After you called someone who was referred to you or gave you permission to contact them through social media (steer away from cold calls please), you describe what your company does and offer proof to your claims. One of the best and easiest ways to do this is through telling a story of how your company helped someone in a similar business to the person you called. You want powerful results you can report.
What do you say? How do you organize it? Keith Eades in The New Solution Selling suggests telling a brief story describing the issue you tackled for a company like theirs, what was needed (which you provide) and the result obtained.
You want your prospect to admit pain. People buy more and faster due to pain than pleasure. You can pursue pleasure but solving pain is something acted upon immediately if framed in the correct way. From here, write up for yourself ways to respond to the various common problems admitted by the prospect. If you are prepared and wrote something powerful you can utilize when speaking, you have a chance at another phone call or in-person meeting.
Remember you must be interested in them and their company. It is often said that we do business with people we like, trust and respect”. Be that to your prospects and develop a relationship where they will stay with you long term.
Please write your comments below and what worked for you to get that initial appointment.
Most business owners send cards or gifts during Christmas/Hanukkah/Kwanzaa/or other religious holiday events. It’s a time where it can go unnoticed since they are being contacted by many. I suggest you consider Thanksgiving or other holidays so you stand out and get noticed.
Make a plan and work your plan. Make a yearly calendar. Each month, write a holiday down or way to give your prospect or customer something special (article, newsletter, complimentary time with you-alternate who will get the time if your availability is limited and there are many to contact). Of course, the way you write up this offer to make it exciting and a must-have experience is vital. You want to get interest and make it a must-have experience with a limited time offer so they go into action soon.
I suggest putting a value on this consultation (worth $___), tell them what will be accomplished (within 15 minutes, you will ______, and expiration date. It’s good to test things. So send this out to about 10 people and see how many responses you get. Often, you need to follow-up by phone call or email since people are busy.
When a call goes well and you want to extend the conversation or deepen the relationship, how would you do it? You will want a budget for this strategy. For example, what do you do to make a good impression on a potential customer? You can send flowers if appropriate, invite them to a meal (or a lunch and learn session where you provide a simple lunch and present a problem they are having in their business – not sell- and give valuable information about how to solve it. You mention your company at the end and first ask permission to present info about your company which might serve them. Make that much shorter than the overall discussion. This needs to be done expertly. I do this with my clients.
Let me know below how you would handle this opportunity. I will give you some pointers.
Certainly, the phone is one way to keep in touch. The old-fashioned way often gets more attention. Make a plan, work the plan.
Tim Templeton in “The Referral of a Lifetime” discusses sending a card, letter or personalized newsletter (alternating which one you use) during each month of the year. For example: For January, send a New Year’s card rather than being one of many sending holiday cards. In February, you might send some information of value given only to a select few (let them know that). In March, you might forward a newsletter. Make it about them & their needs, not about you. Certainly, it should have your contact information on the bottom. People don’t need to be sold. They want to know you are there to solve a pressing problem for them. You might have heard, people buy more from pain than pleasure. So think about your ideal clients’ pressing initial problem. Then what is the next problem stemming from solving the first one, etc.?
If you have employees, give them an appreciation budget for small gifts or when possible, meetings during a meal. Let them know you are here to help and to let you know when they are having a problem that stumps them. Even if you are not in that field, you can probably refer them to others. Be sure to give superior service once they are your customer. Then you could keep them for life!
This is just the tip of the iceberg. Staying in touch with prospects or customers can be enjoyable (automate it whenever possible). You want to serve them in a specific way. Isn’t that the reason you went into the field? Yes, you deserve to make a profit as well. You are in business. Make certain your contacts are well-served. They deserve it.
Please let me know what you have found helpful. I will respond.
Here’s some tips that might be helpful in getting the sale.
-Often if you ask questions that produces a “yes” response” about five times that will continue as you move into their purchasing.
-Be sure to delve into what is standing in their way of using a different company to work with if they already have someone? Does the current one give you the ROI you expected? Do they respond quickly to your questions and serve you well?
-Determine what their greatest desire is concerning a product or service such as yours.
-Chet Holmes used to say, “Features tell, benefits sell”. What benefits can you provide that solve their issue(s)?
-Often the salesperson doesn’t give the prospect a chance to jump in and purchase. They like to talk too much.
-Get as high in the company’s chain of command as possible to get the proper person who has the authority to make a buying decision.
-Remember, it takes about 12 calls to make a sale – you won’t be a pest if you have a lot to offer and your follow-up emails or calls give additional information (a valuable article, etc.)
-Congratulate your new client on a good decision. Make sure they sign on the dotted line!
Please leave your comments or what worked for you below. Let’s work on what’s holding you back from greater success.
According to Keith Eades in The New Solution Selling, they are:
1) Define the prospects’ buying process.
Knowing how your prospect buys – not what you sell. You need to adapt your sales process to align with the prospects’ buying process.
2) Define and align your selling with the buyers’ buying steps.
This is vital or you could lose the sale. If you take action and don’t know why or what is the result they want is, your failure rate can exceed 50%.
3) Be aware of the outcomes at each step in the process so the salesperson knows if he/she are on the right track.
Have a measurement such as mailing a letter to the prospect noting they agreed to discuss the offering.
4) Job aids/tools are needed.
Examples could be to script the ROI (return on investment) and ways to answer objections.
5) A system from management that measures the process and makes adjustments if needed to increase the possibility of success.
Certainly, this is an outline of what needs to be done. Fill in the blanks for your business. Let me know below what questions you have and if this or another path works better for you.
Has this been helpful for you? What sales process do you find useful? Let’s have a conversation below.
Do you know how to speak with customers?
In a previous post I discussed Keith Eades who in his book, The New Solution Selling, discusses having “business development prompters”. It’s a way to increase interest in your product/service. You can use this in emails, on the phone, personal contact, trade shows, etc. You want to increase curiosity rather than sell.
One of the prompters discussed is for a new business prospect. There is no pressure to buy. It’s wonderful to have them developed so they are specific to the people (example: engineers) and companies you are calling. You start by stating your name, co. and then mention you haven’t spoken previously (ensures the person on the other end is listening rather than trying to figure out how they know you).
Then you discuss your expertise – for example, you’ve worked with ____(their industry) for the past ___years (if possible). Then state- what I continue to hear from people in this field is _____(difficulty with ____). We help solve this issue. Would you like to know how (then they are curious)?
If they want to talk more extensively, set up a meeting.
What have you done to get an initial appointment? Is this strategy helpful? Please let me hear from you. I will respond.
It’s not time to play hard to get! Call them within five minutes of their showing an interest in your product or service. You have more likelihood of reaching him/her too because he/she was at the computer to advise you of their interest.
If you don’t get a response, how often do you follow-up? Most sales people give up after one or two attempts. Research has shown if you make nine attempts, you have about a 90% chance of reaching them.
What is the best time/day to make that initial contact if they are not initiating it? Usually Wednesday or Thursday is best. People are busy after the weekend and are getting things in order the beginning of the week.
It’s helpful if you don’t need to go through an operator too. See if you can get their direct phone number. Using a company that provides you with local phone numbers is helpful too. It’s worked on me! Rather than seeing my caller ID noting an 800 or 866 number, a local one shows up. You are more likely to pick it up thinking it is local business or someone you know.
Please let me know what has worked for you. Let’s have a conversation.