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Sales Eye - The Goose That Lays the Golden Eggs (Nov 15th, 2004)

2013-07-10
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The Goose That Lays the Golden Eggs

15th November 2004

 

The lifeblood of the sales professional is new client acquisition.

 

Anyone who believes they can just relax by servicing their existing client base probably won't last very long in this profession. Because your clients sometimes go bankrupt, close offices, cut expenses, change strategies or stop growing, a sales strategy lacking a very pro-active approach to bringing new clients on board will almost always fail. Here are some thoughts on how you should approach new client development in your business:

 

Segment the market

To win more business, you should start by clearly defining who uses your company's products or services right now. Review sales results by client and review the client database; sort them by industry and turnover and identify which market segments are the most popular.

 

By looking at the whole picture, you will be able to identify trends and gaps within your current client list. So, you service five of the top 10 real estate companies-that's great! But what about the others? Do you see a growing trend among automotive companies? Hey, car sales are up!

 

Are there other industries that your business would traditionally service? In the U.S., for example, many companies like ours would service the retail sector and the school market. Those areas were not very popular five years ago in Poland, but maybe they require another look today.

 

Create an industry hit list
After you have segmented the market, you need to formulate a plan of exactly which firms you will target. We call this "the playbook." First, identify as many players as you can in each segment. You can use The WBJ Book of Lists, Rzeczpospolita, the Statistics Office (GUS), or any other number of business publications to do this. However, the playbook is not just a client wish list, it requires much more strategic thinking.

 

Once you have your playbook ready, you need to prioritize the segments as well as the companies in each segment. We would advise not putting all your eggs in one basket-mix it up. Go after a few real estate companies, a few pharmaceuticals and a few hotels. Once you see which segment is working the best, then you can hone in and harvest it more fully.

 

Smart networking

Back in the stone ages of the mid '90s, we almost exclusively targeted the member companies of the AmCham. Because of our approach and quality offer, we were able to win a substantial number of new clients through this network. One of our legendary sales reps, Piotr, saw our early success with this approach, and took it upon himself to start attending the German Chamber of Commerce meetings. He had similar success. Once you've identified which segments are most important to your business, try and see if there aren't any industry events such as business mixers or trade shows that would result in a bonanza of new contacts.

 

Execute

We wrote an entire article on this recently called The Art of Execution (WBJ, Oct. 4-10). Getting better results really does come down to better execution. In some cases, you may have more success by staying highly focused and narrowing your targets. With segmenting the market and focusing on a few high value areas, you should be able to increase your sales and become a leader in your market.

 

When it comes down to the actual sales meetings with your new prospects, for each industry you target, you may need to tailor your message. You can't have the same approach or send the same message to the pharmaceutical sector as you do the hotel sector. They each have different needs and different hot buttons.

 

Whatever it is you are selling, start thinking about how to increase your acquisition of new clients. Succeed at this, and you will have found the goose that lays the golden eggs.

 

 

From Warsaw Business Journal by John Lynch, Matt Lynch -"The Sales Brothers"