Every time I meet with a prospective client, I have the same questions. When we decide that the fit is right and we work together, I take those questions and dive deeper.
These ten points are the exact checklist that I go through to help my clients sell more. They’re somewhere to start from if you’re struggling to align your sales efforts.
1. Product/service offering description
You need a clear offering before you go approaching prospects. I’ve spoken with a few teams who want to simply “discover” a pain while talking to a prospect over the phone.
But prospects don’t want someone wasting their time. They expect you to be prepared to add value or to get off the phone. So be sure you know what exactly you’re planning to sell to your target market.
2. Ideal client profile
Once you know what to sell, you need to know exactly who you want to target.
If you have clients, it’s easy to describe who your favorite or most successful clients are.
If you don’t have clients, you’ll need to start by understanding the problem you solve. Then you can make a list of the people who are currently struggling with that problem (and recognize it!).
3. Value proposition in 10 words
This will be handy in cold emails, cold calls, and short marketing collateral.
A value proposition describes not just what you do, but what you do for your customers. Think less “I make hamburgers at McDonald’s,” and more “I fill your stomach with great food without emptying your wallet.”
4. Value proposition in 30 words
A 10-word value prop can only get you so far. It’s a teaser. When someone is interested, they’ll likely say, “Okay, tell me more.” You need to be ready with a great followup line.
Close.io uses the brief value prop of “Close more deals. Make more sales.” Then they go on to explain, “Close.io is the inside sales CRM of choice for startups and SMBs. Increase productivity with all your sales communication in one place.”
5. Current client list (sorted)
Most of the companies I work with have sold something. It’s not consistent, and it’s not scalable, but they have clients.
I love to see a list of all previous closed deals sorted by important criteria. What’s important depends on how mature the company is. If they’re brand new, we’ll focus on which clients were easiest to acquire. If they’ve been around for a while, we’ll sort by profitability so we can find more of those deals.
6. Leads lists (new inbound, old opps, old inbound, new outbound)
The most important leads you can start addressing are new inbound leads (assuming you have decent lead qualification). They’re most likely to close a deal with you.
Next you’ll want to look at any old opportunities that didn’t close. These are usually your next best bet because they’ve already invested some time in working with you. Finally you’ll want to look at old inbound leads that didn’t convert and then new outbound leads you want to approach.
I’m a big outbound proponent, but outbound is very difficult and takes a lot of work. If you’re trying to grab revenue as fast as possible, be sure to focus on leads in the order I just described.
7. Leads databases or other sources
I always want to know what kind of access a company has to data. Why? Because data is the lifeblood of outbound sales.
You may need access to databases like ZoomInfo or Data.com. A past client who manages 401k plans for corporations was able to procure massive lists of potential clients with extremely detailed info so we didn’t have to source our own leads (a major advantage).
8. Collateral (slide decks, PDFs, blog articles, testimonials)
You can sell without collateral, but a strong testimonial will really grease the sales wheels. Make a list of everything you have that can help you sell your product or service (checkpoint 1) to your ideal client (checkpoint 2).
If you don’t currently have customers who can give testimonials, I’d suggest preparing other content including quality blog content that provides value to your prospects.
9. Happy customers willing to speak with prospects
One of my most successful clients offered a SaaS product in a very niche industry. They had one client who was very happy with their product and I got him to speak with nearly every prospect who came my way. This highly targeted testimonial greatly increased the likelihood that the prospect would buy.
We offered the customer a free month of service for every prospect he talked with. It was a tiny cost to my client and a huge boost to our sales efforts. Plus it made the customer even happier to be working with us!
*Additional note: If you’re asking for a live testimonial like I did, be sure you know what they’re going to say when the prospect asks, “Have you had any problems at all with their product?”
10. Pricing with any discounts/offers/freebies
A great sales rep keeps as many arrows in his or her quiver as possible (and doesn’t use them until absolutely necessary). Pricing discounts, special offers, and free trials are all great arrows. Be sure to have a list of these offers and when they are applicable.
If you don’t have set pricing, you’ll need to establish this first. Don’t just give away free trials with no end in sight hoping that people will eventually pay you money. It’s not their job to figure out what your product is worth.
Once you’ve run through this checklist and prepared everything mentioned, you’ll be in a strong position to grow your sales. It still takes sustained effort, but now you’re ready to really give it a shot.