Perfecting sales meetings – part 3
The last two parts of the series discussed preparation and building rapport…now it’s time to think about how we turn the prospect into a customer.
So what makes a customer? May seem a bit obvious but customers are companies that actually buy your products and services. In technical sales, it’s more than likely that they are going to be a long-term client providing regular orders over the years. In part 4 I will be discussing the strategy of keeping these customers for the duration but for this blog I would like to focus on how to gain the customer in the first place!
Technical selling is not rocket science; it is not achieved through sorcery or bamboozlement. It’s accomplished through persuading a company to pay for your products and services rather than from an alternative supplier. It’s that simple.
Here are a couple of pointers to help you improve your conversion rates when attempting to sell by being more effective and efficient.
Get commitment to move through the sales process
Prospective customers will feel comforted by understanding what happens next in your sales process. Have a good handle on the different stages that you need to go through to achieve a sale in your business. These may not be as obvious to the prospect and for this reason you need commitment from them to move on to the next stage. By getting this agreement, you are in fact closing that part of the sale process with them. If done correctly throughout, it will make the last close, “asking for the business” much easier to do and with a greater probability of success.
For example, when you are in the discovery phase and you feel that you have deemed all the necessary information to put a killer proposal together, make sure you ask the prospect whether they are happy for you to write up a proposal and make a date there and then to go through it together.
By doing this, the prospect has agreed he is happy for you to present an alternative solution to his current set up. This gives you the confidence that they are committed to change and that you are closer to gaining the business. It also means that you don’t have to follow up later to organise a meeting, it’s not always easy to catch these guys with diaries at hand!
Understanding how your products & services can add value to their world
In technical sales, it is all about understanding how your product and services match the needs of your prospect. By being able to do this, you will be able to find out the true value of your offering. Therefore, the qualification and discovery stages of the sales process are the most important.
If you don’t understand what your company’s products and services can do for your prospect… then they certainly will never know!
For example, if I need a car that will fit my golf clubs in easily and help me drive comfortably for hours on the motorway, I will not be excited about the merits of parking a smart car.
Get to know your products inside and out, map out the features and benefits and what they can do for your customers. Think about the emotional and business motivations that are behind changing to your products. By doing this, you will be able to ask the right questions and find the right solutions for your prospects real needs.
Qualifying & discovering
Once you have mapped your products and services you need to find out if your prospect is interested in these and if so, what part of your product offer will add value to their business.
Qualification is essential if you want to spend more time selling to the right people. I still see clients where too much time is wasted visiting, quoting and trying to close genuinely uninterested prospects. There’s a weird sales terminology called “happy ears” that you may have heard of. It describes the salesperson who hears buying signals when actually the prospect is trying not to offend i.e. fobbing you off!
Ask harder questions at the beginning of the process and close the stages of the sales process effectively and then you will be wearing “smart realistic ears” with better quality prospects to work with.
With these more useful ears, listen to your prospects intently. Find out what will add value to their world by asking questions that will discover real needs and… because there may be more than one … keep listening!
If you need any help with your sales skills, please contact me, I would be happy to support you.