Are You a Killer Sales and Marketing Pro?

By Michelle Davidson, Editor

SpyThe word kill takes on many meanings in the sales and marketing world. You don't want to do anything that could "kill" a deal or client relationship, but at the same time you want a "killer" marketing campaign or sales presentation.

When it comes to things that are "killer," you can add email databases to the list. Developing one, especially one with targeted quality email addresses, is challenging, but it isn't impossible, says Eric Rudolf in his article, How to Grow a Killer Email Database. All you need is time, hard work, and dedication, and the five strategies in his article get you well on your way.

As for "killing" things, you do not want to do anything to "harm" sales conversations with prospects or leads. Make a mistake here, and you could render the conversation and any relationship lifeless. One sure way to derail a sales conversation is to ask about a prospect's budget right off the bat, writes Jill Konrath in her article, The One Question That Can Kill Any Sales Conversation.

Traditional sales training tells you to make sure prospects have enough money in their budget to afford your services, Konrath says. But asking "what's your budget" would be the wrong thing to do when your prospect is interested but hasn't committed to taking action. Instead get your prospect to see the value in what you offer and allocate money for your service, she says.

Konrath's advice is just one thing older staff can teach young rainmakers, who need mentoring if they're going to become talented rainmakers and help the firm grow. Derrick Smith has more suggestions in his article, 3 Simple Lessons to Help Junior Staff Become Rainmakers. Smith's plan calls for starting with three main concepts, and then add time and practice.

"In this challenging economic climate, it's important that everyone understands the need to nurture client relationships," writes Smith. "As firm leaders, we can leverage our staff's talents by mentoring them to assist with business development efforts. For many, it may take years to develop the skills to successfully foster client relationships. However, the following three concepts can help young professionals begin to develop the necessary skills."

Such leadership practices are what make or break a firm, says Danita Bye, author of Leadership Shift: Paradoxical Wisdom for Transformational Leaders in These Times of Change, in her podcast interview, Are Your Sales Lagging? Poor Leadership Principles May Be the Cause. If the core leadership principles are faulty, then the organization will fail. Firms must examine what they're doing and adjust accordingly.

When it comes to selling services, however, it all boils down to the buyer's emotion, according to research from Enquiro. Do they trust you? Do they consider you a risky venture? Do you connect with them on an emotional level to show how their lives would be better if they worked with you-or would be worse if they didn't work with you?

Buyers are risk-averse. Show them you're the safest option, and you'll win their business. And once you have them as a client, continue to offer good reliable service, and they'll remain clients over the years.

Michelle Davidson is Editor of RainToday. As such, she oversees all of the articles published on the website and publishes the weekly newsletter, the Rainmaker Report. She also produces the site's weekly podcast series, Marketing & Selling Professional Services, and the site's webinars. You may contact her via email at mdavidson@raintoday.com and via Twitter at @michedav.

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