… but kudos goes to those that can build a consistent sales pipeline.

I love the art of selling but could care less for sales-type movies. These movies always sensationalize desperate salespeople in desperate situations doing desperate things. And while the 1992 movie Glengarry Glen Ross is no different, I really liked this picture. The “Coffee Is for Closers” scene is one of my favorites. Alec Baldwin’s character and sales superstar, Blake, yells these words at Sheldon, played by Jack Lemmon, as he makes his way to the coffeemaker during a so-called sales pep talk. Sheldon fires back, “The leads are weak!

“No, Sheldon, you are weak!,” says Blake.

No More Cold Calling

Gone are the days of making 50 phone calls to generate one sales lead. No-one answers the phone anymore. Gone are the days of knocking on company doors. No one is working at the front desk, even if you get through the secured front door. Too often, I hear people tell me they’d have no problem closing the deal if only they could get in front of the client. As if as the real skill is closing the deal when actually, it is in getting in front of the client.

No More Formal Sales Training

Gone are the days of a formal sales training program lasting one or two years. My first employer out of college sent me to New York City for a year to get sales training. Most left the company within five years.

5 Updated Client Acquisition Tactics

So, given the changing landscape of the today’s world, lets also leave ‘coffee is for closers’ in the past where it belongs, and look at a few modern ways to get in front of clients and prospects. Our world has changed significantly since this Glengarry Glen Ross was released. However, there are still too many Blakes in the world shouting the same old insults, and too many Sheldons are still complaining about the weak leads. Ditch the 90’s playbook and try these five ways to get in front of clients.

  1. Participate In a Networking Group: Many salespeople are joining networking groups and scheduling one-on-one meetings in hopes of finding a way of selling their wares. Some people I have met have joined dozens of these groups. That’s good and bad too. This approach gets you in front of a lot of people, but it stretches you too thin. You do not have the chance to really get to know people and build relationships. After all, today’s buyers are doing business with people they know and trust, and this takes time.Choose a handful of networking groups that align with your business and find ways to give to the group.
    Joining the planning committee or take on a leadership role that allows you to get to know the individuals in the group. The givers of the group are the ones more likely to give you high-quality contacts when they see you giving to the group as well.
  2. Demonstrate Your Expertise: Keep in mind that 60% of buyers research what they need before contacting the provider of goods and services. Make it a point to be top-of-mind when they do need your services. One way to do this is to have a good digital footprint. Write blog posts about topics relating to your industry or product, share trends, give tips and share valuable insights both in your blog and in social posts.  Being generous with the information you provide builds trust and credibility with your prospective clients.Today’s buyers research products and services on-line before reaching out to any sellers. They use referrals and testimonials they find on social and reviews sites to guide them to the best suppliers for the goods and services they are seeking. By the time they reach out to providers, they already have 60% of the information they need before deciding on where to purchase the items they need so your digital footprint should cpture them when they are seeking answers to questions about the type of goods and services you sell.
  3. Show Your Company’s Personality: A fancy word for this is brand management. Whether you realise it or not, you DO have a brand. It’s how customers perceive you or your company. Think peanut fares at Southwest Airlines and flight attendants cracking jokes. Chick-fil-A is famous for being closed on Sundays because it believes in workers spending time with their families. It’s good to tell your clients what you stand for, but it’s even better to show them consistently with your messaging.
  4. Update Your Website Regularly: Fewer things give a buyer more hesitation than an outdated website or having no website at all. When someone represents a business unfamiliar to me, I immediately look to see if they have a website. I look at the the About Us and Blog page. I want to know how engaged your company is and what’s trending in its space. Old and outdated articles send the wrong message.
  5. Answer Inquiries Promptly and Sincerely: This part seems easy, but many companies need to improve in this area. One statistic states that 90% of buyers purchase from the first person who responds to an inquiry. In addition to showing promptness, the first responder has an easier time demonstrating value since no one went before you. To the buyer, all your moves are new.

I get the feeling that somewhere, Blake is rolling his eyes at this list of updated ways to ‘get a foot in the door’.  The gratification is not as instant as the cold call. However today, successful organizations realize that developing a sales ecosystem and a deliberate sales process is paramount to sustained sales. Do these five things today, and you will cultivate a consistent sales pipeline in no time.