Many organisations have made severe cuts when it comes to travel, marketing, advertising and other pre-sales support activities. Welcome to what I call the New World Economy – a more intense, more competitive, more challenging selling environment that asks you to do more with less. To succeed in this environment requires an arsenal of New World Selling tactics.
Let’s step back for a minute and look at some key definitions. “Prospecting” is the act of placing highly qualified individuals or organisations into your sales process. That sounds easy enough.But how do you do it without a travel budget? This can be tough.
Before looking at a few “travel-free” prospecting approaches, let’s define a “qualified” prospect:
- An individual or organisation that’s almost identical to those I’ve successfully sold to before. (In other words, they fit my “template of ideal prospects.”)
- An individual or organisation that has the money and the authority to spend it on my solution before the end of this month, quarter or year. (You pick the time frame that’s most relevant to your sale.)
- An individual or organisation that can provide additional marketing mobility to my organisation and me in the form of referrals, leads and testimonials. (In the past five years I’ve made this qualifier a way of business, and it has been the most effective lead generation programme I’ve ever had.)
Let’s assume that 50 prospects in your territory fit into one or more of these three criteria. The best “virtual” approach is going to be one that’s highly visible and as automatic as possible, while providing a personal touch point that comes close to your being there physically with all or most of those 50 contacts.
Electronic Presentations to the Rescue!
The exciting medium of electronic presentations merges the advantages of audio (your voice) with text and graphics (your presentation slides). After it’s all bundled together, everything gets sent to your qualified prospect via the Internet.
When you combine reading (text), listening (audio) and viewing (graphics), you get an unbelievable 50% retention rate!(That dwarfs the retention rate of reading, listening or watching as separate elements – and yes, it beats meeting with you in person!) Common reactions from salespeople to the idea of electronic presentations include: “But no one will open up attachments in this day and age!” and “I can’t spam my territory!” If either or both of these thoughts are crossing your mind, relax. The medium I’m talking about features no attachments, and every piece of email you send is opened by invitation only.
Here’s how it works. You create no more than three PowerPoint slides with no more than 10 words on each one. You can use graphics (for instance, your prospect’s logo, or even a picture of you).You create an audio script that is conversational and has a talk time of 10seconds or less for each slide. (I know that these are some tight time requirements, but the reality is this: if you were making an in-person call,you’d face exactly the same restraints.)
You “author” all of this online and send it to your qualified prospects. Once the email is sent, you’ll be able to find out whether and when it was opened – and even how many slides your qualified prospect looked at!
Use the Telephone
Imagine leaving a voice-mail message for your prospect that informs him or her of your imminent electronic presentation.Imagine setting up and sending this e-presentation to a “C” level contact! Keep on imagining: What about putting your voice on the audio? Suddenly, you’ve got the best initial “C”-to-“C” outreach strategy anyone ever launched. Who’s not going to listen to a presentation from a fellow C-level that takes just a few minutes out of the day?
New World Selling is waiting for you! Take a moment, and view this column using “e-presentation” technology. While you’re at it, download a complimentary worksheet “template of ideal prospects” that will help you determine who your best qualified prospects are.
Want Higher Response Rates? Start Treating Your Sales Prospects Like People
You can’t expect to sell anything if your prospects don’t trust you.
Sales isn’t an easy job. It takes the right personality and a certain set of skills to be successful. That’s why whenever I’ve hired for a sales position, I’ve found that it’s very hard to find that right person.
That’s because so many salespeople have the wrong attitude when it comes to communicating with their prospects. They’re so focused on the numbers game – from pricing to commissions to quotas – that they forget that they’re talking to real people.
I can’t tell you how many times a sales rep has come to me complaining about how a prospect has ghosted him (or her), and wondering what he did wrong.
But the truth was, he was the problem. You can’t come charging out of the gate, pushing the sale and expect the prospect to fall in line. Sales is about communication, about nurturing that relationship and building trust. And you can’t expect to sell anything if your prospects don’t trust you.
