Many sales people are frustrated when they expect limited sales efforts to produce more sales. Few buyers are ready to make a decision in one or two contacts, especially if the offering is of major importance to them. Integrated marketing and sales strategies can produce immediate and long term results in sales. The key is to recognize that most major sales prospects, even when they have a qualifying need will not make a final buying decision on large sales until there have been enough contacts. These contacts provide education and build confidence in a particular solution to that need.
It takes 2-7 contacts for most decision makers to move forward on a major sale once the trigger-events are in place. For example the trigger for a new phone solution for a company may be a new site or the end of a lease agreement. If the company makes the decision to bid the solution, this becomes a major sale with many internal customer approvals prior to a funding and making a buying decision.
If the offering has been bought before and integrated into the needs process of the customer, then buying decisions are usually straight forward. This can be as simple as an online catalog reorder. For example, once a phone system has been selected, additional phones or even equipping new sites will tend to use the same solution provided current performance is satisfactory to minimize maintenance and integration issues. These typically move from the major to small sales category. Small sales typically need one or two contacts and fewer approvals to make the sale. This is the Holy Grail for repeat business.
Whether in large or small sales every buying decision is based on a need trigger and enough sales contacts to resolve all concerns with the buying decision. In most business or consumer cases, for large or major sales, if there is no need, or trigger event, you cannot sell or create one. No need or problem to solve means no need to buy, thus no large sale. With the need present, you may be able to sell your approach to meeting the need if the prospect was not aware of your solution or its benefits.
For all the millions of cars sold in the world, few are bought on a whim. They need a trigger need and sufficient, effective selling contacts. Sales people who find those with a trigger need, and make those 2-7 contacts lead to sales. Whatever marketing and sales channels are used to make those 2-7 selling contacts, these contacts need to be made to make a sale provided the trigger-need is there. Make no or insufficient contacts and no sale is made.
This is why many sales people who are looking for results out of one or two contacts say direct mail, advertising, etc. has poor performance. These tools do work in satisfying the 2-7 contacts to make a decision. If a decision maker needs 5 contacts, and you have only provided 3, even with a need, there is no sale at that third contact. Someone else will satisfy the other 2 and get the sale.
But if you stop early in the process, you will not get a sale even if you made 4 contacts and then stopped when they needed 5. Since almost everyone needs more than one contact for a major purchase, if they buy on your first contact, someone else has satisfied the necessary contacts and you reap where you did not sow.
Copyright 2008 Donald Mann. All rights reserved.
Don Mann is CEO of RiteMann Consulting Inc. ; a company that helps businesses improve sales, profits, cash flow, people effectiveness and innovation, and is located in the Wilmington DE area
He has delivered solid results in organizations ranging from start-ups to Fortune 100 by leveraging best practices across industries. This includes global businesses in financial services, manufacturing, chemicals, distribution and high tech industries, and well as governmental, military and community organizations. His results include developing and improving highly productive and lean organizations with improved sales and profits, more rapid responsiveness, reduced stress and renewed focus on customer delight
For inquiries please contact him at http://www.RiteMann.com