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3 secrets of the early bird

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If you want to win more sales, you need to do everything you can to give yourself an unfair advantage. One of the best ways to do this is by getting there before your competitors do. 

Forrester Research has discovered that the first vendor to reach a prospect has a 74 percent close rate. And according to InsideSales, 50 percent of sales opportunities go to the first salesperson to contact a prospect.

Most salespeople spend their time chasing prospects who are already involved in making a decision. If you go after those prospects, your chances of winning are slim. Instead, go where the decision hasn’t yet been made.

Here’s what the early bird does to find those undiscovered opportunities:

1.     Identify similar prospects. Let’s say you’re wrapping up a project with a growing retail chain. While working together, you identify a way to tackle an issue that is not yet on their radar screen—and end up delivering significant results. Your client is delighted. 

If you want an unfair advantage, you should immediately pursue similar companies that likely face a similar issue. You can get in early, open your prospect’s eyes to what’s possible and often win business without the threat of competition.

2.     Look for trigger events. Anything that alters a prospect’s priorities creates an opportunity for you. For example, if third-quarter earnings are stagnant, directives go out across the company to reduce expenses. New business deals or market directions can alter priorities, too—sometimes overnight.

If you want an early-bird advantage, analyze what creates change for your clients. Then get serious about leveraging sales intelligence to track those trigger events.

3.     Pay attention to leadership changes. New leadership always shakes things up. Brought in to make things happen, a new boss often launches new projects within months of starting. Getting on a new leader’s calendar quickly can open up sales opportunities. 

Plus, if you think about it, you’ll realize that that old boss will soon be popping up somewhere, too. That creates several potential opportunities with people eager to make their mark.

Is it unfair to capitalize on these opportunities? Not at all! It’s what savvy salespeople do all the time. They get in early, lay the groundwork, build the business case, develop strong relationships and close deals with minimal competition.

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