Uncover Hidden Sales Opportunities

By Ken Valla ( Executive Travel)

3 steps to increasing sales opportunities with your existing accounts.

Expanding your customer base has always been expensive, and it may be even more so today. In an uncertain economic climate, few firms seem ready to take the risk of starting out with new suppliers. Instead, it makes sense to look for new opportunities in accounts where you are already doing business.

The challenge: The comfort-zone trap images

The good news about working with existing customers? You have established relationships, and are already a trusted supplier. But here’s the bad news: Comfortable relationships that bring repeat business can also become traps that keep you from finding out about potential new business. Typically, salespeople develop a small number of contacts in a particular area, and even though they know they should be calling on a broader range of strategic decision makers, breaking out into other areas seems risky. The perception—and the reality—is that most executives see little reason to spend precious time talking with salespeople.

Yet if you don’t engage in such conversations, you’ll miss hidden opportunities that lie outside your usual area and level of influence. As companies continue to exercise tight control over spending, midlevel managers are more restricted in their budget authority than they used to be. This means that higher-level personnel are likely making decisions about priorities and funding. Customers are focusing their funding on a few strategic goals. The real room for growth lies in understanding those targeted areas.

In order to do so, you must overcome your reluctance about developing relationships with strategic decision makers in new areas of your customer’s organization. Start by using a three-step calling strategy to meet with the right people at the right levels across the organization. […Continue Reading…]