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Panpa Bulletin : June 2006
36 | PANPA BULLETIN June 2006 It is an old story, perhaps even an urban myth, but it is still valid today. A fa- mous Harvard business school professor once asked his stu- dents what was the number one reason why businesses do not succeed. Of course, as he expected he received all types of responses: Poor manage- ment, cash flow, faulty prod- ucts, the economy, govern- ment, regulation and many more equally valid reasons. But not the number one rea- son. The number one reason why any business fails is be- cause of a lack of sales. ' That is the reason why your publishing business or any other business will fail -- not enough sales. So as a salesper- son, this is your responsibil- ity. Think you're not in sales -- think again. As a director in your company you are the number one sales person. This may not be on your business card but you need to engineer your business model around this fact and you and your col- leagues need to have specific behaviours which enhance this process. If you think about it you can get sales only from a few sources -- your existing cus- tomers and/or new customers. Let's spend some time looking at some of the mechanics of prospecting for new business opportunities. In my opinion you can only 'search' for new business opportunities in three different ways; Geographic, Demographic and Psychographic The ideal prospect falls into all of these categories, i.e. they are in your geographic reach - for instance your building, suburb, city - they are close to or fit your typical custom- er profile - size of company, types of products and services their target markets - and also have a good predisposition (attitude) towards your prod- uct/service. Start prospecting geograph- ically. In fact always start with the building you are in. I get aggressive -- there is no way I want anyone in my building buying the same products or services I offer without talk- ing to me first. Can you say the same thing about your build- ing? When I started my first business over four years ago I spoke to every single busi- ness owner in my building and told them just this; "...we are neighbours, we should meet and get to know each other". Just using this strategy, I generated at least three new clients. The next time you walk into your building -- stop. Take out a pen and write down the names of all the companies. Then make it a priority to get their contact details and make it your building. Once you have covered your building you can then move next door with the same strategy -- it works just as well there. And across the road etc. In fact if you actually stopped and looked at the prospects which are at arm's length from you, you would have enough prospects to keep you busy for months! Demographic prospecting Prospecting by type. Here is an example. Let's say you have followed your geographic prospecting strategy and cre- ated a new local customer. Im- agine that your new customer runs an accessories business and you have sold them a six- ad campaign to reach their key markets. The client is delighted with the layout and the enquiries are coming in. Now here is a demographic prospecting op- portunity. Because you have proof that this type of firm benefited you can now iden- tify all the other companies of a similar nature. People are persuaded by proof. Get on the phone leveraging the hell out of your success. Use a powerful opening state- ment. An opening statement should be less that 17 seconds in length and should cre- ate immediate interest in the prospect's mind. By the way this is the number one mis- take people make when pros- pecting. They have an opening statement which builds resist- ance not interest. I have devel- oped a simple formula to cre- ate opening statements which work and would be happy to illustrate it should you contact me. Psychographic prospecting If you were to create a psy- chographic prospecting strat- egy, what would be the one thing you are looking for? The client's attitude, their self awareness that they have an issue. Now this is the most difficult target or prospect to identify, yet is often the one most likely to be interested in your readership. Why is that? Well these prospects have an attitude which is motivated by a combination of two things: Seeking growth or avoiding costs or both. At the end of the day most business actions are guided by these needs. Re- search shows that people are more motivated to avoid pain than they are to seek pleasure. Think about it. A lot of your target market is motivated to purchase products and services not only to achieve a particular result but also to avoid the con- sequence of not purchasing the product/service. Advertising is a third party prospecting vehicle. Advertising on TV, newspapers, magazines and radio etc are all designed to reach homogenous markets and attract the atten- tion of people with a particular attitude at that time. How can you use these principles? One way would be to simply call prospects at random and qualify their level of interest ASAP. In some business to consumer environments this may work, as the skill of the sales person through effective questioning, listening and paraphrasing can influence the current attitude of the prospect. However, in a B2B environment you are not going to have the luxury or time to be this random. So here are my pointers for successful new business development in print sales. • Make sales activity the number one priority • Develop a real sales plan (not last year + X%) • Create a database and activity system • Adjust pitches to suit client's attitude • Develop essential skills, through training, reading, seminars etc • Ensure everyone has responsibility for business development Seek and you shall fnd Ciaran McGuigan talks about the number one cause of business failure in publishing and what you can do to avoid it The client is delighted with the layout and the enquiries are coming in. Now here is a demographic prospecting opportunity. Because you have proof that this type of frm benefted you can now identify all the other companies of a similar nature. People are persuaded by proof.