Third in a series
In this series, distributor owner and sales coach Josh Frey answers frequently asked questions on a wide range of sales topics.
I am having a really difficult time getting prospects to return my emails and phone calls. I need more leads for my promo business, but I don’t know how to get them. Any ideas to help?
Yes! And by the way, who couldn’t use more leads in this highly competitive swag biz we are in? I know I sure can.
But it’s not just any old lead … you want quality leads. Can you imagine quality prospects and clients who return your calls and emails, remain loyal to you, place repeat orders (without pricing you out each time) and give you referrals to other buyers? Sound too good to be true?
It is possible to get these types of buyers and leads but you have to be strategic. Repeat after me: STRATEGY. It’s something the majority of your competition is missing but it’s a huge opportunity if you can adopt one.
Specifically, what is your strategy when it comes to separating yourself from the competition, in the eyes of the buyer? Listen to those words; it’s not how you think you are different, it’s how the prospective buyer thinks you’re different.
I want to dig into this a section because in coaching hundreds of reps over my career, and polling thousands of reps from our DHD webinar series at go.theswagcoach.com/dhdregistration, the focus tends to be on how distributors perceive ourselves competitively. More often than not, our goal is to deliver “superior customer service” or “unreal creativity.” These may be true, but if the majority of your competition is proclaiming those same things, does that really competitively differentiate you?
With our Small Group Coaching community (www.theswagcoach.com/small-group-coaching-sessions), there is one proven, key strategy that we passionately promote because it’s so effective when it comes to separating ourselves from the competition. We call it targeting your “Million Dollar Niche (MDN).” In other words, focus on a vertical market, become an “expert” in how that market does business and craft your sales pitch so it aligns with your target buyers’ needs. Sound complicated? It’s not. But it does take discipline and focus.
Here’s how to find and go after your own Million Dollar Niche. These 10 steps can help you get strategic with your sales efforts. If you can successfully pull this off on your own, you will get more leads and sales than ever before.
Consider targeting an industry that genuinely interests you. Are you a sports fan? Maybe a real estate junkie? Health-care nut? There are lots of industries you can service. Take time to think about which would be the most fun and interesting for you.
Narrow your target to one industry. Yes, I know it sounds scary, but to be able to successfully execute on this strategy, you must start off with one market to pursue and see this process through. Once you have success, and have built a million-dollar book, then of course consider the others. The reality is, if you choose correctly, all you need to build a multimillion-dollar book of swag biz is one million-dollar niche market.
Now that you have identified your MDN, it’s time to find the largest “players” in that market. Build a list of at least the 50 largest companies or organizations in your niche to give you a sense of the playing field. Knowing who these companies are will help you build out your target list of prospects (see step 5).
Who are the decision-makers in your MDN? Are they the CEO, executive director or owner? Maybe the HR or marketing director? You need to identify who the key decision-makers are, by title, so you are targeting the right people. And the “right people” are those with budgets, who will buy your products and solutions. Identifying the right buyers, up front, will save you time and shorten your sales cycle.
Now that you have completed steps three and four, it’s time to “build your list.” Aggregate the contact names by company/organization that you plan on contacting. Typically, companies will have multiple buyers within them, so if you’ve done your homework and identified at least 50 companies in your MDN, you will have a solid 100-plus leads to work from on this list.
Now that you have built your target list, go and connect with those buyers on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and other social media platforms. You want to have an online network from your MDN to whom you can eventually share your expertise and contribute as a member of their online community.
Your MDN will most likely have a trade association (just like the promo industry has PPAI), and that will help you get a clear picture of what local, regional and national events are scheduled at which you can possibly be an exhibitor or sponsor. Don’t have a ton of resources? No worries—volunteering is a great way to rub shoulders with decision-makers and build relationships with potential buyers in your MDN.
Now that you know who you are targeting and you have an industry focus, it’s time to position yourself as an expert. Once you learn their needs, their buzzwords and lingo, you can start to speak the same language as your buyer, and you can also present yourself as a marketing partner who can help them do their job better, faster and more effectively, because you know their market.
So what are you going to say, and what products are you going to offer to showcase your expertise when pitching to a MDN buyer? Write down your pitch and practice it. Aggregate a list of products into a “mini catalog” separated by categories that tie-in with the MDN. Let’s say you focus on associations as your MDN. You’re no longer selling pens, bags and polos. You’re selling speaker gifts, registration kits, volunteer uniforms, etc. See the difference? Your MDN pitch will speak their language and give you instant credibility. Share a few case studies on how you have successfully helped others in the MDN and boom! You’re off to the races.
It’s time to execute. You have the target audience. You have the pitch and the products you’re going to talk about. You’ve identified the buyers and know where they “play ball,” online and offline. It’s time to get after it and start working those qualified leads.
Good luck crushing your promo sales with this MDN strategy. It has worked really well for us and our clients, and no doubt can work for you and your promo sales. And get you more high-quality leads.
Josh Frey is founder of Falls Church, Virginia-based distributor On Sale Promos and the Swag Coach Program. He is a 25-year industry veteran and front-line sales coach. Josh@swagcoach.com. Visit TheSwagCoach.com to register for his next Distributors Helping Distributors show and learn more about his promo coaching programs offered.
Used with permission from PPAI Media