A RARE sales technique used by very few salespeople

key_to_profitabilityI have worked with countless salespeople, sales managers and business owners over the last 5 years and they all have one thing in common…they either desperately NEED or WANT more sales.

However, the dilemma that most of them face is that they either don’t have enough prospects in the sales pipeline…or, they do have the prospects but they are not converting as many as they would like.

So let’s look at the problem of not having enough prospects…I will tackle what you can do to increase conversion and close more sales in my next article.

I am going to share with you a sales technique that is rarely used, but is incredibly effective at getting more prospects into your pipeline.

Not enough prospects?

We are in a deep…deep recession, and in truth we are unlikely to be out of it for quite some time. The consequence of this for most businesses is that enquiries have started to dry up. Fewer prospects are getting in touch…advertising is not as effective as it used to be……and any proactive sales and marketing efforts you undertake are not yielding the same results.

That’s what happens in a recession. It’s nothing new, and as prospects are becoming more desensitised to sales and marketing techniques then it is going to get even harder in the future to attract quality prospects into the front end of your sales pipeline.

However…there are two things that you can do that will have a dramatic effect on how effective your sales and marketing campaigns are, and they are:

1. Be specific about who you market to


hit_your_targetBefore you pick up the phone, send a mail shot, or even an email create lists of prospects that are MORE LIKELY to buy from you and ONLY market to them.

So, what do I mean by this?…well….that’s not a question I can answer comprehensively in this article, but I can give you some idea of what I mean by ‘’more likely to buy from you’’.

I have had a career in sales for 25 years, but for 5 of those 25 years I have also been a BUYER. I ran a telecoms company and as the Managing Director I bought lots of products and services for my business. I bought products during the economic boom period and during the start of the recession in 2008/9.

It was only when I became a BUYER that I truly appreciated how and why a business buys products, and it was as a BUYER that I spotted something very specific about how some companies go about their sales and marketing campaigns.

The one thing I have noticed that the best companies do that the rest don’t is that they focus their sales efforts on prospects that are in the same or similar industries to those of their best customers. For example, a salesperson from a photocopier company called me after he had established that I was the key decision maker in my business. When he introduced himself he made it clear that he had done his homework on my company and he already knew plenty about me and my business, which was a good start. I don’t like to be called by salespeople who have not already made a prior call to find out about me and my company. Then he also mentioned how he had worked with other companies local to me, and in particular one company that was a direct competitor of mine….that was when I really started to listen to him.

The fact that he mentioned that he had worked with a company that was in the same industry as me made me CURIOUS to hear more from him. Like any businessman I am keen to understand if there is a way of working that is more efficient than the way I work now. If that way is being used by one of my competitors then I am more compelled to listen to the ‘’messenger’’, which in this case was a photocopier salesperson. I call this the ‘’familiarity’’ technique.

It is a sales technique that is rarely used by salespeople or companies when they market and sell. Most talk about their products and services and ‘’hope’’ that by playing the numbers game they will find some prospects that are ‘’interested’’. That’s why most mail shot campaigns return a paltry 0.5% return, and it’s why traditional cold calling techniques no longer work.

The FAMILIARITY sales technique works!

When you market and sell to prospects that resemble those of your customer base, and most importantly…TELL them who your customer base is, then they are much more likely to listen to what you have to say. They are ‘’familiar’’ with the customers you are referring to. The more familiar they are, the more likely they are to listen to you.

So, how do you do go about marketing and selling to prospects in the ‘’same’’ or ‘’similar’’ industries to your existing customers?

There are four steps:

Step 1 Look at all your existing customers, and especially focus on your ‘’best’’ customers, and establish the Standard Industry Code ( SIC) for each one. Then put them into SIC code “groups”.

Here are the web sites where you can get all the company SIC codes you need.
UK web link: www.statistics.gov.uk/methods_quality/sic/contents.asp

Step 2 Get as many ‘’benefit based’’ testimonials as you can from your existing ‘’best’’ customers ( getting great testimonials is a subject in its own right which I will cover separately in a forthcoming article.)

Step 3 Use databases ( there are free and paid ones) to get company data on these companies with the same SIC codes as those on your existing customer base lists compiled in step 1. Keep coming back to my articles as I will show you where to access free company data soon.

Step 4 Focus your written, electronic, and telephone sales and marketing campaigns on the companies you found in step 3. In the next few weeks I will be writing about a sales technique you can use to double the response rates you get from your marketing communications, so stay tuned into Find The Edge to learn more.
If you follow this four step process you will not only increase the number of prospects in your pipeline significantly (because they will be compelled to hear more from you due to the FAMIIARITY concept), but you will find that they are more likely to buy from you.

The law of familiarity is the single most important law in the realm of sales and marketing. Huge corporations know this, and they spend millions making sure that they market the ‘’familiarity’’ concept. You don’t have to spend anything. You can get all this information and do the marketing for free.

In the meantime, the second thing that you can do to increase the number of prospects in your sales pipeline is:

2. Get better than your competitors at using the internet to attract prospects.


search_engine_optimizationWhether you are a small local company, or a multinational, it makes no difference. You need to get better at using the internet to attract NEW prospects. I realise that this is a massive subject, and I am not going to tell you how to do this here, but at the very least you can find out what the opportunity is for attracting prospects to your marketplace by doing one thing…and it’s this:

Go to this web site:

It’s called the Google keyword tool. In the box to the right of ‘’word or phrase’’, put in any words that relate to your products or industry. You can put as many words as you like in the box, but put them in ‘’list’’ format, so that each word is below the previous one. For example, in my industry I could put

  • Sales training
  • Sales management
  • Cold calling
  • Sales prospecting
  • And so on…

Then click the search button. The results will show you how many times those words are searched each month on Google. You will be able to see how many people in the UK are ‘’searching’’ for your products and services on a monthly basis.

Once you have done that you will see the enormous opportunities for generating great sales leads using the internet.

In my experience even the biggest corporations are not yet making the most of the sales lead generation opportunity the internet has to offer. Only the surface of this massive market opportunity has been scratched. If you act NOW and beat your competitors to it, you can get to those hungry ‘’prospects’’ before your competition does. It is not easy, and you will need help along the way, but rest assured, if you don’t do something soon, someone else will.

I hope you have found this article interesting and of some use. In the next article I will explain how you can increase your conversion rate once you have a prospect in the sales pipeline.

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