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Updated 30 Mar 2020

Sales is a contact sport

If you do not know who you are contacting and why, don’t try to sell.

Entrepreneur Magazine, Lorna Powe , 02 April 2012  Share  0 comments  Print

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During my time owning businesses both here and in Europe I've noticed that people take many approaches in the contact aspect of sales. Some phone anybody and charge in assuming that anyone will buy.

Some do months of research before they even determine what to sell. I've noticed that those that focus on a specific product and market are those that turn their businesses into a success. What is it you have to do to be able to be a sales success?

If we look at business in South Africa today what is it that those who have taken their business from being an Entrepreneur to being a larger Company have done?

From a sales perspective you will see that they have contacted people. The right people, those that have the money to spend on their products and services.

One of the local household names is Ina Paarman. She started teaching cooking and then moved to her own business doing the same, starting with just 6 pupils she managed to get onto the TV demonstrating cooking, and from there, classes were oversubscribed.

He reputation grew and she became the Food editor for Femina, from there on to other media and suddenly there was a brand name of 'Ina Paarman'.

Making contact

We are not all able or want to be on TV or in the media - what can we do to contact people more effectively?

  • Understand the 'pain' that you are resolving for the people in your market. Then find a way to tell them how to resolve it. A workshop or talk is a good option as you personally can talk to a lot of people at the same time and you have a list of qualified leads at the end. Do this regularly and you will have a database of people you know are qualified leads.
  • Find out where your market goes to network. Offer to help to organize events for that network, get on to the committee or provide a service for free for them. This way you will get to all the people in that network through your activities. People will get to know you and what you do. People sell to people. People buy from people.
  • Understand your market. Who are they? What kind of Company? What is their income? Do they have children? What are their issues? What do they like to do? Where do they go? Get to know as much as you can. You can then focus on your target market and determine the aspects of your product or service that they will be interested in. This enables you to be meaningful and pertinent in your discussions about your product or service.

What do all of these have in common? Each one is about contacting the people in your market in some way that will interest them.

The more people you can gather together to listen to you, or read your material, the more people will start to know who you are and what you do. People talk to other people and so the information and your brand spread.

Can I do 'contacting' only by electronic methods?

Contact really means talking to people by phone, or face to face. There are exceptions to this: Facebook is proof of that. Generally this depends on the stage of your business in the growth cycle.

With the consumer protection act we have to be careful not to SPAM; email can be considered an intrusive medium to use for contacting.

That leaves Social Media, and this may not be appropriate to all products and services. Certainly it should not be used as the ONLY medium to contact people.

In selling the message is clear: contact your prospects regularly.


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Entrepreneur Magazine, Lorna Powe

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