You Invisible to Most of Your Potential Clients?
your sales are consistently flat, probably so. Consultant and author Kim DeMotte
explains the best, most cost-effective way to become visible to the right
2004)—It's an oft-cited adage in business that you can't be everything to
everybody. Few would disagree. Problem is, you know you have an exceptional
product—and your sales force has a great close rate—but your sales are still flat. Even though you know it's a bad idea to broaden your
established target, to take on clients who aren't really a good match, you're
tempted. Don't succumb, says sales effectiveness expert Kim DeMotte. It's never
a good idea to waste time on prospects who aren't right for you. What you might
consider, instead, is the possibility that you're invisible
in the marketplace.
right. There may be thousands of potential customers out there who don't even
know you exist. What you need is a good, efficient method for becoming visible
to the ones who are real prospects.
DeMotte—founder and managing partner of Power of NO™
and author of The Positive Power of
NO: how that little word you love to hate can make or break your business
(2003, Facts on Demand Press, ISBN: 1-889150-40-1, $17.95)—offers
an example from his own experience:
"While working with an earth-moving equipment dealer client
recently, we discovered, based on government UCC-1 filings, that his sales staff
was 'in on' only about 30 percent of the sales that were made in his
territory," DeMotte relates. "In the arena of compact construction
equipment, they enjoyed about a 21 percent market penetration in this area,
which meant their sales staff was closing about 70 percent of the deals they
were involved in. And this 21
percent was repeated for about the past six years, so everyone was 'comfortable'
with it. After all, their sales
team had a 70 percent close rate, right? But
what about the 70 percent of sales they weren't in on?
Who was selling those customers and how…and why?"
an aggressive direct mail campaign that reached more than 18,000 contractors and
sponsorship of numerous "name recognition" events, DeMotte's client
was experiencing flat sales, year after year. His buying client base stayed
fairly constant with a few old ones falling off and a few new ones coming
was incontrovertible proof that every year hundreds of pieces of equipment were
being sold and my client never even knew
it!" exclaims DeMotte. "He
was invisible. By virtue of his
invisibility, he was not allowed to participate in 70 percent of the sales being
made right in his own backyard. When surveying some of these contractors, we
were amazed to hear repeatedly that they didn't even know that this brand was
represented in town. Yet, in our recent recession, sales growth was not an
option. So, what to do?"
of NO™ brought in the Catch & Release Prospecting System to quickly sort
through this blind list and figure out who was worth spending sales resources on
and who wasn't," he explains. "We hired and scripted a call center
representative at about $12.00/hr. to quickly and effectively, by telephone,
assess each prospect. Properly equipped and scripted, the Catch &
Release-trained call center rep will make about 140-150 calls per half-day!
In contrast, the average sales person, IF he makes prospecting calls,
will make roughly eighteen per week. Clearly, the sheer volume of calls together
with the carefully written script had
to yield some new business for my client—and indeed it did."
you benefit from this methodology? Well, if you fit certain criteria—if you
sell business to business, for instance, or if you have a large database of
potential customers—the answer is almost
certainly. DeMotte suggests that you take the following steps to increase
your visibility quotient:
• Do exploratory
surgery on your database.
Go through your list with a fine-toothed comb. Divide the names into two
categories: List A includes those who are "on the books" as having
bought from you in the recent past (say, the past three years); List B
encompasses those who have never bought from you. You must assume that you are
"invisible" to those names on List B.
• Hire a reputable call center. Now that you know who you're "invisible"
to, don't have your sales staff start
working the list. Right now they need to focus on the loyal customers who make
up List A. (Remember the old cliché about a bird in the hand.) Instead, hire a
call center to sort through the names on List B. The call center representative
should not try to sell these potential
clients; all he or she should do is determine whether or not you should devote
any sales energy to each name on the list.
• Instruct the
call center rep to DISqualify potential clients both logically and emotionally.
DeMotte explains how this worked with his aforementioned client: "The
system assessed a prospect's Logical Qualification (did they ever
buy or rent this type of equipment?) and Emotional Qualification (was there a
specific reason why they would be in the market in the near future?). Because of
the large volume of calls to be made, it was the standard practice of the call
center rep to quickly and easily allow the prospect to DISqualify himself: 'NO,
I never purchase or rent this type of equipment.' 'NO, there is no particular
reason I would want to talk to an equipment specialist in the near future.'
And if, by that point, the prospect had not disqualified himself, the
call center rep suggested politely that what usually happened next was a call
from one of her equipment specialists—but not unless that's what the prospect
wanted. Here was the third place a
prospect could DISqualify himself… a simple 'NO, thanks' would end the call.
If the prospect was still with our call center rep, we termed him an FTD
('Failed To Disqualify'), and arranged for an equipment specialist to get in
• Now, give the
FTD list to your salespeople.
The time-consuming part has already been done by the call center rep! You now
have a list of Logically and Emotionally Qualified potential clients who have
stated that YES, they DO want to speak to a salesperson. Imagine how happy your
team will be to receive this list!
a call center to become visible to the right prospects can be an extremely
efficient and effective way to boost your sales. How
efficient and effective? Well, consider what happened with DeMotte's equipment
the first 90 days, my client gained 58 FTDs, 13 sales to the group who
here-to-fore considered my client 'invisible,' and over $100,000 gross in new
and used equipment sales," reports DeMotte.
"This was 'found' business. The salespeople didn't have to spend
their valuable time searching for a few needles in a huge haystack. They were
able to spend it on prospects who had already been screened on their likelihood
of saying yes, and, of course, on
those valuable current clients. Time is money, after all—and becoming visible
to the right prospects is how you use it to your advantage."
# # #
About the Author:
DeMotte is the founder and managing partner of Power of NO™, a St.
Louis-based firm specializing in improving corporate sales and management
effectiveness. He works with companies developing strategies for saying
"NO" when and where it is appropriate. He has successfully owned and
operated two distribution companies, a manufacturing company, two service
companies, a software company and a consulting firm. He can be reached at kim@powerofNO.com or at (877) 245-8250. For
more information on The Positive Power of NO, visit his website at www.powerofNO.com.
Positive Power of NO: how that little word you love to hate can make or break
(2003, Facts on Demand Press, ISBN: 1-889150-40-1, $17.95) is
available at bookstores nationwide, major online booksellers, or directly from
the publisher by calling (800) 929-3811.