Why your prospects don’t trust you
Sales reps already have a reputation for being shady. In fact, according to research from HubSpot, only 3 percent of buyers trust sales reps. And for good reason! After all, sales reps are doing so many things wrong:
- Talking too much and not letting the prospect share his or her needs
- Grilling the prospect with too many questions
- Being overeager when it comes to making the sale
- Going into a conversation with a prospect unprepared
- Not taking the time to understand the prospect.
Related: Sales Strategy Example
The point is, it’s through trust that you find success. Prospects know when they’re being treated like dollar signs, when you’re talking through a script and focused only on the transaction. And the minute they feel mistreated, they’ll walk away. Believe me.
That’s why when talking to the prospect, you have to forget about the sale. I know that sounds like the exact opposite of what you should do, but hear me out. If you’re too focused on the sale, your prospects won’t trust you. They won’t open up and share their needs, and they won’t believe in the value of your products or services. So, you have to forget about the sale – at least temporarily.
What do you focus on instead? Building that trust. And the best way to build trust is through open and honest communication.
How you can improve your communication with prospects
In any relationship, communication is key, and sales are no different. How you communicate will dictate how your prospect responds to you and whether or not he or she will ultimately buy from you. That’s why having strong communication skills is essential.
Here are the three things you need to do to communicate effectively with your prospects:
The first thing you need to do is slow down. Don’t be in such a rush to talk about your products. You need to nurture the prospect and ease him or her into the idea.
Start by getting to know this person. Ask questions, and let the prospect do the talking. Better yet, research your prospect ahead of time to find some common ground. Maybe you both like the same sports team, or maybe the prospect wrote a really interesting article recently. Whatever it is, lead with that commonality to start building a rapport.
The goal is to get the prospect to feel comfortable around you and then open up more and share his or her needs.
Remember how I said you should let the prospect do the talking? According to HubSpot, 69 percent of buyers surveyed said that the number one way to create a positive sales experience with them was to listen to their needs. You need to truly hone in on what your prospect is saying. Then you can identify where you can help.
Sometimes, that may mean you discover that your product isn’t actually right for that prospect. Rather than trying to push the product further, you can part ways gracefully. Don’t look at this scenario as a bad thing; it will free you up to focus on other prospects who are a right fit for your product.
In truth, sales reps are more like consultants – or at least that’s how they should behave. As you’re listening to your prospect’s needs and pain points, focus on what the right solution for those pain points is. Once this person has explained his or her situation, show how your product would be of value to that situation specifically.
The key is to see things from the prospect’s perspective. Put yourself in his or her shoes. You’ll find that your prospects are people just like you, and they want to be treated with respect. They don’t want to be “sold” to; they want to solve their problems. And if you can provide that solution, they will likely trust you.
This article was originally posted here on Entrepreneur.com.
3 Steps To Healthier Client Relationships
Do you have clients that constantly push the boundaries, who have unrealistic expectations and inconsistent feedback? What if you could have a client base of only people who value your work? Firing the wrong clients can help you get there.
It’s not easy to admit that a client is actually doing your business more harm than good. When it gets to the point that you are spending all of your time and energy trying to please one client, then it’s time to look at what they are contributing to your success.
In the early days of your business, it’s understandable to hold on to difficult clients as every penny counts. However, as time goes on, firing a disproportionately time-consuming and challenging client could free you up to go looking for new and better business.
Here are three steps to take to healthier client relationships:
1. Get perspective
Step back from everyday tasks to make some notes about the client relationship in question. Ask yourself what you value in your client versus what drains your energy and puts you in a bad mood.
Understand what the deal-breakers are and whether the client in question has crossed the line. It’s possible that you just need to have a frank conversation with the client, but often these kinds of client relationships are too far gone.
2. Fire the wrong client
There’s no one-size-fits-all for this process – you have to do this in your own way, but be clear on the reasons. If the client has been as unhappy as you are, they will most likely understand that this relationship is not a good fit.
