It’s the start of the year and it’s the perfect time to refersh our memory for sales.
Last week we hosted our webinar Prospect to Client – How to Replicate a Sales Directors Success.
So many professionals joined from all across the world, we had people come from Australia, USA, UK, Germany, Dubai, Canada, Italy, Portugal, etc. and all of these professionals had one thing in common, they all wanted a better close rate.
So to help them with that, we started from the absolute beginning and finished one step after signing a new client. Here’s what we covered.
- Prospecting and Outreach
- Generating Interest
- Demo Preparation & Demo Call
- Follow-up & Negotiations
- Close & Nurture
Throughout the webinar, we continued to see more and more of how common it was to miss standard sales practice procedures, here’s what we found.
Prospecting and Outreach
Salesperson pain points: most of the prospects aren’t a fit and no one answers my messages.
Everyone knows that understanding your ideal customer profile (ICP) is where it all begins, but would you believe us if we told you that almost 40% of salespeople were unsure or could not relay their ideal customer profile.
Now whilst the poll above was from the webinar, it still reflected what the research shows. According to Sales Insight Labs, “at least 50% of your prospects aren’t a good fit for what you sell.” and that’s not because they flaked out on you or weren’t ready to buy, but because “they’re just bad fits from the start.” and didn’t fit your ideal customer profile (ICP).
Now if this reflects you, then there’s no nice way to say this, but you’re wasting half of your effort, stress, time, and commission, on leads that don’t even qualify.
Audience question: Do you have any recommendations for CRMs or tools that have great auto-follow-ups or sequences that make the process a bit more autonomous?
Of course, we’re currently combining Salesflow with HubSpot and Gmail. Salesflow automates our cold outreach and integrates with HubSpot which has workflows and sequences that automate follow-ups. We linked HubSpot with our Gmail to help automate our email outreach/follow-up.
Key takeaway: Know your ideal customer profile (the “ideal” bit is important hence the italics)
Now to the Outreach bit.
Let me ask you a question, which describes you better?
- Work hard, play hard, or
- Work smart, not just harder
Now, there’s nothing wrong with either of these options, it’s just that one is more efficient and delivers better results than the other. In case there’s any confusion, it’s B.
Let me elaborate. Working smarter means you learn from your experience and apply changes to better your process to achieve better results. But what does that entail?
Simply put, it’s covering all your outreach points, testing multiple messaging via multiple platforms, and utilizing any tool that can make your life easier through automation, analytics, and collecting data. To help you with this, here’s a quick checklist of things you need for your outreach.
- Ideal customer profile identified
- Copywriting – multiple messages for A/B testing
- CRM to capture data
- Outreach tools (Salesflow/Gmail/Verison)
- Outreach via social media, emails, cold calls
- Capture results success and failure, you learn from both
Key takeaway: Work smarter, not just harder. Have a process you can learn from to achieve better results.
Salesperson pain points: they get too many “nos” and not enough “yeses”
Now that your outreach has worked, it’s time to do the convincing for the prospect to jump on a call with you.
As you would know, if you go into a sales pitch, the likelihood of getting a yes is very low, why? Because Marketing and Sales have a trust problem. According to HubSpot data, only 3% of people consider salespeople to be trustworthy and that didn’t happen overnight. Blame scammers, frauds, and sleazy salespeople.
But that’s OK, you can still sell, but you need to do one thing first. Build rapport.
Great, how do you do that?
Start by doing a soft approach, ask them how they are, and follow up with a genuine interest in their company, their process, and what they’re currently doing to cover what your service/product is willing to take over.
Audience question: When you say we should ask “how are you?” on LinkedIn, should we wait for an answer and then pitch or ask “how are you + pitch”?
This one’s a tricky one because you don’t want to ask how are you then straight follow with a sales pitch, instead try asking them a question that relates to the service you provide, e.g. we would ask “just out of curiosity, how are you doing your LinkedIn outreach at the moment?”
This prompts them to answer and will open the conversation for a sales pitch shortly after.
By this point, you would know enough to have qualified them for the call and should you want to proceed. Again, you want to suggest the meeting and not force it, be honest and upfront, and show you can help them achieve their business goals.
If you’ve done a good job at building rapport, then you now have a call booked.
Oh one more thing, make the call booking as easy as possible. Instead of going back and forth so many times, offer one or two time slots for them to choose from, and include your Calendly link so they can book a time suitable for them and you.
Key takeaway: No one likes a pushy salesperson, instead build rapport and offer a solution.
Demo Preparation & Demo Call
Salesperson pain points: most of the time going in blind, not sure how to really close it from the first call.
Congratulations, you’ve successfully booked the demo call and you’re now ready to offer your solution to a willing customer who already likes you.
That’s already more than what most salespeople have to offer, give yourself a pat on the back.
Now you have to show your expertise, and what you have to offer, that you’re the right person to speak with, you have what they need and you are NOT here to waste their time. To do that, you need to prep.
In other words, you have homework to do, and your assignment is, to research the company and person you’re selling to.
But… what are you researching? Here’s something to get you started.
- Company name?
- Company size?
- Vertices they cover?
- Services/products they offer?
- Possible clientele?
- What is their role?
- What are their responsibilities?
