I talk to producers every day who feel a sense of urgency to “get back out there” and quickly find more new business. Many have admitted to being a bit rusty, so over the next year I will focus on cleaning, polishing and sharpening your sales ax.

I spend my days helping smart, motivated producers be more effective with their time, energy and effort. To put it another way, I help ensure you spend less time barking up the wrong tree.

The practical application of my sales philosophy can be broken into three buckets: thinking, language and process. To find, qualify and close more of the right kinds of new business more quickly, it’s essential to work on becoming more disciplined in your thinking, your written and spoken language, and your process for engaging new prospects.

This can be done more quickly and effectively if you are willing to embrace your unique value, communicate in a more low-key and genuine manner, and do a better job taking the lead in the sales process from a position of strength and equality.

I find subject-matter experts responsible for new business development discount their unique value. This is all between the ears. In this current business climate, it’s easy to get caught in a mindset that I call one-down or “v-V” (value-VALUE).

When your mind gets clouded by fear and dismisses your unique value, you will procrastinate and get kicked around by your prospects. It doesn’t matter how sharp your website is. Your organization’s decades of experience won’t help you. That sharp little sales roadmap reminder in your wallet won’t do you much good if your mind is not in the right place. Get your mind right, shifting from “v-V” (one-down) to “V-V” (equality), and you’ll talk more effectively and lead the sales process, resulting in more of the right kinds of new business.

As you vie for people’s attention, the following three tips will help you be clearer and more compelling and ensure improved response rates.

Frame your value in your prospect’s world. Think about why people buy from you. Frame your value proposition in ways your prospect cares about. Stop telling them how awesome you are. It’s annoying. For someone to be a fit for you, learn:

  • What they might be struggling with
  • What they are looking to achieve
  • What they need to be open to.

Not everyone is a good client for you. Create a few bullets and talking points based on your answers above. Paint a picture that prospects can quickly relate to, and you’ll have more quality conversations.

Your excitement won’t help you sell. In all of your outreach to prospects, even the smallest word makes a difference. Assumptive and excited language will get you avoided and lied to. Be more aware of phrases such as:

  • “We are excited about the chance to show you how we can help you.”
  • “We would love the chance…”
  • “We look forward to hearing from you!”
  • “Thank you for the opportunity!”
  • “Please get back to me.”

When you don’t know someone, these words can come across as assumptive and needy. This is subtle but puts you in a position of weakness and can scare people away. Relax. Stay cool. Be yourself.

Your prospects’ approach to negotiating stinks. When considering a new relationship, your prospects typically focus on getting a comprehensive proposal and free ideas from you while withholding important information. They try to keep control of your conversation and put you on the defensive. They can be noncommittal and ambiguous. Sound familiar?

These prospects aren’t bad people. They’re just afraid. They fear being taken advantage of, looking stupid, or making someone mad. This is what you’re up against. To sell more of the right kinds of new business, you have to be clear, strong and disciplined about your process for engaging prospective clients.

Two things you can do immediately to keep some control of the conversation with your prospects:

  • Don’t share pricing, quotes or proposals in the first couple of conversations. Slow down. 
  • Ask five key questions early and often: Why change? Why now? What matters most? Who else cares? What did you like?

Over the coming months I’m going to focus on ideas and content that are tangible and easy to apply in your day-to-day world. I will sprinkle in some humor to make sure you’re paying attention, and I might occasionally stumble upon something profound. I will do my best not to make you cry.
Start thinking about ways you can be more disciplined in your thinking, language and process for developing the right kinds of new business. I’ll be along for the ride with you all year. Let’s get to it.