For many, the toughest thing to do in sales is prospecting for new accounts. I have always said that referrals should be the number one prospecting tool. However, sales reps often fail to ask for referrals. I think satisfied clients can wrap up for a rep during a closing presentation. Prospecting should be no different. Sales reps should use their network of success to set appointments for new business calls.
Here is a suggestion that I have for making impactful testimonials. Last Wednesday during a training session with The Ozark Horse Trader (www.ozarkhorsetrader.com) a weekly print/online shopper, I noticed that the sales team was encountering rough spots in getting through to several new prospects. The traditional banging on the door, telephone calls, seeding letters, and other arrows in their quiver were not making the cut. I suggested bringing in the SAMs -- Surface to Air Missiles. The highly targeted missiles that will break through the clutter and get appointments for new business.with a bang!
Since I was out in the field the following day with LPG 2010 Rising Star of the Year Brad Trail, I decided to tee up a few of Brad's customers that I know. We used Brad's iPad to record video testimonials with the intent of using them for prospecting. Our goal was simple: Get three video testimonials between one and two minutes each. Edit them on Friday and have them ready for the sales staff to use in the field on Monday. It would be a quick two-day turnaround. It is hard to stop the "Luce-Trail" (no pun intended) combination when we have a purpose. Maybe you are thinking, "slow down cowboy Sean, we need more time on these." I'm sorry, but this is not a revolutionary technique. We talk about the power of testimonials all the time. It does not matter whether the testimonials are in writing, audio, or video. Why is it so hard to get testimonials done? In most cases, reps do not make the effort, and they are afraid the clients are going resist.
Our tactic was simple. We were going to ask the customer to film the video without giving them advance notice. Occasionally when planning video testimonials, the client will have a chance to think about it. They may decide that they don't want to be on a video cam, or others perceive it as the Academy Awards. The client may spend months preparing for the video testimonial. We wanted it to be spontaneous. We came unannounced to two of the clients. We had five target clients. Brad had two back-up clients in case some of the others did now want to participate.
The iPad was charged, and we were ready. Brad also had his regular list of clients to see on Thursday. I had to coach Brad in the field on his selling techniques in addition to being the producer of the testimonials. We simply made it a part of the sales day.
We were prepared with three questions to ask the clients:
1) What would you tell others about the success that you're having advertising in the Ozark Horse Trader?
2) What specific results have you seen advertising in the Ozark Horse Trader?
3) Why do you advertise each week in the Ozark Horse Trader? (We preach consistency and not scattershot "spray and pray").
Bonus Question: What would you say about your sales rep Brad Trail? (One client said if Brad quit bringing in the moonshine, he would quit advertising with him.) Ah.good point. Client favors are important in sales! J
So, did all of the clients want to do it? No. We got to four last Thursday and two out of four really didn't want to do it for various reasons. To Brad's credit, he hangs on like a rabid dog just like in his closings. He told his clients that the purpose was to help him get inside new doors in his territory. He was soliciting their help. Who could really turn him down? No one did! When reps take care of their clients and service the living daylights out of them, they find it difficult to turn them down. Once on camera, the clients did a great job, and were very appreciative that they were asked to be in this feature.
On Friday, we edited the video, and it came to 1:40 minutes with a brief introduction. Here is how we are using these video testimonials:
1) Open new doors with prospects. Simply ask the new prospect, "I have an idea. I need two minutes. Could you spare two minutes? It might be the most important two minutes you have ever invested in marketing?" Once you show the video, then simply ask them, "Maybe we can have that same kind of success with your company that we are having with these clients. I would like to set up an appointment for 15 to 20 minutes and find out if there is a fit between our companies. I have.. (Name the dates and times you are available.)"
2) For prospects who will not see you or are out of town, send over the link on email and then follow up with them to make sure that they have seen it. It's a door opener!
3) Use it during closing presentations. There is nothing more powerful than having clients close prospects!
When you look at the video testimonial http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TkO_9GXOW3E for the Ozark Horse Trader, remember this is rural Missouri. The whole North Korean Army couldn't take a square mile of territory from the people of the Ozarks!
Set up some targets this week. Use your iPad, tablet, or smart phone and get to work. There are new prospects waiting to be on your media company right now! Go show them the money, I mean the video! Testimonials are no good unless you use them!