Darren was having trouble with his sales conversion and asked for my advice.
Why me? I thought …
He explained that as someone who had been ‘around the block’ (a kinder version of his opening gambit, I might ad) … that my opinion mattered to him, so I might be able to help out.
Darren went on to explain that no matter how hard he canvassed via email, his left messages were not returned and the telephone cold calls went un-rewarded. His efforts fell on deaf ears, he simply couldn’t gain an introduction to the many prospects he’d qualified. What did I think?
Flattered surely, I hesitated for a bit and remembered what I had been telling anyone that would listen these past few(!) years … that was:
“Are you connecting or are you selling?
In any sales or marketing programme we need to do the numbers, we get that don’t we? The more you put in, the more you take out, the smarter you work, the more valuable the reward. Most importantly, we need to remember that not every single prospect is waiting for your call … unless of course you have a very good referral been passed to you.
We are all very busy people – Darren’s intended customer is no different and I explained to him that with a multitude of tasks on the to-do list, answering your particular sales call may not be one of those tasks, so we need to prepare for rejection.
We need back up, we need to learn to visualise the problem, not the solution.
In short, we need to qualify the need of our prospect. Take time to understand. After initial introductions, ask simply, “how can I help you?”
By doing so, we can save ourselves a lot of valuable time and considerable effort when, by simply doing the right research we can qualify the budget (that is, if they have one) and the need (is the time right for them.)
If the answer is ‘no’ to both budget and ‘no’ to time then move on, find someone else who may need your particular skills and/or solutions. Don’t dismiss completely the current prospect, simply take them off the priority list …
We need to remember … who wins when we invest our time in prospects that don’t have the kinds of problems you can solve? You got it – no one! Alternatively, who wins when you invest your time (and your company’s resources) in helping prospects solve problems that are so compelling that both the prospect’s company and your own are justified in investing time and resources in exploring possible solutions? Everyone!
So to Darren I suggested, if you wish to increase the number of appointments through your prospecting efforts, you need to come up with the right answers to the most important questions:
We need to take some time, learn to understand our prospect – and I did point out, that as in so many of life situations, if we have less occupying the priority ‘in-try’ we get more done, more efficiently. So prioritise your top prospects and like your networking efforts, practice, practice, and practice some more. Quality connections take time while working smart.
Learn and do … in just 20-30 seconds (that’s all you’ve got initially) know what you can say to a prospect during initial engagement – that something that will engage his/her emotions? Find and empathise with the most pressing problems that you can help solve for them.
Do the smart prospecting, ask yourself this:
How can I help the prospect relive the pain that is caused by these problems?
Can they help (are they willing) qualify the importance is each business problem?
Do the problems bring emotional responses from your prospects?
We need to understand, need to remember, engaging your prospects’ emotions is critical to the entire sales process, from sales prospecting through closing sales.
Darren seemed a happier man after our little chat; we shook hands and agreed to meet up in a month to see how he was getting on as he learned to
Engage, develop, and to grow.