It doesn’t matter what your product or service, to make money from your skills; you need to be able to engage with someone who wants to buy them.
Of course, salespeople get a pretty rough time.
It’s hard for anyone to admit that they are one, but if you have your own business, or if you’re part of a larger organisation, at some point in your corporate life you’re going to have to step into a salesman’s shoes.
You bet it is!
Here at Pay-Per-Lead, we can take away some of the initial pain by at least giving you the details of someone who is open to talking. But converting them into customers? That’s the bit you need to take control of yourself.
So, we thought we’d give you some pointers to make the process a little bit easier.
The difference between a cold and warm lead
You’ve no doubt heard of the term “cold calling.”
It’s been on the TV enough, and you’ve probably had someone phone you up to ask if you’ve ever claimed for PPI, or an accident you had, or even to change your mortgage.
These are cold calls, and they’re classed as such because the person on the other side of the phone doesn’t have a clue whether you need the service they have.
They’re calling you completely “cold,” in the hope that by calling enough people, at least a few of them might be receptive to whatever it is they’re selling.
As you can imagine, this is very difficult.
The person making the call has to have a particularly tough constitution to take all of the rejection they are likely to suffer, and boy, do they suffer.
In fact, when it comes to the role of sales, cold calling is often the bit that puts people off completely.
Warm leads are different.
If a prospect is “warm,” then they’re already open to talking.
They might not be a dead cert, but at least they’ve heard of your company, or you know they’re in the market for what you sell, or maybe have even enquired about your particular service.
The thing is, when you phone them up, a warm lead is more open to discussing what it is you have.
This also means that it’s a much easier job for the salesperson to convert this lead into a sale, and hopefully, avoid any difficult questions such as “who are you?” and “what are you doing calling me?”
Life’s easier with warm leads, but it’s still no guarantee that they will become your customer, so you need to work on them, and that’s what this post is about.
There now follows a list of techniques that have been proven to work for decades and have been taught by many sales companies.
If you thought that being in sales was about being a tough, rough, hard-as-nails negotiator, then prepare to be pleasantly surprised, things in the real world are far different!
Prepare for rejection by qualifying your lead
When you start a sales call or even a meeting, there’s often an expectation that the buyer and seller are going into battle.
As the seller, you arm yourself with a whole arsenal of information, slides, leaflets and your job is to make your service so attractive that the buyer will be chomping at the bit, ready to bite your hand off and buy everything you have.
But what if you turned the tables?
What if you firstly tried to ensure that you were the right “fit”?
Maybe, just maybe, if you started the conversation by telling the buyer that you wanted to check first that the two companies can work together?
Sound odd? It might do, but it works.
Some buyers are ready to buy. They’ve made their decision, and they are willing to open their chequebook.
That’s fine. Sold. Move on.
Others turn up looking for a fight.
Consider this conversation:
“So, tell me why I should buy your pens?”
With this question, the buyer is fully expecting you to say how good your pens are, probably explaining the grip, the feel, the type of ink, etc.
But if you reply with:
“I think we should find out if you even need any pens…”
Immediately you’ve passed the question back, and at this point, it’s up to them to explain to you why they need pens.
This is in stark contrast to most sales meetings.
At this point you’ve asked the prospect to qualify themselves, altering the mood completely, and if you do it well, it makes quite a difference.
It’s not about being combative, it’s about diffusing the situation and turning it more into a conversation, but it also helps you with the next tip…
Get them to tell you what they want
Very often a sales meeting begins with the prospect expecting you to “sell” and explain everything about your product.
This usually ends up with a boring PowerPoint presentation or endless flip boards of information, and if you’re lucky, some of it might hit home.
However, if you ask them what it is they’re after, you can hit those points specifically and accurately without having to guess.
The first thing to ask is why they think your solution would help them.
Seriously, that’s a great place to start.
Let’s take another example.
If you were selling car leases, you could ask your prospect to explain why they think yours would be better than anyone else’s. Of course, they could say “I’ve asked you that,” but you can simply counter with, “have you had a bad experience with others then?”
The thing is, you’re not trying to sell something the prospect doesn’t want. If you try to do that, you’re setting yourself up for objections.
Tell a story
People like stories.
If you can put the prospect inside a story, then they’re much more likely to agree with you.
This is why case studies work so well. They show a situation that people can associate with and understand because it’s real life.
So, if you’re describing how your product works, explain it with a story.
“Our product helps to increase sales by 20% while reducing on-line marketing costs by up to 25% through a series of customer-facing initiatives, self help and follow up.”
That’s a statement of sorts, but it doesn’t really help anyone understand what it is you’re on about. It’s not emotive, it’s just a statement, and it’s not necessarily true.
“DHSmith, the High Street brand, increased sales in one month by 16% simply by using our card system. Customers could get the cards for free, and many of them filled out the easy on-line application to get a discount. You can go and get one yourself to see how it works. It reduced their marketing costs by 20% in the first two months, and their managers have now started rolling it out across other stores.”
Much better. Real world, real experience.
Let them speak
Have you ever been in a meeting and been annoyed when someone inturrupts you all the time?
Or when they finish your sentences or try to second guess what you’re saying?
Don’t do it.
Let the prospect speak. They need to do all the talking.
This is when the psychology of dating comes in useful.
When you’re out with someone you’re trying to impress, do you talk all the time, telling them about your amazing day, explaining what you do at work, or do you ask them to tell you about their interests?
If you want to get on, you need to be interested in people, so you need to listen.
Listening is one of the most important skills in any business, and by learning how to do it well, you can suddenly find your sales will rocket.
Get interested in people, and they will be interested in you.
Don’t try to force them down any particular route, don’t try to explain everything, in short, just be quiet and let them sell to themselves.
Hopefully, you can see a pattern in the above tips.
Being a sales person is about being a normal functioning human being, and not trying to step into the shoes of a silver-suited, slick salesperson with a deathly stare.
Selling is easy if the person you’re talking to learns about you, likes you and eventually trusts you.