SALES & MARKETING

There’s an App for That

That phone in your pocket has more than 100,000 times the processing power of the computers used on Apollo 11. Wow, grasp that; the computing power of your iPhone is that much more powerful than the computer that sent a man to the moon 50 years ago! Granted, everything has advanced since then by exponential orders of magnitude, but it’s still impressive the technology you have available at your fingertips.

If you’re not using your smartphone or tablet to its fullest capacity, you could be missing opportunities to grow your business and manage your sales territory more effectively. For the purposes of this article, we will refer to the iPhone but the information is relevant to any smart device.

There really is “an app for that.” Your smartphone is capable of so much more than talking, texting and taking pictures. The standard apps that come pre-loaded on your phone are fine, but find your way to the app store for more ways to manage your time and get organized, find new leads, network and connect, and discover tools to support your selling process in the gas and equipment business.

Let’s start with managing your time and staying organized. Getting lost in the details of your day, keeping track of all the things you said you were going to do but lost the sticky note, thinking about what you need to be doing next week…there’s an app for that!

Wunderlist: Soon be known as Microsoft “To Do,” Wunderlist lets you create lists and specific folders with reminders and prompts to follow-through with things you committed to on that call you made this morning. Target a future date to schedule a visit to the top prospect that is not quite ready to buy yet. Make a list of sales literature and promotional items you need for restocking your carry-along items. Set a goal, with weekly reminders, for meeting your sales target. Wunderlist has been a life saver for me. But you must use it and stay with it. If you do, odds are high that you’ll become much more effective and efficient in your daily sales efforts. 

Next up, searching for leads for specific applications or nearby, yes you know what’s coming…there’s an app for that! And it’s something very familiar to most everyone.

Google Maps: Commonly used for directions and finding your way, there are features that allow you to search nearby for specific applications or types of businesses. Here is an example of a search nearby for analytical testing laboratories around the Atlanta area:

Now you have a target list. And the next app will help you find the right contact(s) to start developing a relationship at any or all these prospects.

And the next app is something also very familiar to most users but one of the features for networking is not well-known:

  LinkedIn: First, you can use it to find contacts at the analytical testing labs. Just pull up the business name and you’ll see a listing of all employees on LinkedIn. Now, the other feature I mentioned above that is not well-known but is a brilliant way to find and connect with others at networking events, trade shows and industry gatherings, is known as “find nearby.” Here’s how it works: open LinkedIn, select the “my network” icon and look for a small blue circle in the bottom right corner with the people emoji and + sign. Click on this and a window will pop up with three options, the last one being “find nearby (off).” Select to “on” and another window will pop up and “nearby” is open. You’ll start to see others nearby who are open to connecting and voila, new contacts to network with! They may be industry contacts or prospects to pursue.

Once you land a meeting with your new prospect, next up are a few tools you can use to support your sales process in the gas and equipment industry.

First up, the “gas converter” app by Air Products:

Gas Converter: When your prospect tells you they’re using 150,000 scf of N2 for a food packaging process and want to install a bulk tank with delivery once a month, how do you quickly respond to the tank size in gallons? Presto, the app is telling me it’s 1,611 gallons, so I think a 1,500-gal bulk tank or 5,500-liter microbulk tank is the answer for them and I’m on my way to the next step.

Tank Sizing by Chart Industries:  You’re having a conversation with the welding engineer who is looking for a way to eliminate cylinder changeouts and optimize argon use in the fab shop. He’s ready to pipe the shop if needed. Eight stations and going through 30 high pressure cylinders a month. You’re thinking microbulk could be an option. As you go through the steps, you can show that customer 1,250 scf of residual gas returned to his supplier or almost 14% of what they purchase each month is wasted. And total monthly volume used in their process is 9,000 scf, so you recommend a 450-liter microbulk tank. Genius for you, the customer is ready to sign the agreement and install the tank.

Finally, something for fun but there is a serious side of it to add value to your relationship building in the sales process:

Yelp: Yes, Yelp. Find yourself in a new area and want to impress your prospect with the best local choice for a business lunch? Yelp it up that way. Or, if you just want to be different and stand out, Yelp “unique lunch” places. Finding the best place to bring in donuts? “Duck Donuts” is the answer and you’ll find it on Yelp (or some other novelty donut business).

We could go on and on. It seems there are an infinite number of ways you can use the power of the device you carry around all day to boost your success rate and efficiently manage your daily activities. But my point in all this is that you should take advantage of your smart devices. They call them that for a reason. Think about using it for creative ways to overcome issues holding you back and if you aren’t finding an app for that, do the next best thing and “Google it.”   

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