are all about planning and research so make sure you allocate time each week to prepare before you hit the phones!
If you or your team need to develop and better their sales skills, our upcoming training programs in Sydney and Melbourne is your answer.
It's what every business wants, it's what every business needs - new business. Sales budgets increase year on year, making pro active or sales calls a necessary part of our every day business. Here are four tips to find new business.
Print off your historical lost business data from two or more years ago. Look at these names, businesses, event types for new opportunities. Make sure you plan your sales call though, ensure you have read all previous account history of this particular client. If you know why they didn't confirm with you in the first place, make sure you have the solution at the ready.
Review your local bureau and convention centres websites on a monthly basis. You will often find a list of events months in advance. Each event then generally has a link to the exhibitors website, creating an opportunity to contact the prospect for an offsite dinner, furniture equipment or styling etc.
If you are in the position where you have a high retention rate of business, use this to your advantage. Speak to your clients, ask for any further opportunities including the office Christmas party or annual AGM. For example, if you're a supplier in the industry and the client has asked for table centrepieces for their AGM dinner, ask where the AGM is being held, do they need flowers or gifts for the speakers, can you provide this or share a lead with a fellow industry colleague.
With the annual AIME event coming up on the 21 - 22 February, it's the perfect time to make connections and pound the event floor for opportunities. Visit your local area, make contact with new names, new businesses. See old faces and create new opportunities. Be the solution to their next event.
Remember, to convert you need to follow up and be top of mind for every opportunity the potential client has.
If your team is having difficulties finding new business, try to identify if it is their skills or systems that's preventing them to achieve? If it's skills, join our training Sales Skills to Convert on Monday 6th March. If it's systems and you're wanting to find new ideas for business leads, join us on Wednesday 10th May for How to Find New Business.
Nicole Bates, Managing Director, shares sales strategies and solutions for your hospitality business.
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