When was the last time you received a call from a supplier when nothing was wrong?
Conversely: When was the last time you called a customer to show that you care about them?
I was recently in a B2B sales workshop with Alex Goldfayn about his latest book “5-Minute Selling”. The workshop was organized by John Cosgrove and Rick Johnson with AZ Growth Advisors. Alex defines a simple system that can increase sales +10% to +20%. Here are my 5 key takeaways:
- The more you communicate with customers, the more you sell. The less you communicate, the less you sell. And yet: Most of our customers – the quiet and happy ones – don’t hear from us much. We spend more time on the phone with the small number of “squeaky wheels” than with the majority of our customers. This costs us sales.
- Proactively call customers and prospects for 5 minutes every single day, and leverage these phone calls to show that you care and ask how you can help. Due to the pandemic customers feel isolated and are more available than ever – they are often happy to connect.
- We now have more in common than we ever had. You can talk about your client’s family, their experience with home schooling, their health, the last time you flew, their canceled vacation. The key is to show that you care about your customers.
- In these phone calls respectfully ask direct questions, like: “What products/services do you need that I can help you with? I would like to help you more.” Or “Did you know that we offer products X, Y, and Z?”, and give the customer time to think on the phone. Alex describes 16 proactive communication actions in his book and lays out a short script for each of them.
- Don’t email: call. The telephone is your friend. It is much more personal. Emails get little attention – and all your competitors send plenty of emails already. You want to stand out.
- The secret is: Make 1 or 2 proactive phone calls every single day – this takes about 5 minutes on average. To hold yourself accountable:
- Every Monday morning make a list of the 5 to 10 people you will call during the week. On your list select customers you haven’t heard of for a few months, customers who just received an order, as well as prospects you should follow up with. Put names of people who will recognize you.
- Track the number of proactive calls you made at the end of every day. Success will come if you do the right things enough times; focus on making your 1 or 2 proactive phone calls every single day.
- Like most new habits we learn, the first weeks are difficult. Do this for 15 weekdays in a row, then evaluate. Start today.
The first call is the most important one, because it demonstrates to you the value of this system and gives you energy for your next call. Alex made all participants make their first proactive phone calls during the workshop. Here is what the CEO of a mid-market company told me at the end of the workshop: “I was hesitant to make my first call, but this was a positive experience: I sincerely wanted to help the person I was calling, and I didn’t feel like I was intruding in my customer’s life. In fact my customer was grateful for the call, which made me feel good. And now they know that we sell these other products that they buy from a competitor – we will follow up with them.”
I work with growth-minded CEOs who are frustrated by the way their business is growing. Often they spend their days fighting fires – typically a sign that their company has outgrown their management approach. In short: they feel stuck. I know the feeling: I have been in their shoes when I was running a business that we turned around from sales decline to double-digit business growth.
As a business coach my passion is to help leadership teams define their actionable business growth strategy, create a culture of accountability and effective strategy execution, and become better leaders – so they can grow faster and with less pain.
If you too want to grow faster and with less pain, contact me now: Xavier@AmbroseGrowth.com.
What about you? Which initiatives are you taking to increase your sales during the pandemic? How often do you call your quiet and happy customers?