Want to be a sales leader? Do things the right way. Unfortunately, it can be hard to figure out what that “right way” is. Everybody has an idea about what works and what doesn’t, but one thing is certain - you CANNOT get an upper hand without the right tactics. Take these 6 key steps to doing things the right way and you will be sure to find and close new customers quickly and easily.
1. The Wrong Way: Be pushy.
The Right Way: Listen to the customer.
You already know your company is the best in the industry because your current customers are singing your praises, so there’s no need to be pushy.
The best thing you can do to win that new customer is to actually listen to the person you’re speaking with. It gives you the opportunity to hear exactly where their pain points are and then show them how your company’s product or service will take the pain away.
If you go in with a canned speech and your spiel is a one-size-fits-all, you’re missing out on the chance to turn a prospect into a loyal, long-term customer. People are drawn to anyone who will listen to them and react as if they understand; they’ll stay loyal to someone who “knows and understands” longer than someone who treats them like part of a quota. Even if the price goes up or circumstances change, they’ll stick with you throughout.
2. The Wrong Way: Don’t address customer objections.
The Right Way: Listen to hear, not to respond.
All too often we start formulating an answer to objections before the person we’re speaking to has finished answering. We’re all guilty of this, but when you’re trying to create a customer, it comes off as looking like you don’t care.
There will always be objections - real and imagined. Use this part of the conversation as an opportunity to find out more about the prospect’s pain points and how they are currently addressing the problem. Then, pause. A pause gives you the opportunity to consider how your company can fix the problem with a custom-tailored solution.
3. The Wrong Way: Talk ONLY about the product or service.
The Right Way: Talk about the prospect first, product later.
“Skip the small talk” seems to be the motto of most sales organizations; they want to get to the “buy” as quickly as possible, so they skip those important customer-building conversations. Small talk is one of the best ways to get to know the person you are talking to and gives you nuggets of ideas on how your company can turn to gold for the customer.
Better yet, talk about what you have in common. Find the prospect loves the same sports team? Now you have more opportunities to check in and commiserate when your team loses or celebrate a win. What if they love the same kind of food? Through chit-chat, you now have a place to take them to lunch and talk more about the things you have in common. Before long you’re talking business in the natural course of conversation, not through forced, “sales-y” banter.
4. The Wrong Way: Do no research, assume all prospects are the same.
The Right Way: Prepare extensively before each call.
Each prospective customer is unique. While they may be in the same industry, their particular challenges are different. So spend some time preparing for each call. How has the business fared in recent years? Have they had a lot of turnover? Is the person you’re meeting with new on the job or have they weathered many storms?
Again, by preparing well, you’re gaining more understanding of your prospective client. You want them around for a long time; you can’t build loyalty on the quicksand of “one-size-fits-all.” Knowing more about your prospective customer will set you and your company apart from the “other guys,” and make sure you’re remembered, long after your conversation has ended.
5. The Wrong Way: Forget the formal proposal.
The Right Way: Send a thank you note and a proposal.
When was the last time you got a card in the mail? How did it make you feel? Make your potential client feel the same way by sending a thank you, no matter how well the visit went. They took the time to meet with you and listen to what you had to say; it’s only polite to thank them. Besides - how many of your competitors will send a thank you note? Not many. So, once again, you’ve set yourself apart.
With the thank you note, it’s important to recap your conversation with a proposal. Make sure it looks professional and well thought out. Proposal templates are a perfect way to show your prospect how happy you are to be working with them. It will give them confidence that you’re the one they want to work with. Include in the cover letter a tidbit or two you took away from your “chit-chat” to reinforce that you were really listening to them. Then, tell them when you’re going to follow back up with them - with a real date and time.
6. The Wrong Way: Never follow-up.
The Right Way: Set a follow-up time and stick to it.
Keep your promises. You keep your promises to your friends and family. Do the same with your prospects. When you’ve set a time to check back in, keep it. Following up shows respect, even if they don’t decide to become a client right now. You are building a relationship that will last beyond your initial contact because it’s all about how you make them feel; they’ll remember the feeling longer than the product, service or company.
There you have it, folks, the six keys to turning a “no” into a “yes.” The keys all boil down to one thing - people (you, me, prospective clients, the guy on the corner) all want the same thing - to be acknowledged, to be seen as a person and not part of a quota, and to be heard. Do that and you’ve won the world.
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