However, there are times when a client has no idea that they are being unreasonable or thinks that this relationship is productive. That’s when it’s difficult to explain why you are deciding not to take their money.
Make it factual and don’t bring in your feelings. If you have examples of situations or email threads as proof show them that this is not how you believe a successful relationship should be. Be clear on your values and what you envision for your business.
Be polite and professional throughout the conversation and focus on the relationship fit, rather than pointing out their personal flaws. Explain the next steps and how the handover process will take place. You want to make sure that the end of the relationship is as amicable as possible.
3. Find the right clients
Firing a difficult client is likely to affect your bottom line in the short term but it will give you the motivation, and headspace, to go looking for the right clients.
Here are some things to keep in mind:
- Make sure you know what you want in a client – make a list of things you won’t stand for again with future clients, and one that describes your dream client.
- Use your time and resources wisely, and aim high to secure clients that will be worth your while.
- Identify potential clients and projects that are profitable, that will inspire you and that you enjoy working with.
Tip: make sure the Terms and Conditions on your website, and in your quotes, are well-defined. State your prices clearly, don’t leave room for interpretation. Don’t back down if a new client quibbles over a cost estimate. Take complaints of this nature as a warning sign and walk away.
Don’t ever think that you’ve wasted your time with the wrong client. Each client you work with helps you to refine your offering and progressively understand what you’re good at. Firing a client is never easy, but sometimes it’s a necessity for the successful and sustainable future of your business (and your sanity).
When you fire the wrong client, you can streamline your business to play to these strengths, and ensure you offer a world-class service or product.
7 Steps To Master The 80/20 Revenue Model
Imagine a world where 80% of your revenue came from 20% of your customers. Now what will it take to make it your reality?
We are often so focused on new leads that we forget to master the art of upselling and cross-selling. To generate more income from existing customers you need to focus on quality over quantity, and be strategic in your approach. Here are seven steps to help you on your way.
Understand what you want to achieve
When you upsell, you encourage customers to buy a higher-end product or service than the one in question – such as an airplane seat with more leg room. Whereas cross-selling tempts customers to buy related products that satisfy additional, complementary needs. A simple example is when you check out of an online store and the shop tempts you to buy similar or complementary products that you suddenly just can’t live without!
Tip: Identify which one makes sense in your business, and what the additional or complementary offering will be.
Long-standing relationships and loyal clients are worth their weight in gold. Make sure they know they will remain a priority, even when you are busy with bigger or more profitable projects.
Constantly over-deliver and exceed expectations. Make yourself ‘irreplaceable’.
Don’t presume you know what your customers want or need – do your homework and ask them. You need to understand their hopes, dreams, fears and challenges. Three simple ways to do this are to:
- set up regular one-on-one calls
- catch up over coffee
- or email them a quick survey to complete.
Add real value
Ask yourself, ‘how can I help this client achieve their goals or overcome this challenge?’ You need to find ways to add real value to make the additional expense worthwhile. Also make sure your pricing is fair and competitive, without selling yourself short.
For example, one of the products we cross-sell at Yellow Door is video content. It’s a key part of a holistic marketing strategy and is a great way to bolster content for launches, social media and newsletters.
Paint a picture
To excel at upselling and cross-selling, you need to help customers visualise the value they will get from the higher-priced item. Whether it’s a 30-second video, an infographic, or a well worded email – take the time to explain not only what the product is, but how it will benefit them or their business.
Offering a reward or incentive can increase your upsell or cross-sell conversion rate. For example, offer free shipping or a discount if the client purchases two or more products or services.
Ensure your team has the expertise and capacity to deliver the relevant service or product at the right standard. Alternatively, find a non-competing service provider to complement your offering and agree on a referral or commission structure. This way you can expand your offering without increasing your overheads.
The key to success is to understand what your customers value and then respond with products, services or features that meet those needs.
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