This week I enjoyed talking with a group of sales leaders as we prepared for a Value Alignment Workshop. When we asked the group of sales managers about the challenges they faced, the overwhelming response was, “We struggle with getting our reps to generate net-new business.”
Net-new business is the lifeblood of a business and the energizing force behind a sales team. Without net-new, the sales team becomes order takers. Over time, the team becomes rusty and complacent.
What Is Net-New Business?
I define net-new business as “any new sources of revenue”. New revenue can come from two areas:
- New logos
- New categories of products, services, or solutions sold to current clients
There are only three sources of net-new business:
- Strategic Prospecting to build a relationship funnel with buyers that are not currently looking
- Digital Marketing to engage buyers who are actively looking online
- Cross-Selling current customers who could benefit from additional products and services
Today, let’s focus on #3: earning more business from your current clients. How do you do this? You must earn the right.
ETR – Earn the Right!
This week I learned a great acronym: ETR! Earn the Right!
As sales professionals we must Earn the Right to further engage with our current clients.
On the Selling From the Heart Podcast, Larry Levine and I frequently discuss the difference between sales reps and sales professionals.
- Sales reps close deals and move on. Sales professionals open relationships and follow through.
- Sales reps suffer from low customer retention. Sales professionals enjoy long-term relationships with their clients.
How do you ETR? Here are a few ideas.
Know The Client’s Business Goals
If you’re smart, you’ll open every sales conversation by asking about the prospect’s business goals and challenges. These goals will form the basis for the value that you present. Not only will this help you win the deal, but it will also set the stage for adding additional value and thus selling more products and services. If you understand your client’s business goals and challenges, you can recommend additional products and services to help them achieve their goals. Every business has multiple goals and challenges. I’m willing to bet that you have additional ways you could help.
Regular Business Reviews
The vast majority of salespeople close a deal and then move on. The true sales professional goes back after the deal to review the progress. A Regular (I recommend Quarterly) Business Review provides a regular touchpoint where you can:
- Reconnect with the client’s goals and challenges
- Review your progress in helping them achieve their goals
- Resolve any issues (there are always issues!)
- Recommend additional ways you could help
- Request references
All of this begins with connecting to their business goals. As you earn the right to move from being a vendor to a partner you not only protect your base, you uncover additional opportunities in the account. As a bonus, you can ask for referrals.
Your clients know, like, and trust you for the core products you sell. They may not know about your additional solutions and services. You can certainly discuss these during QBR’s, but smart professionals take it a step further by making sure to always share new ideas. This can happen on your social profiles. It can also happen by sending helpful ideas to your clients.
For example, the other day, I saw an article that I knew would be interesting to one of my long-term clients. I took 2 minutes and emailed it to him. That article helped his business and also opened up a conversation about his net-new business development strategy. I now have an appointment tomorrow to talk to him and his VP of sales about implementing a Strategic Prospecting System!
Are you taking your current client base for granted? Stop! Your top ten clients are your competitions’ top 10 prospects. If you don’t take care of them, someone else will! If you do take care of them, taking the time to understand their business goals and challenges, there is a good chance you’ll earn the right to sell them more!
Originally published on LinkedIn Pulse.