Most dedicated thorough and half intelligent sales people can 'find' customers. As long as they are hard-working, not scared of research and know their product inside out, 'finding' customers will happen. The question is will it happen enough for them to make their targets? Or to get a bit extra money, recognition or promotion? 'Finding' customers is a useful, basic skill. But in addition to that skill you need to develop another skill – that of 'making' customers, so, that if there are not enough “natural” customers on your territory to 'find' you can still eat well!
Most prospects are neither wildly enthusiastic about your product or set dead against it. Most are in some state of passivity. For example, they could live without your product but at the same time benefit from buying it. So, apart from finding those few prospective customers who wake up desperate for your product, you’ve got to make those passive customers excited enough to (a) listen to you and then (b) buy your product.
'Making' customers was what we used to call 'productivity'. That word, productivity, perfectly sums up the activity. It suggest 'making' something, rather than waiting for something to happen. It suggests that the power to create, produce customers and sales is within you. This means your sales figures are not at the mercy of external forces that you have no control over, such as weather, territory issues, customer/prospect availability etc.
When, as a young salesperson, I felt the stress of sales targets, I was always comforted when the regional manager sent us out every morning with the instruction to 'make' customers. It made me feel like it was within my power, that it was up to me to 'produce' sales.
So, I thought to myself, what are the resources I have at my disposal that will help me 'make' sales.
1. The Product
2. The features and benefits of that product
3. The territory
4. My own enthusiasm
5. My listening skills
6. My presentation skills
7. My knowledge of the possible objections and the answers to them
8. My presentability
9. My experience
10. Others experience which I had learned from.
When you think about it, you have many resources at your disposal. I used these resources as tools, as if I was chipping away at a block of stone and chipping it with the tools into the shape of a customer!
When I’d done that, I really felt like I had achieved something, like I had 'produced' something, like I’d 'made' a customer.
By Bob Smith who has worked in sales for more than 30 years, works as an experienced recruiter, trainer & motivator and is also a published author of both children’s and adult titles.