Most sales people know that every no just brings you that much closer to your next yes. But while it’s true that if you keep asking long enough, you simply can’t fail, there aren’t many sales professionals who wouldn’t like to increase their strike rate.
The good news is that technology can help you to do just that, with just a few changes to your process. Here’s what you should be doing to sell smarter, sell more, and increase your sales.
Don’t Change Everything
The first thing you need to know when you start applying science to your sales is not to change everything. This is not the time to change your core strategy, because you want to use your current figures as the basis of your research.
Grow Your Database
While you shouldn’t launch strategies that would only muddy the water, you should start recording as much information about your sales efforts and results as possible. What matters to your business? Geography, gender, socioeconomic status, time of day, and everything else you can think of is relevant, and should be recorded.
Applying science and statistics to your sales process required one thing: as much data as you can find. So rather than rushing into analysis, spend some time doing what you do, and just keep stock piling the results. Remember that with data, the larger the sample and the more detailed you are, the better your results will be.
Everyone who is involved in sales learns to accept that sometimes people say no. But a no doesn’t have to be a complete loss.
When your prospects say no, you can still use their experience to improve your sales. Thank them for their time, and then ask them to tell you why they said no. Some might take offense, but most will give you some indication of why they chose not to buy. That data is possibly the most valuable you can get.
Look for Patterns
After you’ve been collecting data about your prospects and your successes (and failures), you should be able to start finding patterns in the data. Some of the things you might look for in your data include:
- Your most and least successful times of the day for cold calling.
- Which type of customer you have the most success with, based on age, gender or other demographic factors.
- Which kinds of customers favor which products and services.
- How often you have had contact with each type of customer.
- The type of contact you’ve had with each customer.
- If you have any deals or offers, which ones succeed more often with which type of client.
- Your success rates by geographical area.
The more data you have collected, and the broader your data criteria, the more ways you will be able to analyze your results.
Chances are, if you are like most people, you will discover that there are patterns based on both demographic criteria, and geography. Different areas of your sales territory will probably yield distinct and different results.
Apply the Science
At the end of the process, once you’ve done what you always do, collected data and analyzed it, you’ll know what makes different parts of your target market tick in different geographical areas.
That’s when it’s time to apply what you have learned.
Change your sales strategies to take advantage of the trends in each area. If customers are more receptive on certain days, schedule your cold calling or canvassing accordingly. If you have more luck with a particular gender or age group in another area, target your market to that demographic.
Look for areas where your sales are exceptionally high, and increase your focus there. At the same time, rule out the areas where your results were abnormally low.
Gathering and using data is the single most important thing you can do to increase your sales percentages and your profits, and when you can generate geographical information from customer information, you can turn what seems like random results into laser focused successes.