- What does their LinkedIn feed say about them? (good conversation addon)
- What kind of KPIs/deliverables would they have?
- How could what you offer, help them meet their goals?
All of this prep will show the prospect that you’re serious about helping them and will add to your rapport too.
Another way to show how well organized and serious/professional you are is by preparing material you can share with them that reflects your company’s success, and what they can expect delivery/results-wise from what you offer. Consider having the following ready:
- Case studies
- Service/product features/services
- Extra add-ons that make you a better choice than your competitors
- Process outline
If you don’t have these things, we would highly recommend you do.
Key takeaway: Do your homework, preparation builds confidence, materials showing success deliverables, and success sells.
And now you are ready to jump on to the Call.
Before you get into the call, here’s a tip. Remember to be actively present, so many salespeople go on autopilot without realizing and they become unaware of what they’re saying or how the prospect is reacting. Now that you’re aware, let’s move to the next bit.
Much like your initial outreach, you don’t want to jump straight to selling, again you want to ease into the call by exchanging pleasantries. Once they’re comfortable talking you can start by carrying out your consultation.
This is the part where you listen more than you speak, give them an opportunity to speak by asking questions, 69% of buyers are more willing to buy when a salesperson listens to their needs. Not only that, but when you listen, you will know their pain points and expectations from a solution, which in return will enable you to give a better sales pitch.
Another reason you want to listen more than you talk is that, you want to keep the prospect engaged, by asking “how” and “why” questions you get them to think about and answer specific points you want to know and ensure they understand whatever information you’re relaying to them.
The more engaged they are, the less likely they will forget you and everything you covered during the call for your next meeting.
Once your call comes to the end, you want to agree on the next steps and set the date for your next meeting. Set actions and deliverables for the next meeting, and follow-up after the meeting with a calendar invite or email that includes a summary of your meeting, actions, and any shareable materials they can look at.
Audience question: how many meetings does it take to close for you?
1-3 meetings and that’s because of what we sell.
It’s entirely dependent on what you’re selling, commitment, and pricing. When it comes to products/services on a subscription basis with no commitment and low cost, there’s a lot less risk when making a decision because there’s not much to lose so a decision can be made in 1-3 calls.
Other products/services that require a longer commitment or are pricey, carry with them a higher risk and as a result, will require careful thinking and market research from the prospect. That could be anything from 3+ meetings.
Key takeaway: Listen before you speak, listen to their pain points so you can tell them what they want to hear. Don’t end a call before agreeing on the next steps.
Follow-up & Negotiations
Salesperson pain points: lead changed their mind or they can’t negotiate properly.
Remember to have any actions you agreed in the previous meeting ready for the next meeting,
At this point, you could wait for the day of your next meeting, or you can get ahead of your competitors and reach out to the lead a day before your meeting. It’s called a pattern interrupt.
Always assume that the lead has reached out to your competitors to find what’s best for them, don’t let this be the reason you lose them.
It’s amazing how something so simple as a reminder email can get you so many brownie points.
Key takeaway: There’s no “ but I contacted them first!” in sales, a lead can be stolen from you by a competitor at any point, so get ahead of them.
After following up it’s time for the second meeting.
In the meeting, expect that they will challenge you and everything you have to offer and that they’re not ready to buy yet, but will want to negotiate a better deal for themselves.
So with you expecting that, you’ll have your negotiation points ready and answers to any questions they may have.
When a lead comes back to you with concerns, questions, or alternatives, before you try to talk them out of it, instead try to understand “why” they have brought these things up, when you understand why, you can give a better and more convincing explanation as to why they should go with you and someone else or no one at all. Remember, you’re here to give them a solution, not another expense.
Now questions are answered, they’re most likely going to want to negotiate a better deal. Above is an example of some things you can negotiate on, always have these ready because if you don’t you will prolong the selling process, and the longer a decision takes to make, the less likely they are to say yes.
Key takeaway: understand their concerns and priorities so you can better answer them. Always have your negotiation points ready to close the deal faster.
Close & Nurture
Salesperson pain points: the client keeps bothering me with emails. The client asks for a refund or to cancel the contract.
Congratulations on closing this deal!
It took a lot of work, but you made it and closed that deal!
We’re really happy for you, you’ve done a great job, well done!
There is a very important step after signing the contract that a lot of sales reps either forget, ignore, or push the responsibility to someone else.
It’s the handover and onboarding process.
You’re always at risk of losing a deal if the client isn’t happy with something and the next steps are the most crucial in them staying or leaving. So, you need to ensure that the handover and onboarding process go as smoothly as possible to ensure they’re happy and you’re delivering an excellent service like when you were selling to them.
Show them you’re leaving them in good hands.
You can end it there, but we wouldn’t recommend that. Keeping in touch with clients as a salesperson is a great way to maintain strong relationships long term.
Also if your client is happy and they’re still in touch, they are much more likely to refer your service to others, give you leads, and endorse you and services on LinkedIn.
Key takeaway: your role doesn’t end when the contract is signed, every happy client is a new source of leads.
Well, that’s that, we really hope enjoyed the webinar and the summary we’ve written for you. If you have any questions regarding the lead generation or LinkedIn automation tool, please feel free to get in touch with our automation experts.