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CRM puts wind in your sales.

Byline: jon cooper

Most businesses know their products, their message and their market well enough to produce a sales strategy that works pretty well. But they forget how important TIMING is in the whole mix.

People will buy when THEY'RE ready, not when YOU'RE ready to make a sale.

We all know sales calling can be a tedious, stressful time-consuming process, which is sometimes easier to ignore.

After all, if the customer doesn't buy now, he'll come back to us when he's ready - right?

Wrong! Your "customer" will buy from the last person he talks to before he's ready to make the decision. If that's not you, it will be one of your competitors.

So, you have to be in front of your customers when they're ready to buy. In other words, you have to follow-up constantly to stop someone else catching their attention!

And in today's contracted market, the last thing you want to do is to leave business, and money, on the table for someone else to grab.

Fortunately, there is a simple and easy way to ensure that you leave no stone unturned, and no opportunity open to your competition.

It's called a Customer Relationship Management system, or CRM for short.

This is basically a log, detailing the last contact you had with your customer, and containing a date and time for the next agreed contact with them.

In the old days, this could have been no more than a note in your diary, or some kind of card index.

In 2009, however, there's no excuse for not running a fully automated system, often linked in with your email software. If you're not yet using MS Outlook for email, diary and task management, try it out now, as it's an accessible and cost effective way to keep on top of things.

I read an industry survey recently which estimated that a staggering 99 per cent of SMEs don't effectively follow up on sales enquiries. I want you to be part of the enlightened 1 per cent this year, so get that CRM system in place, and use it.

Jon Cooper is the founder of business consulting. Email with feedback and business strategy queries.
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Title Annotation:Business
Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Date:Jan 8, 2009
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