Guest post by John Naples, Encore Consulting Group WHEN I FIRST STARTED in sales, one of the first skills I learned was how to uncover new selling opportunities. I was part of a sales organization that placed high value on cold calling, and expected the salesperson to master appointment setting both over the telephone and by in-person cold calls. My district sales manager threw me to the lions the first week I returned from training. He told me to canvass my territory and make 30 calls per day. To “hit my numbers,” he said, I had to contact at least 500 new prospective clients each month. As a 22-year-old entry-level salesperson, I was both daunted and challenged by this ominous goal. My first call went really well. I dialed the phone number and the receptionist answered. She said, “Good morning, Pacific Industries. How may I direct your call?” I completely froze…
Category Archives: Selling & salesmanship
Guest post by John Naples, Encore Consulting Group WHEN I FIRST STARTED in sales, I was as green as they come. I entered the field directly after graduating from college and went to work for Lanier Worldwide in the highly competitive telecommunications industry. I was trained to hit the streets in San Diego’s Mission Valley and knock on at least 25 doors each day. Success was determined by the number of calls I made, rather than by their quality. Once I secured an appointment, I was taught to deliver a “feature dump” on anyone would listen. I quickly saw that this method of listing and describing features was all wrong; I wasn’t seeing good results and my competitors were winning. It took some experience and additional knowledge, though, before I figured out how to correct it. The fact is, I was missing a key, critical step in the selling process and…
A Business Development Strategy for the new year This is a New Year of questions. Big, significant questions-about values, goals, and long-term direction. Asked personally, professionally, and from a financial-service industry perspective; the questions are remarkable for both their breadth and depth. At the same time, the New Year is a time for resolutions, and for moving forward.
Tapping the Women’s Market Women control more money than they ever have before. They earn, spend, and save almost as much as men. Today, women represent a huge opportunity for investment and financial services firms — now, the industry must figure out how to take advantage of it.
Selling in a Bumpy (Bear?) Market This is definitely not as much fun as it was a couple of years ago. While the severe reversal of fortune in some quarters of the investment industry has not caused a wholesale panic, it certainly does make selling to skittish investors — and with fewer resources — more difficult. There are two distinct sales approaches firms can take in this type of market.
The Investor Expectation Conundrum Most mutual fund companies and 401(k) providers have historically relied on the industry’s cadre of brokers and financial planners to sell their products. And wisely so: we know that investors’ use of financial expertise and personal advice is increasing, not decreasing. The Investment Company Institute estimates that nearly 80% of all mutual funds are sold through an intermediary.
Strategies for Maintaining – and Increasing – Market Share Financial services and mutual fund firms continue to feel the pressure of decreased revenues. Options are few-drive revenue growth, keep your clients, and carefully pare back expenses. Our bias, naturally, is to look for revenue drivers. So what do fund companies and financial services providers need to do to maintain market share and continue to grow sales in a market environment like this? Sales, after all, is a return on investment (ROI) game; the objective is to make the smallest investment possible in the most productive sales channels. Opportunity cost is a factor here as well — no one wants to waste time and money on unproductive sales efforts. Here are a couple of things that firms can do that can directly impact their productivity and revenues in a tough market.
Behavioral Selling Skills: Developing The Unfair Advantage Following a slower-than-hoped-for sales (and asset retention) year, sales teams and client relationship management departments are struggling to understand what’s gone wrong in the sales and asset retention process and to implement new approaches to relationship development and management.
CRM Systems – Panacea or Plague? There are many reasons for the slowdown in the technology sector, but one major reason is that the profitable 00’s allowed many firms to buy more and more new systems that took advantage of great technological leaps—but firms found they weren’t integrating and fully utilizing the systems. When the bear market hit, and profits sunk there seemed to be little appetite for buying even more.
Sales Effectiveness – What We’ve Learned Over our First 10 Years, 1995-2005 As we celebrate ten years of providing business development and organizational design expertise to financial services, software and technology firms and others, we reflect here on what we’ve learned and observed over the last decade.