Connect and Sell: How to Form Great Relationships with Your Prospects
If you want more sales, then you need to find new ways to connect with your prospects. It is that simple. The stronger the connection, the more likely it is that a sale will get made. Here is some great news. Connecting with people is not rocket science. You do not need an advanced degree. All that’s required is a little extra effort. Below are the nine best actions you can take to do two things: connect and sell. Here they are:
1) Do research before your calls.
You have got to do your homework before calling or meeting with your prospects. Homework often has a negative connotation. After all, who enjoys spending their time doing extra work? But that mindset needs to change when it comes to sales. Why? Because the more you know about your prospect, the more likely it is that a sale can take place.
Don’t think glancing at a prospects’ LinkedIn page before a call counts as adequate research. You cannot afford to be lazy and go through the motions. You have too much potential revenue at stake. There are other outlets you should research besides the person’s social media pages. For example, you could spend some time browsing articles about the prospects’ industry. This will clue you in on what’s expected for both short-term and long-term growth. You’ll also get a feel for the prospect’s potential pain points.
2) Determine your prospects’ main challenges and pain points.
One of your main goals on the phone is to ensure that your prospect continues to talk. One of the best ways to go about this is to understand what his or her challenges are. What’s the key to getting a prospect to trust you? It is proving that you have the ability to solve his or her main challenges. That is why you have to make an effort to figure out what those challenges are. This is where probing questions come into play. These prompt the prospect to explain his or her pain points. Think of yourself as being like a doctor. Can you treat a patient without knowing what the symptoms are? Of course not. You first need to hear what the symptoms are so you can make a diagnosis. This exact concept applies to being a salesperson. The quicker the diagnosis, the faster you’ll be able to make the sale.
3) Sell value.
Many salespeople are prone to one critical error. And it is costing them thousands and thousands of dollars in lost revenue. What is the error? They are choosing to sell prospects on the features of their product or service. What should they be doing instead? Selling value. For example, no one buys a coffee machine because it has a built-in alarm clock. Sure it’s an okay feature. But who actually needs it? People buy products because of their value. This could mean something like this. “The coffee machine’s guaranteed to give you the best tasting coffee that you have ever had in your life. There’s a ten-year guarantee or you will get your money back.”
Don’t hold back on offering value. It needs to get brought up fast during phone conversations with your prospects. But the value cannot seem random. It has to correlate to the prospect’s challenges and pain points that you have determined. For example, say your prospect says the following. “Every coffee machine I buy will break after a year and then I have to go spend money on a new one.” What is the value for you to sell here? You should say, “I understand, sir. Our products are better quality. That is why we have a ten-year guarantee or you will get your money back.”
4) Make transitions using questions.
Salespeople often don’t live up to their potential due to one fatal error. They keep talking, talking, and talking. This leads to prospects getting annoyed and not wanting to do business with you. You already know to ask questions. But you must also consider when you ask those questions. Transitions in the conversation should always get made by asking questions.
Here is an example. Say you have listed some big challenges that you have noticed in your prospect’s industry. You now have to get the prospect talking immediately. So, ask a question such as this. “Are any of these potential problems affecting you and your company?” You have now made a quick transition. You can listen to the prospect’s response to determine what value your product provides. Some salespeople are afraid the prospect will say nothing beyond, “No.” If this is you, you need to let go of your fear. If some prospects have no challenges, then they may not be good fits. In that case, you can move on and find prospects with more challenges. There will be other prospects who have need that you can meet.
5) Do some personality-mirroring.
Personality-mirroring involves matching the prospect’s tone and/or body language. This will relay one simple subconscious message into the prospect’s mind. ‘This person is like me. I admire him/her!’ The key here is to be subtle. Say the person talks fast. Talk a little faster than you usually would. Say the prospect’s laid back and makes a lot of jokes. Then that’s your cue to be a little looser and less serious than you usually are. But be cautious in your mirroring. The last thing you want to do is go overboard and try too hard to seem similar. That is a quick way to lose a sale.
6) Enter plenty of information into your CRM.
This very crucial to a salesperson’s success. The more information you gather about a prospect, the easier it will be to connect with him or her in the future. This means you cannot go through the motions and write down a small of information. As soon as you get off the phone, write down every single detail that you can. This includes:
-what dates and times the prospect is usually available
-what the prospect responded to with enthusiasm
-what the prospect responded to in a negative manner
Unfortunately, many salespeople can get lazy and procrastinate logging their calls and emails. It’s easy to assume that you will remember all the information that you need to. But that never happens. So stop dreading making notes. Your notes are your secret weapon to connecting with prospects and making more sales.
7) Listen to recordings of your calls.
The statistics are clear. Most sales conversations are never reviewed. But you’re not going to take the easy way out. You have too much at stake. You’re going to need to listen to recordings of your conversations. Doing so will improve how you connect with prospects in the future. You will pick up on what is working and what you need to improve. Unfortunately, a lot of call reviewing will have to get done outside of work. But it’s worth it in the end. Why? Because your skills and techniques will improve. And you will develop into a master salesperson. Here is a tip. Don’t listen to your calls at home. Make your morning and evening commutes worthwhile and listen to yourself in the car. This will save you plenty of free time. The more calls you listen to, the more you may realize that you:
-overlook crucial details that prospects share with you
-do not pick up on buying signs
-waste valuable time on unqualified prospects
-focus too much on features and not enough on value
Take some time to listen to your calls every week. If you do so in a consistent manner, you will be likely to see improved win-rates.
8) Queue calls up at the beginning of each day.
Sure, social media and emails are solid resources to connect with prospects. But nothing beats a good old-fashioned phone call. It is the best outlet for making strong connections with prospects. Many salespeople struggle to stay productive with prospecting. What is one key reason? They waste too much time in-between calls by figuring out who to contact next. This makes more leads get lost or ignored. This is why prioritizing calls must be one of your daily habits. The solution is to do call queuing. You will be able to place your prospects into an order from most important to least important. Call queuing is an add-on feature that an get installed into your company’s phone services. Say your company doesn’t offer call queuing. Speak to your sales manager and ask if it can get installed. Mention how much time it will save you on a daily basis. It will save you time so that you can connect with more prospects every day.
9) Consider hiring a sales coach or consultant.
Say that you have done the previous eight steps on a consistent basis for months. But you are still struggling to connect with prospects. If so, do not panic or turn to despair. You or your company may need to consider bringing in a third-party coach or consultant. He or she will be able to observe you and offer plenty of insight. A coach or consultant can be your secret weapon to connecting to prospects.