Brenda Smith has been very successful at getting existing customers to upgrade or purchase new copiers during the past two months. She is, however, disappointed in her efforts to get new customers. To add more new customers, Brenda has been spending a great deal of time prospecting. These efforts have produced a large number of leads. Once she generates a lead, she contacts the firm and tries to set up an appointment.
Unfortunately, most of these leads are not interested in talking about copiers and are not willing to schedule a meeting with her. This has been so frustrating that she decided to make several cold calls this week to see if this would be a good way to get to meet with prospective customers. The cold calls were also not very successful and were extremely time consuming. Brenda did finally get a few leads to agree to meet with her, but these appointments were not very productive. The leads were typically satisfied with the copiers they were using and were not interested in learning about NCC copiers.
Pat Brady, her sales manager, accompanied her on a recent sales call to a lead. After the sales call, Pat expressed his disappointment that they had really wasted their time with this meeting. Pat then asked Brenda about her prospecting process because it was clear that she was not identifying and spending her time with the best sales opportunities. Her approach was not working well and was taking a lot of time. If she continued doing the same things, Brenda was not likely to generate many new customers and might lose some existing customers because she was spending too much of her time prospecting. Brenda realizes that she must improve her prospecting process, but is not sure exactly how to proceed.
During the past three months, Brenda had improved her prospecting process. She was identifying more prospects that represented better sales opportunities. Brenda knew that it was important to plan her sales calls in advance to maximize the time she spent in face-to-face selling. In this selling environment, most customers were not interested in all of the features of Brenda’s products. Brenda had to determine what was important to each customer and customize her presentations accordingly. Further, she had to clearly communicate the benefits of her products, and not overwhelm potential buyers with too much technical language.
Assume that Brenda has an appointment with EFP, a nonprofit organization that raises money to promote environmentally friendly practices such as recycling. The organization uses e-mail, Web-based communications, and direct mail campaigns to reach potential donors. EFP is currently using an older-generation copy machine that frequently needs maintenance. When EFP needs high-quality color copies, they rely on a local company to produce the copies. This works fairly well, although sometimes there are delays in getting the copies back from the local copy shop. EFP has a fax machine. Although it is rarely used, EFP’s management has told Brenda that a fax capability is important for communicating with some clients.
Currently, EFP does not have a good way of scanning documents. This is a big problem, as using scanned documents in client e-mails is increasingly preferred. Given these circumstances, Brenda believes that EFP could benefit from a multifunction printer. A multifunction printer consolidates the functionality of a printer, copier, scanner, and fax machine into one machine. EFP has agreed to consider a multifunction printer, but their management is concerned about cost and the reliance on a single machine if there are breakdowns.
1, What is Brenda doing wrong? What would you recommend Brenda do to improve her prospecting efforts?
- Explain the strategi prospecting process to Brenda and discuss how she can implement it.
- What secondary lead sources would you recommend Brenda use to identify the best attorneys, architects, accountants, and medical professionals as prospects?
- What specific types of information should Brenda obtain before contacting a qualified prospect?
- How could Brenda use social selling to improve her strategic prospecting?
- Using an Internet search engine, find the general benefits of multifunction printers. You might enter “benefits of multifunction printers” in the search engine, or examine data from copier providers such as Ricoh, Canon, or Xerox to find these benefits. List 5 to 6 potential benefits of a digital copier to EFP.
- From the listing developed above, select three benefits. For each benefit, write a sentence or two that Brenda might use to communicate those benefits during sales calls with EFP.
- For the three benefits listed above, describe what information Brenda should have on hand when she makes the sales call on the EFP buyer. Also describe how this information would be best communicated, i.e. what support materials will Brenda need to enhance her verbal communications?
- Assume that the buyer acknowledged the value in at least two of the benefits identified in #7. Write a realistic buyer-seller dialogue of Brenda’s interaction with the EFP buyer concerning these benefits.