Dream accounts are those high potential prospects that would have a huge impact on sales and compensation. Every printing salesperson and printing company owner has at least one dream account within their local geography. It is in these accounts that there is a perfect fit and large potential for what the print provider sells.
Since most dream accounts are non-customers or significantly under-penetrated accounts, there is generally a large investment of time required for the salesperson to generate business. Even when things are going well and the printing salesperson has the right set of products and services, large potential dream accounts can get stalled due to ever changing decision makers, low sense of urgency, paralysis through analysis, and endless negotiations.
Five Strategies to Penetrate Dream Accounts
1. Pick the Right Target
Targeting the right account minimizes start-up and increases the likelihood of success. This is the crucial first step. Assuming the account has lots of potential, here are some key questions that should be answered:
• Do we have a product or service where value can be demonstrated to the customer?
• Can we quickly fulfill the customer’s needs with our products or services?
• Is the buying decision relatively simple?
• Is there a low risk for the customer to make a change?
• Are there outside issues such as downsizing or outsourcing that would keep the customer from making a decision?
2. Get Personal
This step should not be missed. Once the account is picked, every method should be made to understand the company and its market. Then ask yourself, “Can anyone in my network make an introduction?”
This is a great time to use your social media contacts. LinkedIn is not the only tool, but it is a great one. Learning how to use its features is a huge time saver and an effective way to quickly network into a dream account.
Simply using the search feature within Linkedin can be a fast track to identifying the right decision maker. Identifying contacts that are either currently employed or have worked in the past at targeted accounts is a strategy used by successful salespeople.
3. Upgrade Your Pitch
For your dream account, create and practice a series of potential customized opening statements. These statements must be perfectly tailored to the account and person you are trying to reach. For instance, you may say to a hospital, “I am calling to share with you a new idea on how to use direct mail to create local awareness for your new diagnostic lab.”
Most business professionals welcome good ideas that can help them in their business. Statements that address serious issues such as inventory, cash flow, marketing, new customers, security, databases, ROI, or cost and supply chain can quickly gain the attention of a prospective buyer.
4. Find Your Champion
Finding an internal champion to help support the sales effort is a vital prerequisite in penetrating a dream account. It is this person who helps the salesperson navigate the decision process. It is a rare big deal that is closed without at least one strong internal champion.
Champions can be executives, mid-level managers, or even lower level end users. Finding and then building trust with your champion is an important accomplishment in the sales process. Quite often it’s the personal relationship with a champion, in addition to a value added business solution, that makes the difference.
5. Take Advantage of the “Golden”
Dream accounts are often won or lost in one sales call. The objective of any salesperson is to get in front of customers who can make decisions and influence outcomes. Sometime it takes just one call and other times it takes many calls. Making the face-to-face sales call must be thought of as the key marketing event in penetrating a dream account.
Outside of a threat of an existing account defection, nothing else should take precedence in the use of a salesperson’s time. This is where dream accounts are won.
The steps to a successful sales call always include a well-crafted customer value proposition, a thorough review of the customer’s situation, effectively listening and handling objections, and then closing for the next logical step of the sales process.
What is Your Dream Account?
We may have friends who work there. Perhaps we read about them or pass right by them on the freeway when we go to visit clients. We all should have at least one dream account. Gaining their attention, developing them as a prospect, closing them, and supporting them are the challenges. But the payoff is big and clearly worth the effort.
As the great track star Jesse Owens once said, “In order to make dreams come into reality, it takes an awful lot of determination, dedication, self-discipline, and effort.”
Joe Rickard is a training leader and consultant who works with printing and technology companies in the graphic arts to improve their sales and operational effectiveness. He is the founder of Intellective Solutions, a provider of customized sales, operational, and sales management training material and services. Contact him at 845-753-6156, firstname.lastname@example.org or visit MyPRINTResource.com/10164219.