Tracy Crevar Warren
Tracy Crevar Warren

Three Easy Steps to Win More Business

Sales made simple with this proven technique.

July 13, 2009
by Tracy Crevar Warren

“We have a game plan for conducting an audit and one for the complex tax return, but wouldn’t it be nice if there were a simple roadmap to help us when we are selling?” a professional recently remarked. Good news. There is.

Many professionals think sales are best won by the slick-talking salesperson who wears down the prospect with words. That is hardly the case in the business world today. If you went into the accounting industry to avoid selling — take note. It’s not as bad as you might think.

Selling professional services involves being a good listener and finding solutions to problems in an organized fashion, just like an audit or tax return. If you think about it, that is exactly what CPAs do best. So take comfort in knowing you are already equipped with many of the skills you need to succeed at selling. All you need to do is organize your actions.

Start With a Sales PDA

PDAs are all the rage today. What would we do without our beloved BlackBerrys, iPhones and Palms to organize our lives? Think about the Sales PDA as a tool to help you organize your sales activities. The Sales PDA is a simple tool to help you organize your sales efforts easily and effectively and win more new business. The best news is it is F-R-E-E! No activation fees or roaming charges. Sound too easy? That is the whole point. It is simple and it works!

Three Simple Steps

Business development is not complicated, so don’t make it complicated. The secret is to be prepared and persistent. That is exactly what the Sales PDA helps you do.

First, let’s take a look at the Sales PDA. It is a simple formula or roadmap for organizing your sales activities. PDA is short for the three simple steps involved in any successful sales pursuit.

PPrior to the Call
DDuring the Call
AAfter the Call

Reader Alert: Get your very own Sales PDA.

The beauty of this tool is that it is not only easy to remember but easy to put to work for your individual style. You will be amazed at the power of this old-school tool.

Getting Started

As you prepare for your next sales opportunity, give the Sales PDA a try. Gather your pursuit team and use it as a guide to plan your actions. Consider what you need to know before you go on the call. Let this checklist guide your pre-call actions.

Prior to the Call

  • Who will you take on the first call, who will they involve?
  • Research the organization;
  • What similar clients do you currently serve — what successes have you helped them to achieve?
  • Determine mutual connections;
  • Have you proposed on the work in the past?
  • Determine who will play what role on the call;
  • Develop an agenda and key objectives; and
  • Prepare 20 questions — you may not need them all but they will get you started.

In an earlier article, I addressed the power of questions in winning
new business.

Showcase Your Strengths

Whether you realize it or not, a potential client bases their decision to hire you on how you present yourself on a sales call. Besides a recommendation, it is all they have to know what it might be like to do business with you. When you show your appreciation for their time by being organized and prepared, it will say miles about your management style. By asking powerful questions you demonstrate not only a genuine interest in your potential client, but it also helps them consider new ways to address current issues, thereby separating yourself from the competition.

During the Call

Now it’s time to put the results of your pre-call planning into action. Just follow this outline as you walk through the call.

  • Make introductions and state your purpose for the meeting;
  • Reference any common connections;
  • Respect the buyer’s time — confirm your time frame;
  • Ask questions and encourage them to talk;
  • Don’t be quick to respond — Listen, Listen, Listen;
  • Restate your understanding of their answers;
  • Help them understand how you can help them solve their problems and accomplish their goals;
  • Share examples and stories of how you have helped similar clients; and
  • If you want the business let them know — determine next steps.

After the Call
Your work is not complete until you debrief each sales call. Gather your team to uncover answers to these questions.

  • Is there currently an opportunity to do business with the prospect?
  • Do you want the prospect as a client?
  • What will you need to demonstrate to the prospect to retain them as a client?
  • What objections will you need to overcome?
  • Did you promise anything to the prospect in the meeting — references, checklists?
  • What are the next steps to move the call along?

Be Patient, Persistent

It is important to understand that the sales process takes more than a meeting or two to yield a new client. Don’t expect to get a signed engagement letter on that first call. The initial meetings are usually about getting to know each other and gaining an understanding of whether each feels comfortable placing their trust with the other. Stay focused. Remember, your main objective in sales is to move the process along during each meeting, ultimately positioning your team to win the business. Patience and persistence are the keys.

At last, a simple roadmap to help you win more business. Not only is it simple and free, but it produces results. So put it to work on your next sales call and reap the rewards!

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Tracy Crevar Warren, president and founder of The Crevar Group, advises professional services firms striving to grow and maximize performance. She is an author and frequent speaker on various growth, business development, and marketing topics for local, regional, national, and international audiences. Warren can be reached at 336-889-GROW (4769). The Sales PDA is a tool developed by The Crevar Group. For more information, contact Tracy Crevar Warren.