- How to Sell to Market Research Buyers, Part 2
- How to Sell to Market Research Buyers, Part 1
- 5½ [behind-the-scenes] Marketing & Sales Activities You Need To Do in December
- Got something to say?
- Running a small firm? Who holds you accountable?
- Marketing & Sales Success Begins with a Simple Step… Thinking!
- Your Sales Forecast Doesn’t Have to be a Guessing Game!
- Lead generation is a 3-step process.
- Measuring Sales… it’s Not just about Revenue
- 7 Selling Behaviors Seller-Doers Must Employ to be Successful.
- Can you really be “all things to all people?”
- 12 Marketing & Sales Activities you Gotta STOP this Year!
- How to maximize the impact of your marketing investment.
- Revenue Growth? Try the ‘5% Challenge’… it’s Brilliant!
- Should you ever walk away from revenue?
- Get Ready for 2017 with these 6 Marketing & Sales Activities
- 20 Marketing and Sales Concepts Business Leaders Need to Know, Part 2
- 20 Marketing and Sales Concepts Business Leaders Need to Know, Part 1
- 10 Guidelines for How to Be Successful at Sales
- Strategy Before Tactics!
- 6 Marketing & Sales Lessons Learned in our First 4 Years in Business
- The Sales Presentation: Stop Reading the PowerPoint Slides and Tell Your Story
- Content Marketing not working? Eh, don’t worry about it!
- Marketing Measurement: 3 New Methods You Have to Try in 2016
- The One Thing You Must Include in Your 2016 Marketing & Sales Plan
- Not using LinkedIn? Are you kidding me?!
- Is it OK to fire a client?
- Take Charge of Your Own Success… Stop Relying on Others!
- Getting first-time clients to take a chance on you.
- 9 Ways to Build your Business During the Summer Slowdown
- The Top 10 Ways to Build Awareness
- The 13 Most Common Website Mistakes
- The Most Important Part of Exhibiting
- Content marketing isn’t a one-time thing… it’s an all-the-time thing.
- THINKING! A framework for creating better business plans in 2015.
- Not happy with your marketing & sales? Then make just one change in 2015!
- For Beginners: Should I Tweet Daily? Yes… and here’s how.
- Got your Marketing Plan for 2015? No?! Now’s a good time to start…
- How to Connect with Booth Visitors – An Exhibitor’s Worksheet
- Not getting the email results you want? Make sure you’re following these 7 email marketing guidelines.
- 10 Ways to Get Clients to Sell FOR You (and they won’t cost a dime!)
- Do you know where you’re going? Why Strategy should drive your marketing & sales.
- 11 execution tips to help you exceed client expectations
- How to Turn First-time Clients into Repeat Clients
- 15 easy, low-cost marketing and sales tactics for 2014 – Part 2
- 15 easy, low-cost marketing and sales tactics for 2014 – Part 1
- 13 Lessons for Researchers Who Don’t Want (or Like) to Sell
- Social media marketing success in 30 minutes a day
- Get it right! You can’t manage what you don’t measure.
- It’s not that complicated! A common sense approach to the marketing & sales process.
- How MR firms are blowing it with new customers: Lessons learned while secret shopping
- Management or sales… you can’t serve two masters.
- Prove it! Nine ways to convince prospects to work with you for the first time.
- Five everyday ways to grow your business
- How that ‘one great client’ could doom your firm
- Six marketing and sales mistakes MR firms make every day
- Eight proven ways to build awareness – and why you should!
- Suspects, Prospects and Clients: Is your firm focused on the right target?
- A Checklist for Conducting Your Own Marketing & Sales Audit
- Learning to play the game: What football can teach us about marketing
- Differentiating your firm in a crowded marketplace
- 25 low- or no-cost ways to grow your business
- 15 Reasons E-mail Still Matters in Sales and Marketing
- Come prepared, dress the part and follow up: 10 dos for exhibiting at MR trade shows
- No rookies, no gum and no Frisbees: 10 don’ts for exhibiting at MR trade shows
- How to see yourself as clients see you
- Marketing 101: It takes Work to make it Work
- Use the 8 Ps of Marketing when Setting Strategy
- Integrate the 4 As of Marketing into Your Planning
- Size Does Matter: 4 Approaches to Growing Your Business
- The 12 Guiding Principles of Marketing (part 2)
- The 12 Guiding Principles of Marketing (part 1)
Getting first-time clients to take a chance on you.
Imagine that a research buyer at a Fortune 1000 firm is about to start looking for a new agency to work with. She starts with a list of potential suppliers, gets some recommendations from colleagues and industry contacts, does some online research… and eventually narrows it down to a short list of 4 or 5 – and your firm is one of them!
Congratulations! All of your marketing – your new website, your active social media sites, your email marketing, networking and advertising – has paid off.
