Welcome back to week 3 of the 4 part series on Selling for success…last week we looked at prospecting…we even used the dreaded “C” word, yes…the very word that puts fear into the hearts of grown men and women…and that is Ccc..cccc…cold calling!
The goal of a cold call or any prospecting should never be to sell, but to qualify the buyer, to probe for need, want to raise awareness and then get that meeting.
In that meeting you can then discuss the clients needs, wants, budgets, buying motives, hopes, dreams and goals more in depth!
Now listen when I write this, when you are at a networking event, or you added someone on Linked In or you make that cold call…don’t sell to someone…stop it…
Instead, take time to get to know each other, they should know about you and the “Benefits” of what you do and you want to get to know them.
You might be talking to and trying to sell to someone who is a “Dud” for a customer. You would be wasting your time and theirs…so take the time to not sell, but to raise awareness first and see if there is an interest.
If there is…then welcome to step #3 in the 6 step sales process…and that step is what I call the “Discovery” phase.
Let’s dive in!
Set goals when cold calling
Goal one: Always strive to get the appointment. If that fails, and it might, have back up goals. If you don’t get a meeting then ask if you can send printed material that supports your company. Or send a sales letter. Get an agreement to keep in touch with the prospect or client if you don’t get a meeting on the first call. Chances are high you won’t get a meeting right away, so don’t fret; you want to somehow get permission to stay in communication with prospective clients, so when that day comes and they need your services or products, you are at the top of their minds. This dovetails nicely into the second goal…
Goal two: The next goal is to be able to send something like a letter or brochure or marketing piece, but get an agreement to follow up with the client at a later date. I recommend a two week waiting period. Be sure to follow up. Keep following up thereafter at least once a month until you reach them and get to speak to them or meet with them in person. In fact, I say keep following up until you are shown the door.
Get the meeting
Once you have a meeting set take the time to research the client even further by doing what I call a discovery session or a “needs analysis”. This gives you an opportunity to really understand the client and this session. It will also provide you with the insight you need to see if this is someone you can help and work with.
I spend time with my clients to understand their needs. I ask to see their facilities and plant if that’s the type of client I am meeting. Figure out how you can best serve the client during this meeting and develop a rapport. Walk away with as much insight and information as you can about that client.
I equate a Discovery session or needs analysis to you going for your physical at the doctor…the doctor will greet you, check your breathing, ears, throat, blood pressure, certain body parts and then check your blood and urine to ensure your numbers are okay!
If a problem arises the doctor will prescribe an action plan for caring for that problem.
The doctor will follow up to see how you are doing, to ensure your challenge is gone and you are on the way to good health!
This essentially is what you need to do when you care for your prospects and clients!
This type of selling is not high pressure…it puts the customer first and it positions you as a “trusted advisor”. It is a “Consultative” sales approach.
It builds trust, it shows your concern for truly wanting to asses the clients needs before offering ideas and solutions. Take the time to get to know your clients first before offering up what you do!
It happens a lot on social media, you have just accepted someone on Linked In or Facebook and the next thing you know they are pitching their product or service…
You then say to yourself, “Whoa stop! I don’t need what you have and worse, you don’t even know me”!!!
If someone does this to me, and I am sure if you had it happen to you, you’d never do business with them.
So, use the prospecting to build interest and probe lightly for a fit for what it is you do and what they might need…then ask for a meeting…
Here is more about Step 3 in the sales process…
Step 3) Discovery sessions – that first meeting
Lets continue with the sales process. The goal for me when I prospect is to get a meeting. It’s not to make a sale on the phone. Chances are selling something on the phone won’t work, but if you can say something that might arouse interest in your prospect on the phone, if you can share how they will benefit from working with you, or if you can share a success story about how you’ve helped another client and how you would love to help that prospect or customer get the same value or experience, then you’ve done a great job.
The goal of prospecting is to get a face to face meeting to see what the needs, budgets, wants, challenges, goals and hopes are of your customer.
I wast first introduced to the “Discovery Process”, by Eric and Margarida Laffoley, they were my first ever coaches when I first started my business back in late 1999.
The “discovery” is about you just going in and finding out more information about your clients and to assess if you can help them and if they are a good fit for you too.
It’s a fact finding mission, where you ask critical questions to assess where your customer is at and where they want to go and if you can help them get there.
The discovery is like this. You examine your customer or prospect and then make some recommendations or offer ideas and solutions that makes sense to your client!
This dovetails nicely into the 4th step and that is when you make your presentation. We will look at that next week!
To review, the 3 steps out of the 6 that we have shared so far are to 1, research, know your customers issues and challenges, then know the benefits of your industry…then step 2 is to prospect, (get qualified leads) you can do this by appearing in trade shows, speaking at events, advertising, cold calling, networking, writing blogs, etc.
Step 3 was to get the meeting and do a needs analysis and or discovery session!
Here is a video about the importance of probing for needs and selling like a consultant (or a doctor)!
Have a great week in the meantime!