BY ROLF HITZER
If you take a moment to analyse your sales over the past year, you’ll find an interesting statistic. Odds are that 70 per cent of your sales appointments originated from someone you know, or someone you know who referred the customer to call you.
Technology has evolved to allow you, with efficient ease, to overcome the sales sin of improper communication with the customers we know. In a sales career, our biggest hurdle is developing a consistent system of staying in touch, following up and communication. Each year sales are lost from this oversight.
With today’s technology, there is no excuse not to create and manage your personal database of people. It’s a great opportunity to increase your sales and maintain customer loyalty. As your database grows, so will your income. The easiest appointments we have are with someone we know, a past client, or someone who was referred to call us. Here is a seven-step system to build your sales productivity:
1) Create your database
Create a list of names, addresses and postal codes of the people you know. This list should include your past clients, existing clients, future clients, friends, family, neighbours, past co-workers, acquaintances, anyone you know. The bigger the list the better.
When your list is complete, have the office secretary put this information on a computer disk. Receive a hard copy of your database and double check to assure names are spelled correctly and the salutations are appropriate. Your list, through the aid of technology, becomes systemized and user friendly.
2) Database management
When you are systemized, it becomes effortless to manage your database. Each week you should be adding names to your database. If you aren’t, then you weren’t working over the last week and had no new contacts to add to your list.
Change names or addresses in your database each week as people’s lives change, by place of employment, moving, marriage, divorce, death or other variables that may change a person’s status. Remember, by having a proper system, this will keep the management of your database simple, effective and efficient. This allows more time for you and more sales.
3) Monthly mailing
Once you are set up on disk and nobody is left out, you are ready to have effective communications. With competent simplicity you now can (and I hope you will) mail to your database each month. By mailing monthly, you create what we strive for – top of the mind awareness when it comes to our personal sales career. How often have you lost a sale because the person couldn’t remember your name? Consistent mailing helps eliminate this situation from happening.
This also strengthens customer loyalty. Your customers perceive that you care about them and they weren’t just a quick sale or a commission. Your customers will suggest or recommend you to people they know.
To illustrate the importance of monthly mailing, think of all the major purchases you have made. Do you remember the name of the salesperson who serviced you?
4) Mailing format
When you prepare a letter for your database, be brief and to the point. If your letter is lengthy, you may lose the attention of your reader.
Your first paragraph should be one or two sentences. Your middle paragraph is the opportunity to say what you want to say. Pick one item you wish to promote, be it a new product, a service you provide, a specific savings or promotion of the month. Entice your reader to call you for more information.
Your third and last paragraph should be consistent each month. Take this opportunity to remind everyone you know how important their referrals are and how you strive to provide the best service.
5) Personal signature, personal P.S.
When your personalized letters and envelopes are returned from being processed, you are now ready to personally sign each one.
Look at each name that you are mailing to. Who can you write a handwritten P.S. to? If you spoke to someone recently, can there be a follow-up comment? Who haven’t you talked to lately, where you can suggest meeting or calling in the near future?
When your contact person opens your letter, the first place their eyes will go to is your signature and your handwritten P.S. message. That is powerful and effective. It adds a personal touch and confirms that you do care. Include your business card with each letter you send.
6) Handwritten notes
When you have a new individual to add to your database, send them a handwritten note within 24 hours.
If you just finished speaking to someone on the phone and there will be future contact, send them a handwritten note within 24 hours.
Technology is wonderful and by adding this personal touch to your data base with handwritten notes where it is applicable, you will close more sales.
Because of technology, less and less sales professionals take a quick moment to send a handwritten note. The impact it makes is incredible. It will be worth it and it keeps you remembered with your clients.
If you or your office have Internet capability, ask your database if they prefer to have your monthly correspondence by way of traditional mail or electronic mail. You will find that a percentage of your database is high-tech and will be impressed that you are too.
In any sales career, we are in the people business and this means effective communication. Electronic mail and your ability to use this technology properly places you at the top of the game in sales.
By positioning yourself in the marketplace to use the high-tech systems to stay in high-touch with your sphere of influence, you will elevate your sales productivity to higher levels. In doing so, your income will rise accordingly, and you will have more fun in your sales career.
Rolf Hitzer is general manager of Century 21 Carrie.com in Winnipeg.