I spend 99% of my time training agents how to sell anyone. However, it is important to understand your market and answer the questions, “Who should I sell?” “Who is in my market?” and “How, specifically should I approach my market?” In this article I will talk about basic market segment ideas and how to maximize your time in the field by attempting to sell the right people. Today I am going to provide a basic marketing strategy and the actions necessary to execute this strategy in your area. Keep in mind that everything I talk about doing is time consuming but free. Don’t allow this project to eat up time when you should be out in the field. Rather, schedule some evening time over the course of several weeks to complete these tasks.
1. Get out a map and draw a circle twenty to thirty miles around your current location. Take a few minutes to analyze this area and answer the following questions:
A. Is my market generally rural or heavily populated?
B. What are the three or four largest cities inside this circle?
C. Are there any areas with which I am not familiar? (If so, schedule a time to drive through these areas and see what is there.)
2. Highlight the name of each city. Go online to build a list with each city’s name and the corresponding zip code. This list must contain every single zip code touched by the circle. There are several online tools you can use to get a list of zip codes inside a certain radius from an address.
3. Go to the agent info center and use the lead wizard to download a list of all the businesses in those specific zip codes. You may download up to 5,000 records for free with address, phone number, business name, zip code, etc.
4. Pick the closest rural city to your home (or the least populated city if your entire area is urban), and start with this city. Copy and paste all the businesses from the lead wizard in this zip code over to a separate spreadsheet. Go through them one by one on the spreadsheet. Highlight active accounts and delete corporate locations like Walmart, Pizza Hut, etc. Also delete professional locations like lawyers offices, dentists, and any other businesses you feel are not worth your time.
5. Start by either cold calling or walking into each business on this list, depending on your particular selling strengths. Either way, the idea is to find the people who are interested in your service right off the bat. Don’t spend a lot of time with those who are not interested on this first run through of the list. Just make a good impression; leave your card; make some notes for the next visit; and move on.
6. If you are scheduling appointments over the phone, make sure you also go to the three to ten businesses that are closest to each lead. Use this line, “I was over talking to Bob at XYZ company. I thought I should also swing by here and find out who you are using for your processing needs?”
7. Once you have called through or visited the entire list and gotten in contact with the majority of these business owners, make sure you have updated notes on each business. Then move on to the zip code which is closest to the city you just completed. Repeat this process three to ten times or until you have at least twenty accounts in a small geographic area. If you get through all the businesses within ten zip codes but don’t have twenty accounts yet, that’s fine. Move on to step eight anyway.
8. Go back to the first city where all of your clients should be actively processing. Go through each street, one business at a time, taking careful notes on your spreadsheet.
9. From this point, your strategy slows down. Use your active client list as a reference to set yourself apart from the competition. Your thought now should be that you want to sell every single business at some point. Could be today; could be later in the week, the month or the year. But you are going to get them eventually. Approach each interaction accordingly with professionalism. In my next article, I will discuss the sales pipeline and how to manage it. This goes hand in hand with the marketing strategy, so make sure you check back for this one.
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