Marketing and sales are process driven practices. The more you develop systems and methodologies for handling these two critical disciplines, the faster your business grows.
There are 15 best practices (applicable across all industries) proven to shorten your sales cycle, increase deal size, improve lead flow and grow your business. Over the next three days we'll be sharing five of these practices per day.
Here is the first installment.
Offer before asking – We've all received the phone call that goes something like: “Hi, I’m Mike from XYZ Company and I was wondering if I could schedule some time to come out and talk with you about my company.” How do you generally respond to someone asking for something from you before offering anything of value? It puts people on the defensive right from the start. Offer new prospects something that helps them before you ask them for anything. Make a deposit before you make a withdrawal.
Best opening line – How do you do what we suggested in tip number one? One of the best opening lines is “What can I help you with?” Cold or warm, incoming or outgoing, this is a great open ended question that, if framed correctly, gets people to talk about their challenges. Another great way to get the conversation going in the right direction is to offer prospects helpful educational information. “We have this new report that many of my clients have found extremely valuable in helping them reduce costs...Would you be interested in reviewing it?”
Nurture your leads – Not everyone is ready to buy today, schedule an appointment, or review a proposal. Everyone buys differently. But regardless of where they are on the purchase spectrum, a successful sales process includes the ability to nurture those prospects until they ARE ready. Typically this is done with personal emails or automated company followup emails. As long as those emails educate and offer content instead of selling or pushing, this is a great way to help prospects get to know, like and trust your business. Decide upfront the frequency and timing for your lead nurturing campaigns. Is it monthly, weekly or trigger related? This means prospects get a series of emails after a certain trigger event, like a call, download or meeting.
Utilize lead scoring – Sales people think all prospects are great prospects, all prospects are going to close tomorrow, and all prospects are going to sign for the full scope of work. As business owners and managers, it’s our job to give them a system and a vocabulary to better characterize their opportunities. Lead scoring does this perfectly. By creating criteria by which opportunities are measured everyone starts speaking the same language and the scores mean something. For example, if our scoring system is 0 (no opportunity) and 15 (will close tomorrow) now we know when a sales rep tells us he has a 12, it's likely to close, but probably not this week or next. Lead scoring is a complicated topic, to learn more click here to chat with one of our partners.
Use educational content – Buyers don’t want to be sold to. Actually very few of us want to be sold to. But what we do want is help making a good, solid purchase decision. Educational content works wonders in the sales process because it helps people. Build that content into your sales process by offering regular emails or check-ins with prospects that include the delivery of helpful, educational whitepapers, videos, podcasts, surveys, research, reviews or articles. This helps people feel safe and shows that you're actually interested in helping them. This goes a long way towards earning their trust and emotionally connecting them to your business.
Tomorrow we’ll continue our 15 best practices series with a look at: how to use videos, how to co-create the recommendations with your prospects, how to get them talking about their businesses, optimizing your entire network, and the art of “why.”
Start Today Tip – Evaluate your current sales process. Is it “old school” or maybe just missing a couple of the suggestions above? Select one of the best practices from the list and implement it today. Tell your team why you are doing it and what you expect to see in terms of results. Track it for a week and then see if it met or exceeded your expectations. If you made one change each week, by the end of the year, you would have implemented 10 improvements. That sounds like progress.
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