All the leads in the world does not a closed deal make!
Even if your marketing machine is working well and pumping out leads, there is no automatic promise that they will close, even the most qualified leads. Yes, inbound marketing methods are da bomb, and yes they bring you a better chance to close a lead...but it doesn’t just happen on its own.
I have found in all my years of experience (over 13 years!) that three tactics have always lead to a better conversation with a prospect and a long lasting happy sales team! Read on and learn how to concur a sales call and bring some real techniques back to your sales team today!
Lead comes in. Salesperson gets excited, grabs phone, makes calls, puts foot in mouth more times then they can count and does not close deal!
The excitement your team gets for a new lead is palatable. I sweat with excitement! The prospect of helping a new client! Of being a teamplayer and closing a deal, meeting a quota, ending a bad streak, etc. There are lots of reasons we get excited. But if your team doesn’t take the time to do a very easy and small amount of research, they could create situation in which good leads go nowhere.
I take a three step research approach before making any sales call or email:
New leads are exciting but now it’s time to get to work!
Start your research with your own internal tools. We use Hubspot and I always go there first. I want to see where the lead has been on my website. Have they downloaded any ebooks or visited a website page more than once? Have they received any of our blog emails? Do they open them? You can learn a lot about what your prospects needs are just by snooping around your CRM. The last thing I look for is if they have been contacted by someone in my organization already. Do not overlook this step! Read the notes and try to understand why or what led them to not move forward in the sales process last time.
2. Check out their website.
Understand their industry, read a blog, download an ebook, become familiar with their tone of voice. Having a grasp on this will help you have a meaningful conversation, come across as an expert and even give you the chance to give away some free advice in your very first call. There is one tip I can offer to almost every single prospect I talk with. (contact me to learn my super special secrets.) This free information goes a long way in earning trust and proving you know your stuff. While you’re at it, retweet, share or like something they have going on. That will help you to be seen as a supporter from the start.
More than once has a prospect addressed how great it was that I connected with them prior to our call. They can see my face, learn a bit about me and feel a small level of comfort that I am just not some random stranger. I also use LinkedIn to be a super sleuth! You can find so much information about a person. Yes, your prospect is a person, not just a dollar sign. Let that sink in for a minute. I'll wait here.
How long have they been in their career? Where did they graduate from? Do you have any connections (like real connections not just some rando you are “friends” with on LinkedIn)? What is their role? That last question is a key one to define. You can better target your questions to discover what their motivation is for using your service and maybe try to understand where they are coming from and what their goals are before your call. Making you….tadah, more prepared.
Ask Better Questions
The sales process you have is key! Having the right conversations and asking the right questions at the right time is going to help lead your prospect through the sales process effectively while building value the entire time. When you do finally go in for the close, they’ll be ready and excited to say yes!
I have learned this the hard way. If you don’t build enough value for the product or service you’re selling, the prospect will question every penny and always ask for a discount! The trick is to build sooo much value that you become an expert and they’re asking you when they can start.
I am about to share some top secret information about how I ask better questions to make the prospect think, evaluate and ultimately make the decision to say “Yes” to me!
Open Ended Questions:
For Pete’s sakes, stop talking! Open ended questions force your prospect to do the talking. You know this, it's the oldest rule in the book. However, it's sometimes the hardest to follow. If you are in sales, you are most likely a Chatty Cathy and love to engage with humans. However, during a sales call, listening is the most important thing you can do. People love to talk about themselves, their problems and generally believe they are right. Take this opportunity to ask questions leading them down a path to understand their real issue and motivations. Then, use that to gear up for your pitch. How can you know what product or feature they need if you don’t fully understand their business and challanges?
Why. I ask this question at least five times before I let a prospect off the hook. You need a new website...well, why? Is your conversion low? Why? Are you not getting enough leads to your website? Why? Are you not meeting your goals? Why? The deeper you get with your why’s, the better you can define a solution to fit their exact needs.
Right Time, Right Place
Praise be inbound marketing!!! With great tools like HubSpot and content strategy, you can track a prospect to know what they want and where they have been. You can’t know where you want to go until you know where you’ve been. (Am I right, Moana?)
By stalking my prospect, I know what questions or needs they may have before our call. You better believe I will be asking WHY they don’t think their social media is working for them, if they have downloaded our social media ebook. If they have been to many places on my website I may not ask about them all, however I can see if there has been any double looks. Were they on the pricing page three times? Cost might be an issue for them! Did they check out our about page more than once? Perhaps culture and fit is a channel to further discuss. This also sometimes means they had issues with other agencies and might have a few objections about hiring an agency again.
Be analytical when reviewing your prospect’s browsing history or you can easily lose a deal by going in for the close before you’ve built enough value around your company’s offerings. You might be able to actually have a meaningful conversation and listen, instead of just waiting for your turn to talk.
Be Authentic and Help
This can’t be any simpler: Be you. Be your brand. Be real.
People can smell the desperation before you even type a word or dial a number. Yes, at times the sales team will feel pressure. Pressure to close a deal, meet a goal, push a certain product or service line, but if their need to close something is greater than their desire to help it will never go in your companies favor.
Listening, being authentic and wanting to help your prospect solve their problems, even if you are not the right solution, will get you further in the long run. If they walk away and it wasn’t a good fit for you, you are more likely to get a referral and great word of mouth for years to come.
Sometimes in the sales world you have to take two steps back to leap forward, but the landing after the leap is always worth the wait!