A good friend of ours told me his sales team made their first sale ever to a non-affiliated customer. He was hired earlier this year to build a sales team and plan a sales effort because for the last 20 years the only sales were to other firms under the same ownership umbrella.
The salespeople at this company were order takers. And I’m guessing lazy order takers at that. When I taught a class at the local SBA/SCORE office on growing a consulting business I always told a story about a fairly new consultant who loved the computer and felt because he sent out a newsletter once a month the phone would ring. Yeah, sure it would, from telemarketers.
“It’s amazing what happens when you actually pick up the phone and call your customers” was said to me by Keith Jackson with Industrial Revolution, www.industrialrev.com, in response to my question about how his marketing was going about six months after buying the company. I’ve used this statement before and it’s such a good line I can’t help using it again (I know it verbatim because I wrote it down when I heard it and I use it regularly). And, I know Keith is reading this.
- Want to increase sales? Have your people (and/or you) reach out to prospective customers and referral sources. As you grow it increases your chances of exiting with style, grace, and more money.
- Want to buy a business? It’s contact sport; the more contacts you make (who get to know you) the better your chances. It’s hard to find a mature, profitable, and fairly priced business so be active.
- Want to sell your business? You and/or your intermediary had better be active with the marketing (not just the advertising). Calls to your/their network, their database of buyers, and others will accelerate the process.
In this day and age of text, email, LinkedIn, and Facebook personal, one-on-one contact is still the best for B2B, advisory, and many other businesses.
“If the phone doesn’t ring it’s me.” Jimmy Buffett