But now the real fun begins… what can you do to convince the buyer to select your firm… to mitigate any fears she has about switching suppliers… to convince her to take a chance on you?
Well, if you’ve made it to the “Final Round,” then you have two big opportunities to answer that question… at capabilities presentation time and with your proposal.
The Capabilities Presentation
Standing in front of a room full of potential buyers is such a huge opportunity… an opportunity to tell your story and an opportunity to get them to know you/like you/trust you. So don’t blow it!
Rule #1… when presenting, stop blathering on – PowerPoint slide after PowerPoint slide – about every little service you offer. They already know all that – they’ve been to your website. Instead, focus on the benefits of working with your firm and how you’re different than the others. Tell stories about you’ve helped other similar firms with similar challenges.
And remember, in most cases, research buyers don’t have research problems… they have business problems that they need research to help solve. So talk to them in those terms.
As you’re speaking, the people sitting around the room are asking themselves questions like, “What’s in this for me?” and “Why should I care about this?” Your job is to make sure you answer those questions.
And stop it already with 10 bullet points per slide and complete sentences for each bullet… and then reading from the slide. The slides are just guides – use them to keep your comments on track. Remember the ‘4×4 rule’ – no more than 4 bullet points per slide and no more than 4 words per bullet. Less is more! When you start reading from wordy slides, so do the people you’re presenting to… and when what you’re saying is also up on the screen – you become unimportant.
Finally, make sure the PPT deck is part of your integrated marketing strategy. That is, that is looks and feels like your other marketing materials – your website, your collateral, your ads. That consistency helps to reinforce your brand.
Note: given the choice to send the deck to the buyer or to deliver a presentation in person, ALWAYS opt to deliver it in person. It’s a small price to pay, considering the potential result. Even with all of the methodologies, technologies, analysis and reporting… we are still in the people business. And it’s difficult to establish a relationship if the primary communications tool is a printed document.
If your presentation goes well, you’ll be invited to deliver…
Like capabilities presentations, proposals in our industry tend to be way too long – regurgitating everything the buyer has already read on your website and seen in your presentation.
Feel free to include a simple, one-page summary of your capabilities, in the Appendix, but quickly get to the point of the document… a summary of the client’s problem, what you’re going to do to solve it, how your solutions will solve it, the process of making it happen and – of course – the fees and terms of the engagement.
Much like the presentation… less is more. Enough with the jargon and buzzwords, write your proposal so that your 12-year-old daughter could understand it – the more clarity and the less questions, the better.
Include a ‘special offer.’ Occasionally, we’ll see a proposal that includes a financial incentive of some kind… a first-timer discount, a freebie of some kind thrown in, some sort of guarantee, etc. Are these right for you? Maybe, maybe not… but they’re worth considering.
Can you really do what you say you can do?
Perhaps the most compelling information you can deliver – that is, those things that can truly help the buyer make a decision in your favor – are ‘proof sources.’ Those things that say to the buyer, “we don’t just talk the talk, we also walk the walk.” Think about these things and whether you should include them on your website, as a handout during your capabilities presentation or as an attachment to your proposal.
First are the knowledge proof sources – things that showcase your expertise. This could include articles, eBooks, webinars, etc. These kind of things allow you to showcase your knowledge of methodologies, applications and certain industries.
Then there are the client proof sources… those things that convey that “we’ve been doing these kinds of things for a long while with lots of other businesses and we’re pretty good at it.” No buyer wants to feel like they‘re a guinea pig… like they’re the first one!
For this, consider things like a simple listing of clients (with logos is even better), case studies, testimonial quotes with real attributions and a making available a list of references (make sure you get permission first).
How are you doing?
So, you’re focusing on getting first-time clients… terrific! But how is it working out?
One of my favorite sayings in business – and it’s a favorite because it’s so true – is this: “What gets measured gets done.” Let me suggest two ways to measure your business development efforts with new clients:
- The mini-pipeline: Each month, track: # Presentations # Bids vs. # Wins. If you’re getting the opportunity to present, but it’s not leading to many bids, then perhaps your presentation or PowerPoint needs to be tweaked. Likewise, if you’re bidding a lot but not winning many, take a look at your bid package. By the way, the average ‘win rate’ I hear across the industry is 35-40%.
- What happened? If you didn’t win a bid, pick up the phone and ask the buyer, “What happened?” Was the project cancelled… did you lose on cost… did the buyer decide to stay with their current supplier? Track and trend this over time to learn from it and get better.
Bottom line: Successful businesses are built on long-term clients… but you can’t build long-term clients until you have first-time clients. Convincing a business to take a chance with you the very first time is one of the hardest things to do in business… but focus on it, be smart about it and you will find success.