This week, we look at how your role in selling has shifted over the past few years. You can’t push someone into buying something. You can’t trick someone into buying, you can’t fool your clients anymore and the reason is the customer is hip and educated ahead of making a purchase…but what you can do is you can seek to understand why your clients buy, what makes them buy, what it is they need and then offer ideas and solutions to help your client achieve the goals they want as it relates to them.
Let’s dive on in!
Help your clients with solutions that work!
So, we have talked about cold calling…but let’s delve deeper. Are you ready? Let’s look closely at the selling process…
If you get rejected on a call, ask the prospect if it’s okay to probe a little and use this call as a research tool. I love playing “Colombo” (Peter Falk’s character in a TV detective show) with a new prospect. After I get told no I ask the client if it’s okay if I ask a few questions.
Like Colombo, I ask prospects questions about their business so that I can gather more information about them. Often the no I got initially gives way to a possible maybe. Asking questions about their current situation, checking their happiness levels, and discovering if there is a possibility to work together in the future are my key questions.
The bottom line is I am looking for an opportunity to work together. It might not be at this same moment that I have made the call, but I work towards keeping the business relationship alive.
I may get turned down now but once the client is in a better position we can work together later. Then I follow up in a way that the client wants, and I stay in touch with him, marketing to him, educating him, empowering him to succeed and creating an opportunity to work with me and me with him.
I know in my heart of hearts that I will deliver value to him and do my very best for each client. These follow up phone calls are my opportunity to convince potential clients that this is true.
On this call, what I want to find out is not only what the current situation is and the client’s satisfaction level, I also want to know what his future is as far as my services go and I want to explore the opportunity to be in on that future sale. I also want to know what’s working, who he is working with and if he’d be open to an alternative vendor because one day, that vendor might fall out of favour with the client and that’s when I can sneak in.
Connect and build relationships
Use the cold call to begin a business relationship. Use the cold call as a chance to find out more about the customer and use the call as a research opportunity.
You see the bottom line is that you gain more from making those calls than not making them. All I ask you to do is to make calls for an hour a day, five days a week and see what happens. Just remember never to call on a Monday morning!
Now, let’s look at the mindset many people have about selling. Gone are the days of the slap-happy sales person, patting the client on the back and treating him or her like an idiot. Selling today is about your ability to listen more than you talk. Ask critical questions so you can assess the client’s needs better. Selling today is based on understanding the psychology of the sale. You’ve got to be an astute learner and understand human behavior, personality styles, buying styles, management, decision- making processes and much more.
It’s an art.
Here are a few tips to make your prospecting calls work more effectively:
1. Develop a list of the kinds of clients you feel you would love to work with ahead of making any calls.
2. Determine if those clients have a need for your service and if it’s a match or not.
3. Do some research on the client/prospect first so you can connect to what matters to this business in terms of the ideas, solutions, and outcomes you have for them.
4. Don’t pitch or sell a thing on a cold call…No one is going to buy from you on a call and you’re not a telemarketer, you are a business owner with ideas, value, you have something to offer someone else that will impact them positively. Build on the relationship!
5. Practice what you might say. You can share the positive outcomes a client gets from working with you and see if that’s something they’d like? Or you can share a valuable statistic that shows the results and success stories your industry is getting for customers. Keep your message short (10 seconds) and focus on what’s in it for the customer and not about how great you are. We all know how great you are… (Smiling)
6) Prepare to probe if the answer is no. Ask questions to see if the client is open to buying or using your service/product at another time and get an agreement to be able to present then! Get agreement on continuing to market, educate and stay in the client’s life somehow. Don’t be too pushy, but ask how they’d like to continue hearing from you until such time they might be ready to buy from you
7) Send a sales letter and follow up emails promptly and professionally, re-iterating the value of your offer/business
8) Make it fun! Have a goal, play at it. Make it a project. For example, post something that motivates you on the wall…like this…” 50 new calls a month! Take no prisoners, because here I come”!
9) Have fun on the call too. I use a little humour to help…I use the line, “I am making the dreaded cold call”, and then I delve into my value proposition…this kind of start helps to ease the tension.
10) Only do an hour of outbound calls a day…or you will hate it. Get out and network, use social media, meet people, speak, write…as a way of getting out there to build your prospect base too! So, you can do less cold calling and much warmer calling!
Remember this too! Take time to learn to sell and prospect. Read about it. Shadow a top sales rep. Ask for mentors to help and guide you. Take sales classes. I have a saying about selling, “You can never take enough sales training courses or white shirts”. Be sure to always be learning about how to be a better salesperson.
There is an old saying in sales that states, “Nothing happens in business without a sale being made.” It’s true! Selling is important so be sure to give it the most respect and detail you can in your business venture and become a master at it.
What are your beliefs about cold calling? How do those beliefs limit you?
What are three new beliefs you can adopt that will give you the confidence to make a cold call?
Do you feel that a cold call can be turned into a research call instead and can be the start of building a business relationship?
Make it a great week and do well!
Now, if you want more information on this be sure to register for a 4 week webinar series I am doing in November with the Mississauga Business Enterprise Centre every Wednesday Night in November from 7-8 pm
Here is more information on what the Mississauga Business Enterprise Centre and how they help you run your venture!