If you are like most people, you hate prospecting. Putting yourself out there and fearing rejection. What if you could decrease your prospecting efforts while increasing sales? Interested? The following is a format for growing sales and creating Raving fans who sell on your behalf. Create a system around selling and start doing the tough work of creating an extraordinary sales experience.
The "More Than" Rule
If you want to excel at sales, create an extraordinary sales experience. Become a go-to sales professional by incorporating the "more than" rule in sales. This is the simple act of looking at each touchpoint with the customer and doing more than you have to in each area. This will separate you from 98% of other sales professionals in any industry.
More Than- Research
Most sales professionals perform research in the same way. They research the prospects website, product line, and company hierarchy. The same information delivers the same results. What other information could help make you different from the rest of your competitors? I will give you a hint, the investor relations page of your prospect's website will provide you with insights and information about big picture objectives for the company. Use this information to ask transformational questions, not just transactional ones. Discussing issues, goals, and opportunities will create curiosity in the prospect to want to continue the conversation.
How about your prospect's competitors? What questions and insights about the market could be interesting? What ideas could you suggest for them to stand out in the market? Be creative when thinking about what might gain the interest of the prospect. Be an information gatherer and get to know their world even better than your own to gain buyer perspective.
More Than- Rapport
Instead of desperately scanning the room for pictures to build rapport; try looking for what matters by doing research. Linkedin will provide clues if you look at their profile. How about the companies Facebook page? What charities does the business support? What does the companies mission statement say? Look for clues to the values the company inspires to adhere to within the culture. Do you share these values? How can you establish trust and rapport? Demonstrate personal, professional and reliability, the three forms of trust that are the bedrock of sales. -ASAP!
More Than- Discovery
How well do you know the business and their customers? Doing thorough research leads to great discovery. Do you have a series of questions, or are you winging it? Do these questions make sense to the prospect, or could you have uncovered the answers by doing proper research before a meeting? Are you asking transformational questions? When you ask transformational questions, you will hear things like "that's a great question!" Often the listener will look up and to the right and pause. Give them time to reflect. This non-verbal sign shows they are thinking about the question and the answer. You don't want to ask too many of these questions. Typically no more than one or two in a conversation. Asking transformational questions will show your unique insight and business knowledge and make you different than your competition.
Seek to understand before being understood. Make sure to ask for confirmation from the listener that you have heard and interpreted correctly. Have a plan to move forward from each stage of the sales process. Not planning what happens next in the sale is like trying to sail a boat with no rudder. You may drift to shore or crash against the rocks and sink. A sales plan will increase the chance of a safe landing to shore or a closed sale in this case.
More Than- Solution
Before presenting a solution do your homework. Have the right people in the room when introducing the solution. The meeting after the meeting is when hidden influencers can ax you, and you will never know why. These are the people who are in the shadows and were not necessarily involved in the buying process. An area like I.T. may not have a role in your sale, but they may have enough influence to ax your solution. Ask, "who do I need to know that I don't already know?" before presenting. Gain buyer perspective by looking at how the change may impact all areas. Get confirmation you have met the solution requirements throughout the process. Before you leave the meeting get a next step and contact person for follow up.
More Than- Follow up
What system do you have in place for follow up after the sale? Do you make sure this new client feels as unique after the purchase as they did during the sales process? Across industries, some businesses lose 10% of their customers each year. This number is a considerable amount to make up in new sales. Developing an after sale program that includes value-added touch points every 90 days is a great way to stay top of mind and build customer loyalty. Some industries reach a point of market saturation where there are few new customers to gain. Customer retention is the cornerstone of sustainability in business. Designing an "I care about you" before, during and after the sale program is smart selling.
Look for ways to exercise the "More Than" rule for increased sales, customer retention, and referrals. Earn the right to have Raving fans in your customer base.
Luck can be found at the intersection of hard work and perserverance.
Be Great and Prosper- Nan