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SALES
By Ron Wills
C
reating a sales culture in your organization may The SIIR Strategy added” service at no charge, offering it as a good- Refer
be one of the most important things you can do will gesture from your company. Be creative by By the time you are ready start the Refer phase,
to increase your chances for long, sustained growth. Survey hosting events at your office or combining with you should have developed an expanding base of
In his book, Ready, Fire, Aim: Zero to $100 Million The Survey portion of the process provides a low other companies to reduce costs for a mutually contacts that you communicate with on a regular
in No Time Flat, Michael Masterson emphasizes the anxiety method of contacting your prospects and beneficial event. None of this has to be fancy. Just basis. You should have surveyed them, invited
importance of creating a sales and marketing culture customers. Prospects and customers are asked use information you collect from the Survey stage to them to events, and connected them with other
in first and second stage companies (those with up a series of questions designed to elicit helpful uncover what the targeted group wants, and then businesses that have an interest in their particular
to $10 million in revenue). The big problem is that information for your company. Some typical surveys figure out ways you can assist them. operation. At this point, asking for referrals should
few owners of companies at this level have the time, that can be conducted: be an easy thing to do. After all, you’ve already
resources, and energy to implement successful strat- For example, if your survey gathered information established an ongoing relationship and have been
egies. • Test viability of new business product or about current market conditions that indicated of service to the company in question.
service offering tightening of credit, profit margins, or increased
The SIIR Strategy™ (Survey, Invite, Involve, and Refer) • Gather feedback from targeted groups sales competition, consider ways your firm can be Once you reach this stage, all you have to do is ask
is designed for companies with up to $20 million • Survey customers about an existing service or a catalyst for change. Contact experts in your area the following: “Mr. Prospect, who do you know that I
in annual revenue. It is easily implemented, and product to give presentations on access to credit, business should be talking to?” It is that simple!
requires little training or sales experience on the • Pinpoint customer concerns and priorities coaches to present tips on managing company’s
part of the participants. The strategy is based on • Learn more about your customers’ and balance sheets or sales professionals to present tips Conclusion
the fundamental need to reach out to customers, prospects’ businesses on competing in tough markets. It is not any specific technique that makes the SIIR
prospects, and friends on a regular basis and to • Gain a better sense of business conditions in Strategy work so effectively. It’s simply doing it. As
build a rapport with customers while being an any market Involve a seasoned networker, my advice is that you don’t
advocate for the company’s mission and growth. Remember, throughout this process, everyone—and try to perfect your surveys or train your staff for
The Survey portion is a low pressure, inexpensive I do mean everyone—should be taking notes when hours on end. Just get the calls going and make
In addition, the goal of the SIIR Strategy is to way for your company to develop an ongoing they contact people. As you progress through the adjustments after the process is underway.
generate a stream of low cost leads through an feedback mechanism involving your audience. It is Survey and Invite stages, the amount of collected
easily implemented program providing ongoing important to keep the surveys simple—no more data grows very quickly. Within this data reside Keep in mind that it’s important to enlist everyone
contact with your audience. In effect, SIIR creates that 5 or 6 questions. Furthermore, it is not critical opportunities to involve your audience. in your company to be involved in this project. If
an affordable, yet high involvement sales culture that every question is asked or that you necessarily you have a few employees that don’t communicate
throughout organizations and is relatively get a response to each question. It is important, Let’s say that during a particular survey, you had particularly well, have them contribute to the
unaffected by turnover. however, that you and your staff keep notes of your staff ask, “How would you describe a good process by checking on the calls in progress and
all conversations while keeping the calls and prospect for your company?” After collecting developing status reports. Before long, you will
More importantly, the SIIR Strategy can be used by conversations going. hundreds of responses, you will know a great deal have a staff, from top to bottom, creating sales
individuals who have never made a sales call before more about your audience’s preferred prospects. opportunities for your company week in and week
or who have expressed little interest in the sales Invite With that information in hand, you should think out.
process. All that is needed is a pleasant personality, The Invite segment often, but not always, follows about becoming a matchmaker for your audience
the ability to think and adjust quickly to questions, the Survey portion, providing you with another by connecting those with a need to those with a Ronald K. Wills, an entrepreneur, intrapreneur, and small
and the capability to communicate clearly. opportunity to maintain contact with your audience. solution.
business expert, is the founder of the National Association of
The key to the Invite phase is to provide a “value
Business Owners & Entrepreneurs and serves on the executive
management team of HarVest Bank of Maryland.
 ThinkBusiness April 2009 
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