There are two types of salespeople, those that are just hunting for the next lead, serve them and forget them and then there are salespeople that build relationships and focus on repeat clients and referrals. My team and I are the latter.
I like to say that a salesperson is only as good as his or her database, how up to date the database is and how truly connected the salesperson is with everybody on that list. Your database is really your last sale and how well you honour that sale. More literally, your database is the list of people you have relationships with, who know who you are and what you offer, and who are willing to maintain a relationship with you that revolves around your business.
A sign of a great database is one that consists of people who you could pick up the phone to call on any given day and, importantly, have it not be awkward. If you can’t do that, then you need to work on the people in your database. This is also the difference between having a database and a contact list. The vast majority of sales, good business and great life events will happen from a database.
Before you can sell to the people in your database, you will have to connect with them and, most likely, need to meet them or at minimum talk to them on the phone. unfortunately, a database isn’t a product you can purchase or find laying around. You may inherit it from someone else if you’re lucky, but even then, it’s not your database until you build relationships with everyone on the list. One at a time.
Obviously, if you’re new to sales, you won’t have repeat clients to focus on but you will likely still have a database. Initially, your database will be small. It begins as a simple list of those you know have the potential to buy from you. Think friends, family, past business contacts and peers. Essentially anyone who will listen to you talk and consider what you have to offer. I started mine with every person that was invited to my wedding.
I have a friend who is very successful in sales. He started off with even fewer contacts than I had. His approach to building his database was to simply go where people were to meet them. He would join every club, group, community, organization and society that would have him. From learning to knit to roller derby, he would be there meeting people and building relationships.
Creating the database is step one, managing it is step two, and living it is step three. Managing it means updating when someone moves, changes employment, gets married or has kids. Living your database means sending cards, text messages, making phone calls, and meeting up face to face with those people you’re connected to. The more you keep in contact (and not just when you’re trying to sell to them), the more likely they are to think of you when they or someone they know needs your services.