Issue Date: Sales Success Jan 15, 2009, Posted On: 1/15/2009
Prospecting for car buyers in a down market - a better way Prospecting for car buyers in a down market is no different than prospecting in stronger markets. It is still a behavior, a discipline - doing what you have to do, even when you do not want to do it. The only difference is that you may have to invest more time in sales prospecting in a slow market.
Prospecting can be time consuming in itself, but when business is slow, it is even more time consuming as sales prospects seem to be harder to find. Therefore, more time invested in prospecting is required. If you did ten daily prospecting calls before, you may now have to do twenty to get the same results.
However, besides investing time, there is a better way to get the same or better results when it comes to prospecting. But first, you have to do your homework. You need to know what your sales prospects should look like - you need to profile them so that you can take a targeted prospecting approach and not a shot gun approach. It is the shot gun approach that is time consuming and does not get you the sales prospecting results you are looking for.
A, B, and C customers In a targeted prospecting strategy you need to define the criteria for three customer levels - A, B, and C. The 80/20 rule states that 80 percent of your sales come from 20 percent of your prospects. That 20 percent would be considered as your "A" or absolute customers, because they provide you with 80% of your revenues. Without them, you would be out of business. What criteria best describes your A customers? Is it profitability, loyalty, margin, volume, brand, relationship? Note your answers. Then you need to proceed with the same question for the next level of prospecting - "B" or beneficial customers. So, what is the sales criteria for your "B" level of customers? How are they distinguished from A customers? Note your answers. You can then proceed with what is the sales criteria for your next level of customers - "C" or convenient customers? How are they distinguished from B customers? You may find that most of your prospecting activities are probably to "C" or convenient customers, as most sales people invest 80% of their sales prospecting time where they get 20% of the revenues.
So, do the opposite and focus your sales prospecting activities on the A customers. Once your sales criteria is defined for each level of customer, go to your sales database and using the sales criteria, identify your existing customers as A, B or C. Separate the A customers and create their profile based on the information on hand. You will find that there is something different about them, compared to the Bs and Cs. What is that difference? Who are the A prospects out there that are not presently doing business with you? Do the same with the B customers and identify the prospects for your B category in the marketplace. Also, look at your existing B customers who have potential to become As.
Prospecting can be fun and most rewarding for sales results when you invest the time and plan your approach.