You heard right. Stop trying to sell your prospects. This might sound like the worst advice you ever got, but trust me, it’s exactly what your prospects want.
Consider your own behavior. Do you like getting an unsolicited sales call in the office? Do you like the pushy salesman at the car dealership? Do you like watching commercials that scream at you on TV? Does anyone? Yet companies like yours continue to practice sales oriented marketing tactics.
Here are a couple of options to consider.
Don’t sell, help - If you try to help someone, instead of sell them, you are going to be thought of in a completely different light. Here is an example. If, when you call a prospect, your first move is to launch into a speech about your product, company or service, you are getting off on the wrong foot. Your prospect is going to be defensive. If, instead, you start with a question like “what can I help you with?” now you are positioned as someone who wants to help, someone who cares, someone who listens. Which would you rather be and which do you think is going to close the sale faster?
Use content to help educate – It’s one thing for a salesperson to be a source of helpful advice. It’s another thing for the salesperson to provide resources, comments, research, videos and success stories from other people. Use content that’s already created to help your prospect feel more comfortable with their buying decision. This will go a long way in differentiating your company and your sales process from the other people who are hard selling.
Co-create the solution – If you send over the proposal without any input from the prospect then it’s your proposal and not theirs. You want them involved in the creation of the recommendations, so that when they receive the agreement, they have a vested interest in signing on. You have to involve them in the process. Make sure that you've asked them enough questions so that you know everything you need to know to create the right set of recommendations.
If you both own the creation of the sales agreement, how can they possibly have any issues with it? More importantly, how could they possibly want to work with anyone else?
Align your marketing with your sales – It’s going to feel weird to the prospect if your marketing is helping, advising, counseling and educating but your sales people are pushing the hard sell. Both sides of the sales and marketing fence need to be aligned and working with prospects in a similar fashion. If this alignment isn’t in place, your prospects are going to get an anxious feeling that will delay or completely scrap any chance of success.
Start Today Tip – Take a long look at your sales process. You have one whether you know it or not. Make sure there is an opportunity built in for your salespeople to establish trust with your prospects and make sure they have the educational content they need to build that trust. Make sure they are working with the prospects and not dumping features, benefits and proposals on their desks. If you want to make a difference, it starts during the sales process.
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