Jim Domanski

Jim Domanski is President of Teleconcepts Consulting, a firm that helps businesses and individuals use the telephone more effectively to generate leads and sell more product. Focusing exclusively on outbound, business to business tele-sales, Jim provides both consulting and training services to clients in the US, Canada and Europe. A dynamic speaker and presenter, he is also the author of three highly successful books on tele-sales skills and strategies. For more information visit his web site at teleconceptsconsulting.com or call 613-591-1998.


Add-On Selling by Jim Domanski

Add-On Selling: How to Squeeze Every Last Ounce of Sales Potential From Your Calls by Jim Domanski


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Transforming Your Sales Force for the 21st Century
The book, written for sales managers and executives in the distribution industry, provides a blue print for executives to transform their sales forces into highly directable, effective, focused performers.
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The Rule of 7 ~ How to Build Mindshare
and Prospect More Effectively

by Jim Domanski

How often do you follow up with a prospect? Do you make one call and hope that it's enough? Two? Three? Four follow ups?

Is there a magic number of follow ups that will increase your chances of sales success when prospecting?

Yes. The magic number appears to by seven.

The Rule of 7

The Rule of 7 is a fairly well known marketing concept which says: a prospect needs to see, hear, or otherwise be exposed to a message at least seven times before they respond in some way, shape or form. In other words, if you don't have a prospecting contact strategy that touches the prospect at least seven times, you significantly reduce your odds of sales success.

The Quick and Easy

When you think about it the Rule of 7 makes sense in today's hectic and overly competitive market place. Prospects are inundated with vendors who are looking for a quick and easy sale. They call once or twice... maybe three times... and give up. The average prospect has learned that the average vendor is not interested in a relationship but rather interested in a quick and easy transaction. Typically "quick and easy" translates into "quick and sleazy." Prospects truly want relationships but very few sales reps are willing to take the steps to court the them. Prospects know this and so they shy away from vendors.

The Devil they Know

Knowing this, prospects tend to stick with their existing vendors or sales reps not necessarily because the incumbent is particularly good or effective but rather because it is "better the devil you know." Put another way, the alternative vendor doesn't seem to be overly enticing.

Mindshare

Logic tells us that the Rule of 7 cannot help but build a degree of familiarity about the sales rep, his company and his products. This is called "mindshare." Mindshare means the portion of the prospect's "buying mind" that you own or that you create. If you have a 1% mindshare (the prospect barely knows you because you made only one or two attempts) the odds of advancing or getting a sale are proportional. If you increase the mindshare to say, 60%, you significantly increase your odds of success. It is common sense: familiarity breeds a degree of trust. Trust can blossom into a sale.

4 Steps to Building Mindshare

1. Define Your Target
It is all nice and well to say build a relationship with a prospect but a strategy of seven contacts takes time and effort. It cannot be done for all prospects all the time. The first step in effective prospecting is to identify your target market and determine who is worthy of your courtship. Typically, these are larger prospects with the potential of a bigger payoff. Or it might be a prestigious client whose name would look good in your list of clients. Or, if you are brand new and building up your book of business or territory it might be "everyone." The point here is this: think about it.

2. Build a Mindshare Library
Perhaps the most important component to building mindshare is having the tools or resources that leave an impression on the client. Of course, business collateral material such as brochures, letters, newsletters, bulletins and pamphlets are a given. They educate the client about your capabilities but you cannot rely entirely upon business literature simply because all your competitors do the same thing.

An effective mindshare library also means having material that goes above and beyond the business side of the equation. For instance, scan industry magazines, e-zine, and the internet in search of information and articles that could be sent to the prospect. This is information that the client might find of value or interest. Ultimately, it creates an impression of a conscientious sales rep who goes the extra step. Keep copies of these articles in files or in your computer and collect them on a regular basis. Use them when appropriate.

Most importantly, a mindshare library should also have items that reflect you as an individual. This is probably the one thing that the average sales rep ignores, forgets or doesn't understand. For instance, a small "Thank you" card is an old fashioned yet still powerful way to create an impression and set you apart. I have seen personal mindshare libraries that features recipes (e.g., sending a prospect a recipe for the holiday season), post cards, books (on goal setting, leadership, golf, inspiration, cooking etc.), spices (I use a seasoning salt from time to time); virtually anything that is tasteful and reflects a sense of you. It does not have to be elaborate or expensive. For example, a rep recently sent a prospect a small calculator with a note that said "Eric, this is to help you calculate the hours I can save you…" Quaint, funny, practical and above all, effective. Most sales reps would not do this but it is critical. At the end of the day, people still do buy from people they like.

Lastly, whether a prospect looks at the material you send or simply trashes it, you and your company still make an impression at a conscious or a subconscious level. You have, at some level, created an impression that begins to build mindshare.

3. Use Multiple Mediums
Use a variety of mediums when employing the Rule of 7. Use e-mail, fax, direct mail, courier service, the telephone and, if appropriate, a visit. Mix them up; orchestrate them. The key point is this: do not get dependent on a single medium. Sending seven e-mails or leaving seven voice mails is not building a relationship. That's stalking. By varying the medium you have a greater chance of catching the eye of the prospect. It gets through the clutter and forces the prospect to "interact" with you at different levels. Of course, it is vital that you ensure that you have an opportunity for two way dialog. This means using the phone (or perhaps a visit) in order to create a conversation. Sending or faxing or e-mailing material without connecting it to your voice or to your presence is not nearly as effective.

4. Schedule the Relationship
The last step in the Rule of 7 is to schedule the contacts. Here is a heavy dose of reality and here is where patience also comes in. Typically it takes about 4-6 months for the prospect to determine that you are the "real deal" and establish a relationship. This doesn't necessarily mean you will get a sale right then and there but it will mean you have established a degree of mind share; you are serious contender. On the other hand, it does not necessarily mean that it will take four to six months before a sale occurs either. It can and often will happen in less time. So much depends on the nature of the business, your products, the prospect, and competitors.

What gets scheduled tends to get done. Figure out what you want to send and precisely when you will send it. You don't have to schedule six months of contact. You can make your time frame six weeks and still apply the Rule of 7. But be careful. You don't want to inundate a prospect with loads and loads of information. That's overkill and it can work against you. Be judicious. Put yourself in their shoes. A good rule of thumb is to never let more than two weeks go by without a contact.

Summary

In many cases, you will not need the Rule of 7. Many prospects will respond prior to that. The Rule of 7 is a guide or a rule of thumb that says one, two, three or four contacts may not be enough. If you think longer term and develop a plan of attack, you will create more relationships. Give it a try. After all, seven is a lucky number.

If you want more to learn more about these types of sales techniques then be sure to order Add On Selling by Jim.

 
 
Transforming Your Sales Force for the 21st Century
Transforming Your Sales Force for the 21st Century
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Distribution companies, by their nature, should be sales-oriented companies. But, most distributors don't do sales very well. That's the premise behind this new book.

The book, written for sales managers and executives in the distribution industry, provides a blue print for executives to transform their sales forces into highly directable, effective, focused performers.

The book begins with an analysis of current conditions that pressure the distributor to revise the way he/she thinks about his sales force. Kahle then paints a picture of the distributor sales force of the future. The sales force will be:
  1. more specialized
  2. more directable
  3. more flexible
  4. more professional
  5. more productive.
His advice begins with "See it as a system," a concept that is based on one of the key principles for the book, "When you change the structure, you change the behavior of the people who work within that structure."
 
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