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The Coaching Effect Blog

    Economic Challenges Bring Sales Prospecting Opportunities

    by Kristi Shoemaker / August 29, 2011

    This guest article was written by our Pillar Partner, SellingToZebras.    It asks Sales Managers how the current economic tide has been affecting business. It shows them how to positively response to it, identify sales opportunities for a sales team, and develop a prospecting strategy. Read the full article "Restructuring With Sales"

    Enjoy the prospecting tips!

    Its safe to say this isn’t the kind of environment that inspires confidence. ThePillar Partner Selling To Zebras latest global economic concerns have predicated a mass hysteria that really isn’t anything new, but is a crisis nonetheless. If your business is feeling the effects of the volatile environment you should stay proactive, rather than reactive.

    The silver lining of a crisis is that it forces a Sales Manager or anyone in sales leadership to streamline your business model. It makes you think about long-term sustainability in a way you never had to before.

    You probably understand that economics is cyclical and this is why the current economic crisis shouldn’t go to waste. More than ever companies are scrambling for those problem solving solutions. What does that mean? More than ever, companies are ready to buy! Ergo, you have to be ready to sell your solution in a way that solves those restructuring objectives.


    Uncovering Value

    ROI alone is not enough to garner attention anymore because everyone presents it and everyone presents a good one. You must align the parts of your message you think are important with what your prospect thinks are important.

    Reaching out

    You should treat all of your sales as partnerships. Customers should get the feeling your success rides on theirs. You aren’t selling widgets, you’re guaranteeing success. Start by reaching out to your current and past customers. Getting the right information is about asking the right questions.

    • Why don’t you buy?

    • Why do you buy?

    • What do we do best?


    They will lead you to value you didn’t sell them. For example, maybe you provided new energy efficient windows to a university. You’d be surprised to find out that since installation class attendance has improved by 15% in addition to the anticipated energy savings. Discovering what resonated after the sale stirs a positive feeling of surprise and added benefit. Your genuine curiosity also improves your partnership, creating healthy up-sell and cross-sell opportunities.

    Research New Prospect

    Filter through a company’s annual report and 10k, Google headlines, and scour their website. You’re looking to understand the culture and initiatives in place. If you have a management tool, search for merger and acquisition news. Identify where you can enforce value and how you supplement current operations. Determine who Power is. Change is disruptive to any organization and your ability to recognize and overcome that barrier is crucial. Part of that is speaking to the right person. If you start too low in an organization you get resistance and a small budget. Latch on to current sustainability initiatives and missions that contribute to their long-term vision.


    Once you have differentiated your solution and distilled it down to what your prospect cares about, you know whether or not you have a zebra. With that in mind, present your business case to the executive you’ve identified as Power. Make sure you have their critical business issues front and center in the discussion. Your goal at this point isn’t to sell, it’s to partner. You have to earn trust before you can sell. If you peak interest, ask, and they will grant you executive sponsorship to verify your value. Once they confirm and adjust your figures internally, you will reduce your sales cycle, increase your deal size and improve your pipeline close rate.


    Enjoy this related article titled "Hope In Not A Sales Strategy".


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    Kristi Shoemaker

    Kristi Shoemaker

    Kristi is a marketing communications and public relations expert with over 30+ years of experience in a variety of industries. She was an integral part of EcSell's go-to-market strategy and execution from 2008 - 2012. Kristi enjoys taking a holistic approach by integrating all the key marketing disciplines to create synergies that generate maximum results. She is currently the president of KLS Consulting in Lincoln, Nebraska.

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