The importance of a database cannot be gainsaid. A database is the lifeblood of sales and the successful salesperson. The progressive salesperson never abandons his contacts. Even when she changes industries, she moves with them. The average salesperson, has them for the while she needs them. As for the below average one, she doesn’t even keep the contacts. For each, the results over time are telling.
The progressive sales person finds herself prospecting organically, less and less; she also finds the quality of her prospects becoming higher and superior as most are via referral. Even if she switches industries she knows she will still face the same prospects or others who know them. After all, whatever one is selling, one is always selling to people. And as they say, it’s a small world.
Why is sales database important
A database is lifeblood of sales. A database of contacts is an indispensable tool to the progressive salesperson. You never know how the prospect that didn’t buy will react months, even years, later when you meet; what you do know is that being human, the reaction will greatly be informed by how you parted and how much of him you remember. A database comes in very handy here.
The term CRM (Customer Relationship Management) was a buzzword at one time and in many ways still is. It describes a company’s strategy in handling customer interactions. Whole systems exist that help companies manage their CRM. For the progressive salesperson CRM isn’t a buzzword to be bandied around-it’s a lifeline. And without seeking to give it a fancy acronym, for the salesperson, it is a simple, but comprehensive, database (continually updated list of contacts) of clients and prospects.
What is a sales database?
The database needn’t be a complex IT system; a simple Excel Sheet will do. People may not buy one product from you but that doesn’t mean they won’t buy another. Today you could be selling life insurance and tomorrow loans. The same persons who may have been avoiding you with the former may surprise you when they embrace you with the latter! If however, you did not keep a record of them, you will struggle to work from memory remembering their contact or from scratch seeking fresh prospects. A database is lifeblood of sales. Truly.
To keep a database however is not as simple as it sounds. Record keeping isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. But then again, neither is selling. Most prospects don’t expect the salesperson to follow through especially if the sale didn’t go through. Sadly, most salespeople don’t, even when it does. A database is a simple tool that allows the salesperson to easily manage follow-ups and achieve exemplary results doing the unexpected. A database acts as a never-ending source of prospects and it allows the salesperson to measure his efficiency. Seasoned salespeople know that people’s circumstances change-today’s decline is tomorrow’s close. Salespeople who have been in the profession long enough will tell of prospects who give you an appointment in October for February-and they honour it!
Progressive salespeople track prospects for a change in their (prospects) circumstances that eliminate an obstacle that acted as a reason not to buy e.g. an impending shift in the corporate politics, a promotion that was hanging in the balance or even a divorce becoming final. Such details are best documented in a database. That aside, the progressive salesperson understands the game of numbers. Using the database he keeps refining his conversion ratios.
This is his suspect to prospect to client conversion ratios. All these critical aspects to the sales profession are only possible if a comprehensive database is kept. It also makes compiling reports much easier and so much more limited only by editorial space. A database forms a basis from which the salesperson can feel a sense of progress in his profession. As you can see, a database is lifeblood of sales. The salesperson who doesn’t keep a database is really shooting in the dark. He denies himself the ability to build momentum, wasting away every contact because it is based on a hit and run.
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