According to research “82% of buyers accept meetings with sellers who reach out to them”, a pretty decent statistic when you think about it.
The same research Top Performance in Sales Prospecting by RAIN Group Center for Sales Research also stated that “69% of buyers have accepted phone calls from new providers in the last 12 months” and “77% of buyers have responded favourably to an email from a new provider in the last 12 months”.
These statistics show buyers are ready to do a deal, the question is…do you have the capacity to reach them right now?
Are you reaching out to your prospects and potential customers effectively?
When it comes to connecting with people there are many things you should think about, however, fundamentally it boils down to some very basic and simple things:
1. What platform you’re using to communicate with them on?
Are you reaching out to your prospects in the same space that they are consuming content? There’s no point posting great articles or posts on Twitter if the majority of your potential customer base is on LinkedIn.
Think long and hard about where you put your efforts – always make sure you’re adding value AND that you are creating a lasting footprint online to back up anything that you do.
2. What do you truly want from them (meeting, book a demo, follow up call…)?
NEVER contact a prospect without a very clear idea of what you want out of it. It’s shocking the number of sales calls that happen on a daily basis where the sales person is just stabbing in the dark hoping that the prospect will bite something, anything…
You are better getting a polite “no” when something doesn’t fit than trying to turn your round peg square to fit the box they need to fill.
By having a pleasant experience with you, even if they don’t buy from you (THIS TIME), that prospect will be much more open to having another conversation with you when a better fit comes along.
It seems cliche these days because it’s so over-used but the famous Maya Angelou quote remains just as true in business as it does when referring to real life.
“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel” – Maya Angelou
3. How you communicate (phone, email, social media, advertising…)
Are you still stuck in those old days of hauling out the Yellow Pages (or an online equivalent) and making calls and calls and calls in the hope something will stick?
Maybe you’re posting frantically on social media telling people all about the product or service you’re selling?
Or, are you randomly emailing people in the hope that someone, somewhere will respond?
It’s time to be more strategic about how you communicate with your prospects. Try to get some content in front of them that adds value to their life and proves you’re the right person to speak to.
4. Does your tone of voice fits your prospect’s expectations of you and your brand?
This comes up so often for my clients. Many want to be hip and shocking and in your face but they cannot afford the marketing budget to back that up with all the assets you need to make that type of tone of voice work for your brand.
Some people are still stuck in the past using traditional business language that just doesn’t resonate with their audience.
Regardless of what tone you want for your brand, when communicating try to use positive language, be direct and honest and ensure that the language and tone they’re receiving in your communications will match what they hear when they speak to you.
And when you get that meeting – what then?
When you’ve secured your meeting or sales phone call how you communicate with your prospect is absolutely key to winning their business.
Being able to assess quickly the type of person they are, whether they want hard-hitting and direct honesty or whether they want ego massaged into coming around to your way of thinking is something only the best sales people can master.
There are a few things you should consider before getting in front of your prospect for the first time:
1. Know what you can and cannot provide
This seems pretty obvious but one tactic of panicked sales people is to offer clients anything and everything that they think they need in order to “secure” the sale.
Being absolutely clear on what you can and cannot do will help the prospect have faith in you. For example, if you’re a web development agency but you cannot provide SEO or copywriting isn’t it worth telling your client that but adding that you can recommend people you work with? This saves the client finding this out after they’ve signed on the dotted line.
2. Be confident about your product and how you articulate it to them
Too many times have I encountered a client who doesn’t know how to properly articulate their own product or service. This isn’t unusual, more often than not being too close to the brand can cause complete brain meltdown when trying to describe and explain it to other people.
Much of the work we do is helping people create and shape that message so that the sales teams are clear and concise and can communicate their offering in a way that will resonate with the prospect.
3. Make sure what you are selling will bring value to their business, brand, service, lives etc..
Being able to prove how you are bringing value to your prospect is key to helping them move along the customer journey with you.
Don’t forget that many purchase decisions are made on an emotional level – it’s your job to find the logic and the practical reasons to back up their emotional buy in.
Help the prospective client understand how life will be AFTER they purchase your product or service. Paint them a picture of the value it will add to their own life or business.
And after the meeting or call?
So, you’ve made your pitch, you know what they need and what they want and you know your product or service can help.
Don’t bomb straight into pushing them down your sales pipeline.
Give the prospect time to think about your conversation, let it sink in and then…make that all important follow up.
1. Always follow up
It’s hard to imagine that people wouldn’t follow up after a sales call – but it does actually happen. Regardless of whether you’ve had a positive or negative experience with a prospect you want to make sure you leave a good, lasting impression on them.
Ideally, follow up on email by summarising the offer you put to them, the value it can bring to them and making clear any discounts or offers you have available.
Make it clear that you can answer further questions and are always available should they require more information.
And DON’T stalk them. Give them time to consider your offer. Think of ways you will make their life easier if they go with you and make sure you communicate that tastefully.
2. Always ask for feedback
If, for some reason, you’re not a fit for a particular prospect try, where appropriate, to ask for feedback. Some people will willingly give it – and this is the point at which you need to understand when there isn’t going to be a deal. Don’t beg, don’t plead and definitely don’t argue with them. Simply let them know you’re available should they wish to revisit in the future.
3. Don’t take offence if you’re not the right fit
Don’t fall out with a person or company if you’re not the right fit – you don’t know what’s going on behind the scenes so don’t presume to know.
By leaving them feeling that you were professional, courteous and helpful you can be sure that you’ll be in their thoughts if you can help them again in the future.
4. Offer them the best advice you can, whether it suits your sales funnel or not
Even if you know you may not get the work ALWAYS be as helpful as you can. Even if the advice you give is that they shouldn’t use your product or service.
Don’t think about shoehorning people into your sales funnel. If they don’t fit, leave them knowing that they can trust you to help them. It will come back to you eventually, either directly or because they refer someone else to you.
Communication is at the heart of every business, getting it right can be stressful and difficult.
Traditional methods of hard sales no longer work and by the time you get to B2B buyers who are likely to convert they’re already 57% of the way along the sales process before they engage with a sales person (according to gartner.com).
Long gone are the days of being able to “convince” your prospect from start to finish in one phone call. Today your online presence and digital marketing are key to ensuring that when you speak to a prospect they are already at the point at which they are ready to buy from you.
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